When Minneota wrestler Travis Longtin finished his high school career with a loss in the Minnesota State Class A Individual Championships last March, he felt he still had something left in the tank.
"When I lost in the state tournament, I didn't feel like I was done yet," Longtin said. "I thought I still had more to do."
Longtin will get the opportunity to do more at Southwest Minnesota State University, where Friday he was announced to be one of seven signees by head coach Jesse Nelson and the Mustang wrestling program for the 2012-13 season.
Wrestling in college is something Longtin said he has always thought would be "cool", but he wasn't sure if he had the talent to make it at that level. While wrestling at a freestyle practice at SMSU over the past year, he said he was approached by a Mustang assistant coach who suggested it as an option. Now Longtin will be joining two former Minneota Vikings (Christian Skillings and Beau Buysse) in wearing SMSU's brown and gold on the mat.
Longtin's journey as a wrestler hasn't always gone so smoothly. During his junior year he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow during the Camden Conference finals and had to have Tommy John surgery that summer. He came back his senior year and posted a 37-12 record while helping Minneota finish third as a team at the Class A state tournament for the third straight year.
"I was determined to bounce back," Longtin said. "It was kind of a big setback with the offseason training and the rehab, but it was something I was able to get through and overcome."
Longtin is now looking forward to the challenge of helping the Mustangs climb up the standings in the loaded Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Living within a close proximity to SMSU, he has paid close attention to the team and has a good feeling about its future.
"I think Coach Nelson has a tremendous job with the program," Longtin said. "They've been improving every year and I like the direction they're headed in."