Student-athletes flock to Minnesota for many reasons

Recruiters take various approaches to land talented recruits.

by Michael Rietmulder

Every year, the University of Minnesota welcomes new student athletes across its 25 sports. While many young athletes don maroon and gold each year, they have chosen the University for a variety of reasons. One of the womenâÄôs hockey recruits is Little CanadaâÄôs Bethany Brausen , a forward who was named the Minnesota girlâÄôs hockey player of the year in her junior season by the Pioneer Press. Growing up in a state she said is the âÄúhub of hockey in the United States,âÄù Brausen has followed Gophers hockey since her youth. âÄúI think that anyone growing up in Minnesota watching the girlâÄôs program is obviously going to be a huge fan,âÄù Brausen said. Nick Leddy of Eden Prairie was a member of menâÄôs hockeyâÄôs 2009 recruiting class and he too said that after following Gopher hockey for years he knew he wanted to play for the team. âÄúGrowing up in Minnesota âĦ IâÄôve always wanted to play for the Gophers,âÄù Leddy said. Brausen, who considered Ivy League schools Dartmouth College and Harvard University before deciding on the University, mentioned the fringe benefits of staying in her home state. âÄúI do love having family and friends be local, so that was a really, really nice perk,âÄù Brausen said. While Minnesotans like Brausen and Leddy have grown up in wintry Minnesota, there is a stigma that some athletes are put off by the stateâÄôs frigid climate. Senior volleyball player Christine Tan said the cold weather wasnâÄôt enough to deter her from leaving Florida to come to Minnesota, but admits to not having a full understanding of the weather before her arrival. After experiencing three Minnesota winters, Tan doesnâÄôt sound as though sheâÄôs grown fond of the stateâÄôs longest season quiet yet. âÄúI donâÄôt know if IâÄôve really totally adjusted,âÄù Tan said inside Williams Arena during TuesdayâÄôs snow storm. Among the 2010 classâÄô notable signees announced in November were menâÄôs basketball players Elliott Eliason, a 6âÄô11âÄôâÄô center from Chadron, Neb., and shooting guard Austin Hollins from Germantown, Tenn. Eliason was ranked as the 27th best center in the nation and Hollins the 34th best shooting guard. The menâÄôs hockey team nabbed five recruits, including Erik Haula, a Finnish center who played for Shattuck-St. MaryâÄôs last year and forward Seth Ambroz of New Prague. Ambroz has spent the past two seasons with the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League .