U wrestlers impress recruit

Sarah Mitchell

Gophers recruit Damion Hahn flew in from Lakewood, N.J., this weekend to watch his future team battle to stay unbeaten in the Big Ten. Considered the nation’s top high school wrestler at any weight class, Hahn signed with the 2nd-ranked Gophers in late November.
Minnesota (13-2 overall, 7-0 in the Big Ten) put on a good showing for Hahn, routing No. 7 Illinois 30-6 on Friday before defeating Ohio State 32-6 on Sunday.
“They looked real good on Friday,” Hahn said. “I’m ready to come here.”
Hahn’s first trip to Minnesota was for an official visit. This time around, however, Hahn said he felt more at home.
“The last time I was here, my first time meeting the guys, I didn’t really know them,” Hahn said. “This time things are more comfortable.”
Even the team’s nature boy, Troy Marr, spent time with Hahn.
“I took him fishing,” Marr said. “We caught mostly perch and crappies.”

Prospects of his own
Russ Hellickson doesn’t have Hahn, but the Buckeyes coach is optimistic about his incoming class as a whole. Four blue-chip grapplers signed with Ohio State during the early signing period in November.
Tommy Rowlands (Columbus, Ohio), John Clark (Canton, N.Y.), Ryan Hieber (Galion, Ohio) and Jeff Ratliff (Columbus, Ohio) combined to form what Hellickson called “the strongest freshman class in the school’s history.”
Rowlands leads the class and is considered to be the second most sought-after recruit next to Hahn. The future collegiate grappler will wrestle at heavyweight for the Buckeyes.
Hellickson expects his team to remain at the bottom of the conference standings this season but said the arrival of Rowlands and the others in his class should allow Ohio State to rise to the top.
“We beat Indiana on Friday and we’ve tied Purdue,” Hellickson said. “We’re good right now, but just being good in the Big Ten doesn’t get the job done.”

The Big Guys
Minnesota’s big guys carry most of the team’s weight in more ways than one.
Senior Tim Hartung at 197 pounds, 184-pound Brandon Eggum and heavyweight Brock Lesnar have combined for a 58-1 overall record this year.
By picking up two wins over the weekend, Hartung remained perfect on the season at 26-0. The nation’s top-ranked 197-pounder defeated Illinois’ Pat Quirk (No. 12) 15-4 on Friday. On Saturday, Hartung gained a win without having to wrestle, as Hellickson forfeited that weight class.
Eggum also sports a spotless record. The junior leads the nation’s 184-pounders with a 22-0 record.

ù Four Gophers wrestlers are ranked No. 1 in the Jan. 29 Big Ten Coaches Poll. Eggum, Hartung, Lesnar and senior Chad Kraft (157) all received the top ranking.