In Play with Tom Markowski

Lincoln Olson of Davison wins 135-pound title to become a rare four-time champion

Wrestling   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

uburn Hills – Greatness is so rarely achieved in high school sports. There are always seems to be a team, an individual that comes along and surpasses what’s been accomplished before.

Lincoln Olson of Davison took his place in Michigan wrestling history on Saturday as he claimed his fourth individual title in his fourth different weight class.

Olson defeated Daniel Shear of Walled Lake Central, 24-9, to win the 135-pound weight division in Division 1 at the Palace.

Undefeated this season at 49-0, Olson lost just three times in his career, twice as a sophomore and once as a junior.

He was the 112 champion as a freshman, 119 as a sophomore and 125 last season.

Olson is the 20th four-time champion in state history. Less than an hour later, in Division 3, Devin Skatzka of Richmond became the 21st as he defeated Alex Phillips of Ida, 15-0, at 160.

The bricks that paved the way for Olson’s success as a wrestler were provided for by his father, Tom Olson, who wrestled at Bay City Handy before becoming a head coach at Bay City Western. Tom Olson was a demanding coach and father. His expectations for is son were high.

“He’s been my mentor,” Lincoln Olson said. “He kick started my career. He’d take me to his practices and to matches when I was little. He taught me to never give up. He taught me to push the pace, to never stop attacking for all six minutes, not just one period or two.”

But there were times when the father-son, coach-son relationship became contentious. Tempers flared. Their relationship became combative and a change was in order.

Tom Olson stepped back. He cut the coaching ties to his son and turned the responsibility over to Roy Hall, a close friend of Olson who also has a strong wrestling background. Hall is a two-time state champion at Davison and in his 18th season as the school’s wrestling coach.

Hall was aware of the Olson’s frayed relationship. The demands to be both a parent and a coach can be overwhelming. Hall said it was difficult for Olson to stop being his son’s main coach.

“As a parent you have to do that,” Hall said. “You have to cut those ties sooner or later. (Tom) is a mentor of mine. It’s hard to be a dad and a coach.

“When that happened I had to earn Lincoln’s trust.

“The wrestling group is small. You look at the crowd here. These people are passionate for the sport. I’m passionate. Tom was at New Mexico State and I was at Michigan State when we met. He coached at Handy. I was at Davison. ”

In the end Tom Olson’s decision was the correct one. His son enjoyed an exceptional career. Hall said Olson is as good as any wrestler he’s had. Again, Hall used the word passionate in describing Olson, and he added a few.

“You have to be selfless,” Hall said. “And you have to be selfish at times, too. You have to want to succeed. When we bumped him up to 119 (as a sophomore) he did it for the team. We needed him to move up. That’s what I mean about being selfless.

“In his mind he’s been in this position before. It’s his passion.”

Olson’s passion will take him to Stillwater, OK, in the fall as he will wrestle at Oklahoma State, which has one of the country’s top wrestling programs.

And his relationship with his father has never been better.

“I love the guy to death,” Lincoln Olson said. “When I was little he was more of a dad and a coach. Now he’s more of a dad. He still helps me with my technique.”