Logan, Lane and Lex Lunde piled into the family van every Saturday growing up, traveling around North Dakota and parts of Minnesota for wrestling tournaments.
It was customary for the Lunde family to spend Saturdays inside gyms across the region. Sundays were reserved for discussion.
Now well into adulthood, not much has changed for the three brothers. The only difference is the conversation now revolves around the 25-plus kids they coach.
Lex is West Fargo Sheyenne’s head wrestling coach. He gets help from his two older brothers, Lane and Logan, who serve as assistant coaches.
“Wrestling is nonstop conversation for the Lunde household, and it’s been that way ever since I can remember,” Lane said. "These days, nothing has changed. If anything, it's even more now."
All three brothers wrestled at West Fargo High School and eventually Concordia College. Logan graduated from West Fargo in 2004, Lane in 2006 and Lex in 2008.
Lane and Lex were a part of the 2006 state championship team that won West Fargo its first-ever Class A individual team title. That squad was later inducted into the West Fargo High School Hall of Fame (2018).
The Lundes have plenty of history with the Packers, but are building their own program across town.
Lex had been teaching at Liberty Middle School for two years when Greg Grooters, then-principal of West Fargo Sheyenne, approached him about starting a wrestling program at the high school. There were plans to have someone else serve as his assistant, but Lex said he wasn’t going to accept the job if his brothers weren’t able to coach with him.
“It was one of those things where I thought it would be a disservice to the program we were planning to start to not have my brothers there,” Lex said. “They’re both so knowledgeable and had been around the sport as long as I had. I wanted them to be involved and I knew how good it would be for that program.”
Logan, who wrestled at Minnesota State Moorhead for a couple years before transferring to Concordia, still remembers the day Lex got the head coaching gig in 2015.
“He reached out to me and Lane and pretty much just asked us if we wanted to be his assistants. I thought if it was up to me, it was a no-brainer,” Logan said. “I obviously love the sport. I’ve been around it since I was in first grade.”
It worked with Logan’s job, so he was all in. The Lunde brothers began laying the foundation five years ago.
“Logan, Lane and I, we all think differently,” Lex said. “We all see things very differently and we all bring something a little bit different to the program or how we think about it.”
The Lundes moved from Kindred (N.D.) to West Fargo in 2003, ultimately for wrestling. The brothers had always been a part of well-established, dominant programs. It was new territory to put together a program that didn’t have immediate success or enough kids to fill a room.
“I thought us three coming together with all of our knowledge we've had in the sport since we were little, we could do something special with a new program,” Lane said.
The brothers have been around the sport a long time. Logan was the first to join when he was in first grade. Lane and Lex started in kindergarten.
“I’m the middle brother,” Lane said. “When Logan got started in wrestling, like any other kid does, he liked to come home and show the moves and everything he’d learned on the younger brothers. Me being a 4-year-old just about getting to kindergarten, I was the practice dummy at home.
“Not only was I just the kid he wrestled with right up front, we’d also have our parents videotape us and watch us wrestling around. From that point, I learned from home. I wanted to do what he did, because he would go to tournaments and win trophies and get his arm raised.”
Their parents videotaped every match from kindergarten through college, and are still their biggest fans, Lane said. They make it to every tournament of Sheyenne’s they can.
As kids, the Lundes' dad was in the military, so he was gone often. Their mom was home with the three rambunctious boys a lot of the time and needed to find an outlet for their energy. Both parents played basketball, but wrestling was one sport the boys could get into when they were really young.
“We’ve had the privilege of having great coaches along the way, and that kind of instilled the thought process for wanting to coach and wanting to help out younger kids,” Lex said.
One of Logan’s most memorable moments in the sport was during his very first match, which he lost. He doesn’t so much remember the outcome as he remembers his coach.
“There’s a picture in the newspaper from back then of me sitting on my coach's lap in the bleachers,” Logan said. “He had his arm around me and I was sad, you know, I obviously wanted to win. That sticks with me because a coach is a special person to these kids. We’re not just someone they can come to to learn wrestling moves.”
Now, Logan has felt those bonds as a coach himself.
The Mustangs have dealt with plenty of ups and downs in the first seasons since becoming a program. It’s taken some time, but Sheyenne celebrated some big milestones last season. The Mustangs had their first state finalist, Shane Kennedy, who lost in the title match in overtime. They also had four state placers, the most in program history.
“The overall experience of being able to do this with your brothers and see it improve from Day 1, when we had maybe five or six wrestlers in the wrestling room, to now, well over 25 kids in the wrestling room — it’s spectacular,” Logan said. “This is our year to take that next step.”
The brothers differ on opinions of who should be starting, techniques and strategies, but there’s far more positives than negatives, Lane said. The Lundes enjoy the dynamic.
“We’re excited for the years to come. When we first started this program, we didn’t know what it was going to be like from year to year,” Lane said. “Now that we’re in our sixth season, it’s fun to look back to where we started and where we are now.”