Complete package keeps Hartung 15-0

by Allison Younge

One look at Gophers wrestler Tim Hartung and you’ll see he has the physical appearance of a natural athlete.
He has the poise of a pitcher, the composure of a quarterback and the confidence of a state champion. It is the combination of his physical and mental attributes that make him a complete athlete.
“Hartung is one of those people who is going to be good at whatever he does because of his consistency,” Gophers coach J Robinson said.
The result of Hartung’s consistency this year has been an undefeated record (15-0), and a No. 7 ranking at 190 pounds.
“The impressive thing about Hartung this year is the way he is beating people,” Robinson said.
“He’s relentless; he’s out there not just to win, but to see how badly he can win and how many points he can score.”
This dominating mentality is unusual for a sophomore competing against mostly upperclassman, but is exactly Hartung’s game plan when he prepares himself for a match.
“I want to win big,” Hartung said. “I want to beat my opponent pretty bad, so if there’s ever another match, they remember what happened the first time”.
Through years of competition, Hartung has developed the skill of composure under pressure.
Along with distinguishing himself as a standout at Durand (Wis.) High School, he also held the positions of pitcher on the baseball team and quarterback of the football team.
Hartung enjoys being in control and doesn’t shy away from pressure situations; he actually looks forward to them.
One situation Hartung took control of last year during the off season was his move from 177 pounds to 190.
Moving up a weight class wasn’t anything new to Hartung.
As a freshman in high school, he wrestled at 112 pounds; 130 as a sophomore; 152 as a junior; 160 as a senior; and 177 his first season with Minnesota.
“I feel a lot better at 190; I think my confidence level is 100 percent higher than it was last year,” Hartung said. “I think I’ll stop here though; I don’t think I’ll make it to the next weight class.”
Coach Robinson looked at the move as a natural fit for the Gophers. Brandon Eggum would come in at 177 pounds and Hartung would increase to 190.
“Through a lot of hard work, (Hartung) has built himself into a big, strong 190-pounder,” Robinson said.
The move has proven to be effective for Hartung, Eggum and Robinson. The Gophers were recently bumped up to No. 5 in the rankings, and Eggum holds a season record of 10-1.
Hartung has come a long way since the beginning of his wrestling career in third grade when his uncle invited his brother and him to a few tournaments. Hartung’s success took off from there.
“We won right away because we were strong farm kids — we didn’t know anything about wrestling,” Hartung said.
After highlighting his final wrestling season in high school with a Wisconsin state championship at 160 pounds, Hartung decided to join Coach Robinson’s program and wrestle for Minnesota.
His goal was to find a good program located close to home so his parents would be able to continue to watch him wrestle.
The Gophers coaches liked Hartung’s diligent, hard-working style and knew he would fit in well at Minnesota.
He started strong in his first season with the Gophers, finishing sixth at the Big Ten’s and knocking off the No. 8 seed at 177 in the NCAAs.
Hartung is the only undefeated Gophers wrestler this season. He will be challenged by the top wrestling programs in the country when Minnesota competes in the National Duals on Jan. 17 and 18.
Hartung looks forward to meeting the best in his weight class and invites the pressure of becoming No. 1.
Minnesota takes on South Dakota State tonight at Williams Arena. The Jackrabbits are ranked fourth in Division II with a 1-1 overall record.
Note: Minnesota has moved from sixth to fifth in the latest poll by Amateur Wrestling News. Six teams in the Big Ten are ranked in the top 10 in the nation.
Iowa holds the No. 1 spot. Penn State is ranked No. 4, followed by Minnesota at No. 5.