Former Gophers settle in St. Croix Valley and provide boost for youth wrestling programs

They were teammates with the Golden Gophers two decades ago and several former University of Minnesota wrestlers have carried that fraternity — along with their young families — to the St. Croix Valley.

Led by two-time NCAA national champion Tim Hartung, those former Gophers have reinvigorated the Stillwater Area Wrestling (SAW) and St. Croix Valley Athletic Association (VAA) programs for young wrestlers. Hartung has been coaching in the SAW program for three years and is in the midst of his first season as an assistant with the Stillwater Area High School wrestling team.

Hartung has plenty of familiar company as the roster of former Gophers now contributing to the Stillwater-area youth programs also includes Brandon Eggum, Delaney Berger, Owen Elzen, Eddie Pak, Mike Flanagan and brothers Brett and Jared Lawrence. Combined, this group has collected 17 state championships, eight Big Ten titles, 13 All-American honors, a Wold Championship silver medal and three NCAA titles. The Lawrences and Elzen also contributed to national team championships in 2001 and 2002. Continue reading at