Hartung has shot at tying pin record

Reflecting on his career beginnings, Gophers junior wrestler Tim Hartung chuckled at his newly acquired nickname, admitting that he wasn’t exactly a “pinner” before this season.
The Gophers’ 190-pound strong-arm has caught 18 opponents so far this season, placing him second on Minnesota’s top season pin list. Hartung needs just three more falls to tie former Gophers 177-pounder Marty Morgan’s list-topping 1989-90 season.
“It’s kind of funny because I’ve never been a power wrestler, so to speak,” Hartung said. “This is the first year of my career that I’ve been more of a bullyish type wrestler by pinning guys.”
Morgan, currently an assistant coach for the Gophers, recorded 21 total pins during his junior season, but was credited in the record books with 20. Because one of Morgan’s pinned opponents was not a NCAA wrestler, the fall did not count in Minnesota’s annals. The same holds true in Hartung’s case — while he has 18 total pins, only 17 were against NCAA opponents.
Dominating numerous foes isn’t the only trait these two wrestlers share. Morgan and Hartung’s dispositions toward wrestling also are consistent.
“It all comes down to attitude,” Hartung said. “I’m going out there looking for the pin, and it’s made a difference.”
Morgan used the same term to explain why Hartung is effective on the mat.
“Pinning is an attitude,” Morgan said. “When he puts someone on his back, he’s doesn’t allow him off. He understands the feel of pinning someone. It’s a real feel. I taught it to him.”
While they agree on the “pinner’s mentality,” Hartung is hesitant to credit Morgan for all his pinning techniques. Even though they’ve been workout partners for four years, Hartung calls his style unique. One well-rehearsed move has been effective in trapping several of his victims this season.
“We have worked on it a lot, but I don’t know if he’s taught me everything,” Hartung said. “He didn’t use the move that much. I think it fits me well.”
Even though three pins in two days would be unlikely, Hartung could tie Morgan’s mark at the Big Ten tournament this weekend. The Gophers’ returning Big Ten champion would settle for matching Morgan’s two straight conference titles.
Wrestling to a perfect 8-0 record during the Big Ten regular season, Hartung is seeded No. 1, in prime position to repeat. Morgan backs Hartung completely, even if it means the student could acquire titles — whether it be two-time Big Ten champion or “The Pinner” –once unique to the assistant coach.
“I hope he does break the record,” Morgan said. “I think it’ll be good for him. It’ll be good for the crowd and good for next year’s promotions — come and watch The Pinner,’ Tim Hartung.”
Note: Associate Gophers men’s athletics director Jeff Schemmel said that members of the athletics department and wrestling program will meet next week for a final discussion regarding the investigation of two Gophers wrestlers accused of but never charged with assault.