By David McCoy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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4:31 PM EST, January 26, 2012
Having your dad as the head wrestling coach has its advantages.
"I've had a wrestling room in my basement since I was four years old," said South Bend Clay junior Mitch Hartman, who has certainly taken advantage of it.
Now a junior, Hartman is ranked third in the entire state at 138 pounds, which is even more impressive considering what he has overcome.
"When I was a freshman, I passed out when I was wrestling Penn," Hartman explained. "I was beating the kid 14-0, and he threw me to my back, and I passed out."
After a battery of tests, doctors determined Hartman had severe asthma. But quit the sport he'd spent his whole life mastering?
"We never even thought of that," Hartman said. "We just thought, 'How we are going to get past this, what we can do to be the best we can be with asthma?'"
The answer: Hartman takes classes to learn to control his breathing. He also uses an inhaler sometimes during the middle of matches.
"I mean, I can handle myself," he said. "It's just sometimes it gets to a point like if anybody ever cuts off my oxygen, or if I get stressed out, sometimes it'll really act up to where my throat will close up and I can't move."
Where Hartman does move is toward the top. He finished fourth at state last year, despite starting the tournament ranked 20th. Since he's number three this year, he says he has to finish at least second.
"At least," he said with a grin. "I always try to do better than what I'm expected."
Which is interesting because Hartman is not doing what is expected with his future.
"I don't want to go to college for sports," he said. "I want to go to college to have fun."
An interesting position to take for someone with so much potential. It is not that he does not have a passion for wrestling. He does. And it is not that he is not smart enough. He is. In fact, he's got a 3.4 grade point average. He is just ready to move on with his life and that involves a different plan.
"How is wrestling going to help me in the future?" Hartman asked, rhetorically. "I mean, I feel like it's helped me out with personality and to be able to handle tough situations, but as far as after college, there's really nothing to do with wrestling."
Instead, he plans to study business and architecture. With that, maybe he could even design a wrestling room in his own basement someday.
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