D-I calls Lane and Hardman for wrestling talent
It’s rare when a small-school student-athlete signs a letter of intent to compete at a Division I institution.
It’s even more rare when two student-athletes from the same small school go Division I, but Norwood High School’s Stryker Lane and Hugh Hardman have committed to Division I wrestling programs.
Lane will attend Cornell University and wrestle for the Ivy League school and Hardman has signed a letter of intent with the University of Northern Colorado.
“It’s kind of amazing two kids from Norwood going to Division I programs,” Norwood wrestling coach and Hugh’s father, Dirk Hardman, said. “I think I’ve had one or two go to a Division II program.”
A third high school senior in the San Juan area, Dove Creek’s Colten Huskey, will join Hugh Hardman at UNC. Huskey is 114-3 in his high school career and a returning state wrestling champion.
“Colten and I have been good buddies forever,” Hardman said. “We’ve gone to Las Vegas for tournaments together. We didn’t plan for it to be this way. We got to talking one day and he decided it was not too late (to visit campuses). He ended up looking at UNC and seemed to like it.”
Hardman (116-9 career), a two-time state champion, chose UNC over Western State.
“I liked Western State, but I went with UNC because its a bigger town with a small town style,” Hardman said. “I wanted something different. I really liked Ben Cherrington. He is a great coach and what better way to become a national champ if your coach is a national champion. Ben knows how to work like a national champion.”
Cherrington is a UNC assistant coach. He was a three-time state champion at Middle Park High School before winning the 2006 NCAA 157-pound national title at Boise State University.
Hardman is also looking forward to the opportunity to wrestle Tony Mustari in the same practice room. The junior from Greeley is a two-time NCAA national qualifier.
“I really like Mustari and he’ll be there next year,” Hardman said. “You can learn a lot from upperclassmen. He’s been to nationals and knows what it’s like.”
Lane was looking for one of the top Division I programs in the nation. He is a two-time state champion with an 89-11 varsity career record.
It just so happened he found that — Cornell is ranked third in the nation — and a highly regarded institution of higher learning.
“I was looking for a place with a good wrestling program and it turned out Cornell had that along with one of the best educational institutions in the world,” Lane said. “It’s one of the best educational institutions and gives me one of the best chances to be a national champion.”
Lane, who plans on studying business, said his GPA is about a 3.8.
“I had to work hard in high school,” he said. “I tried to get the best grades. It worked out for me to get in there (Cornell).”
Lane may get a chance to wrestle his older brother, Tucker, again — at least he hopes for the opportunity.
“If I go to Cornell and do well, I will have a chance to meet (Tucker) in the finals at nationals,” Stryker said.
Tucker Lane, Stryker’s older brother, is wrestling at the University of Nebraska.
Until then, Stryker and Hardman are ready for the upcoming high school wrestling season.
“We had a great team last year and ended up fifth,” Hardman said. “At the team banquet, we decided we weren’t going to settle for fifth. We want to be state champs, but a couple of the guys got hurt in football. It will be tough, but our goal is to win state.”
“We only graduated one guy (from last year),” Lane said. “We have the capability of being up there if we stay focused and make a run for the title.”