New Braunfels’ Landon Marsh adds to family legacy with UIL State Wrestling title

Junior claimed second championship in program history with 182 pound title

In February, Landon Marsh took home the 182 pound title at the UIL State Wrestling Tournament in Cypress, adding to a growing family legacy by securing the second state wrestling title in New Braunfels history.

NEW BRAUNFELS – Two years ago, Landon Marsh watched his older brother, George, win the Class 6A 285 pound title at the UIL State Wrestling Tournament and become the first state champion in New Braunfels wrestling history. With the crowd roaring from the stands, Landon hopped the fence to celebrate with George on the mat, a move that got him kicked out of the Berry Center entirely.

“I’m very proud to have established a tradition at New Braunfels,” George said then. “I’m very proud to have helped raise some guys that can help keep that tradition going. My little brother’s on the team, and he’s going to help with that.”

George was right. This year, Landon entered the Berry Center as a three-time regional champion in the 182-pound bracket, and he was hellbent on equalling George’s achievement. He wanted a state title of his own. But even that goal wasn’t enough. Landon’s ultimate dream in the sport is to graduate high school as a two-time state champion -- one more than George.

“Growing up, [George] and my older brother [Bryce] would always fight, and I couldn’t really fight him because he was so much bigger than me,” Landon explained. “I was a little skinny kid. So, I could beat him in wrestling in my weight class by having higher accolades.”

In his two previous trips to Cypress, Landon came up short of the the title bout. As a freshman, he fell to Allen’s Ryan Nichols in his first ever state tournament match in the 170 pound bracket 9-4. In 2021, Landon enjoyed a first-round bye and advanced to the state semifinals in the 182 pound bracket, but lost an 8-3 decision to Plano West’s Farid Mobarak.

Those experiences proved invaluable as he marched through the bracket in 2022.

In this year’s opening round, Landon defeated Lewisville Marcus’ Sean Payne by fall just 55 seconds into the bout. That set up a rematch against Klein’s Jaidyn Criswell in the quarterfinals. The two had fought at the same point in last year’s tournament, and Landon once again earned the victory with a 15-7 major decision. So once again, Landon found himself in the state semifinals. This time, he managed to pull out a 9-8 win over Rockwall’s Jarrett Stoner with a late escape, setting up a date with destiny on Saturday night. His opponent in the final bout was a familiar face: Allen’s Ryan Nichols.

“I wrestled him all through youth, and he beat me down all through youth,” Landon recalled. “I never had a really good shot at him. Once I hit eighth grade, adrenaline started to kick in, and that’s when I started winning more. I just knew he wasn’t going to expect what I had to offer.”

Both wrestlers were tied at two points after the first period, but Nichols pulled ahead 4-3 in the second with a takedown. Add an escape early in the third, and Landon found himself trailing 5-3 with a little more than 45 seconds left in regulation. What happens next is something Landon remembers vividly.

“I was jacking him up, and he was scooting his hips out, trying to keep away from it. His coach is yelling, ‘Stay away from the throw, don’t let his hips in!’ I finally jack him up and get the trip. Once I got him down, I was just like, ‘Wow. I won.’”

The referee blew the whistle and pounded the mat for a pin 5:49 into a grueling match. Landon had done it. He was the second state champion in New Braunfels wrestling history, equaling the mark set by George in 2020.

“It wasn’t just one move, it was a whole sequence of events,” New Braunfels head wrestling coach Adam Sandoval explained. “Going back to watch it on film, it was even more impressive how he just transitioned from one thing to the next. The ref slapped the mat, and you talk about our community... The roar behind us... It was pretty cool.”

Landon was finally alone atop the mountain. He held both arms above his head in triumph, a wave of relief and jubilation evident across his face. The only difference between his title and George’s? George didn’t hop the fence to celebrate with Landon on the mat.

“He was going to, but he would have gotten all of my sweaty stank all up in his business,” Landon said. “He just told me he knew I would do it. He was acting all humble.”

In the wrestling room at New Braunfels High School, the walls are adorned with names of wrestlers who have become regional champions or state placers. Only one name was under the category of State champion prior to this season: George Marsh. Landon’s name will finally be placed right underneath his brother’s on that illustrious list, another motivating factor for the entire Unicorn Wrestling squad.

“When he got that up there, it was very exciting, and it boosted the morale of the family,” Landon said. “Having another one is pretty magnificent.”

“The whole family is full of great kids,” Sandoval said. “Obviously, they’re great wrestlers, and that’s awesome. But more than that, they’re great kids. They’ve all turned into great leaders for the team and have helped the program continue to grow.”

Landon is currently in the middle of track and field season. You can expect him to make a serious run at qualifying for this year’s state meet. After that, he’ll finally take a moment to relax and enjoy his achievements over the summer before hitting the ground running for football season. Then, he’ll turn his attention toward surpassing his brother by securing back-to-back state wrestling titles.

“I’m going to have a big target on my back,” Landon said. “It’s going to be exciting.”

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About the Author:

Andrew has covered athletics of all levels for more than five years and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local San Antonio athletes and their stories.