By Victoria Lewis / Staff writer
When Logan and Jennifer Wagler met one night in 1994 during their time playing basketball for Hutchinson Community College, they had no idea that nearly 30 years later they would have a son carrying on the family legacy as a fourth-generation Wagler to become a Blue Dragon.
Landon Wagler, a freshman on the men’s basketball team this year, is part of a long line of family members to grace the court for the Blue Dragons.
It all started with Landon’s great-grandfather Al Wagler, who after playing for the Blue Dragons in 1939 and 1940 ended up becoming the men’s basketball NJCAA tournament director for more than 20 years. Next, it was his son, Landon’s grandfather, William “Bill” Wagler who played from 1966-1967.
Landon’s parents both played during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons, where it was all ‘love and basketball’ after meeting at the State Fair their freshman year.
Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Landon’s mother Jennifer thoroughly enjoyed her time as a Blue Dragon, and made many fond memories in her two seasons.
“I love that (Landon) gets to experience being a Blue Dragon. What an honor to play at HCC,” Jennifer Wagler said. “He grew up listening to my husband and I talk about our Hutch memories so I am glad he is now making his own.
“It’s special to see Landon continue the Wagler HCC tradition. To carry on that legacy means a lot to Landon.”
Logan Wagler, a Hutchinson native and Landon’s father, also recalled memories of playing “in front of sold out crowds,” while “proudly wearing the Blue Dragon uniform,”
“My wife and I have never expected our kids to worry about being a part of a legacy, but rather finding their own path. It’s pretty amazing that his path led him to HCC,” Logan Wagler said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Landon. I know my father and grandfather would be so proud as well.”
The family connections do not stop there, Landon also has an uncle, Lucas Wagler, who was a part of the Blue Dragons’ NJCAA national championship winning men’s basketball team in 1994.
Landon said hearing the stories from his father, who was in the crowd at that 1994 championship game about the atmosphere in the area, played into his final decision to play at HutchCC.
Despite growing up in the Kansas City area, Landon paid regular visits to Hutchinson as he was growing up. He said that with all the family connections to the school, “it comes up all the time. They’re always talking about … what they were doing back when they were (here) and what was happening then and how much has changed.”
It’s nostalgic at times for Landon now to play for the same team that four generations of his family has, and these family ties don’t go unnoticed in the community.
“It’s like everywhere I go, someone knows my family so it’s awesome seeing people like that and hearing stories about my grandfather and great grandfather,” Landon said.
When asked if there were hopes for his future kids to one day continue what seems to be becoming a family tradition, Landon said “if they get the opportunity to, that would be awesome, make it a fifth generation, this is just a great school.”