Hartung takes Big Ten crown at 190

Allison Younge

After scoring a single-leg takedown to win a Big Ten title at 190 pounds, sophomore wrestler Tim Hartung bounded towards Gophers Coach J Robinson and picked him up for a bear-hug, nearly knocking Robinson right off his feet.
“Winning a Big Ten title was an unbelievable feeling,” Hartung said. And by the looks of it Robinson would agree.
Hartung’s 3-1 overtime victory over Michigan State’s Brian Picklo completed the Gophers rally at the Big Tens with a sigh of relief, a grin of satisfaction and a Minnesota exclamation point.
At 3 p.m. on Sunday before his 190 pound Big Ten finals match, Hartung took time to collect his thoughts and comment on the upcoming match.
“I’m going out there to win big,” Hartung said. “I’m not letting this match go into overtime.”
When the 190 match was called, Hartung confidently strode to center-mat at Williams Arena with a look of unbreakable concentration. In the first period, he quickly gained control of Picklo’s leg and dragged him around the mat forcing the Spartan’s 190-pounder to hop on one foot to sustain his balance.
Hartung attempted several times to land takedowns, but all were unsuccessful. Even though Gophers fans chanted for two, after one period, no points were awarded.
Hartung managed a quick escape to start the second period. Picklo answered with an escape in the third. With the match in a 1-1 deadlock, regular time ran out and Hartung’s hope of a high scoring, regulation win was shattered.
For the third time this year, the Hartung-Picklo winner would be decided by sudden death.
This is where the 3,782 people in attendance worked into the scene.
“In a tight match, the home crowd can be a huge advantage,” Hartung said. “It’s almost as if you can’t lose, you can’t let all those people down.”
After 40 seconds of intense overtime, Gophers fans went wild as Hartung completed the takedown he had tried for all match.
“It was great to see how much the crowd could play into the win,” Robinson said. “It gave him a feeling of accomplishment that he’ll never forget.”
Hartung’s season has by no means lacked accomplishment, early in the season Hartung distinguished himself as one of the elite 190 pounders in the nation. He peaked in the national rankings at No. 3 recording 23 straight victories.
On Feb. 15, Hartung’s streak was snapped in a 2-1 double overtime tiebreaking loss to none-other-than Big Ten title contender Brian Picklo. Even after the loss, Hartung remained focused. He said the loss would take some pressure off, and would force him to work harder to get ready for his upcoming matches. Hartung trained vigorously and came into the Big Tens ready for anyone–especially Picklo.
“I knew that I was in better shape than him,” Hartung said. “I got him tired, I could see it in his face.”
Throughout the Big Ten tournament, Hartung consistently overpowered his opponents. Before each match, he would decide what he wanted to gain from his opponent.
In his first match against Michigan’s Frank Lodeserto, Hartung aspired to win by pin. He knew that it would save energy, give him confidence, and earn an extra point for the team.
“It was on my mind all the way,” Hartung said. “I wanted to pin him.”
Not even three minutes into the match, Hartung’s first goal was met. Lodeserto fell by pin in 2:51, moving Hartung into the next bracket and awarding an extra point to Minnesota’s team score.
Next came the semifinal match against Iowa’s Lee Fullhart. Hartung felt a little sluggish. He decided to pick up his intensity and get the Minnesota crowd going. By the third period Hartung was rewarded with a standing ovation by Minnesota fans for his efforts in the 7-1 victory.
During Hartung’s weekend at the Big Tens, a combination of skill and determination earned him the only conference crown for Minnesota. It’s an accomplishment that is best celebrated with a bear-hug in his home arena.