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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 23 2009

College Wrestling: Hawes signs with Bison

It’s not taking North Dakota State long to overhaul its wrestling team. It hopes to add 10 new wrestlers next year with the latest signing a junior college national champion.

The Bison expect Phil Hawes from Iowa Central Community College to provide immediate help. And after a 6-9-1 season in which nobody reached the Division I national tournament, NDSU could use it.

“With this class, I think we’ve turned the corner,” said head coach Bucky Maughan.

Hawes is expected to compete at 197 pounds. He first enrolled at Iowa Central mainly for football, but Maughan said when Division I offers for that sport didn’t look promising, he focused on wrestling.

“He’s the real deal we think,” Maughan said.

The Bison ended the season wrestling five true freshmen. The 10 incoming wrestlers means about half of the roster will be freshmen or sophomores. They will most likely take up most of the starting spots.

“We had some defections and injuries so we’re really excited about this class,” Maughan said. “We think it’s the best class we’ve had since the transition.”

The class represents a slight change in recruiting philosophy for Maughan. Most are from states other than North Dakota and Minnesota.

“You’re not going to beat the University of Minnesota on Minnesota’s top kids,” Maughan said. “Behind them, Wisconsin, Iowa and UNI (Northern Iowa) are poaching like crazy on the Minnesota kids. We’re expanding.”

Besides Hawes, the other’s are:

E Nate Hallfrisch of Great Falls, Mont., who was a three-time state champion and is projected as a 149- or 157-pounder.

E Joe Arthur from Bloomington, Ind., who was ranked 14th among heavyweight seniors by Wrestling USA Magazine.

E Trevor Johnson from Bismarck High, a two-time state champ who Maughan said was the best recruit in the state.

E Steven Monk of Wausau, Wis.,, who won two straight USA Wrestling folkstyle national titles at 145.

E Brady Burgess of Gillette, Wyo.,, who won a state title at 171 last winter and the best recruit in the state, Maughan said.

E Jordan Engen of Thief River Falls, Minn., a five-time state qualifier who will walk on.

The Bison may add three more in the coming weeks.

Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the WDAY Golf Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia