By Starrla Cray
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN In March, Lester Prairie High School graduate Mitchell Hartwig became state wrestling champion now, he’s in the limelight again, as the 2013 Prairie Days grand marshal.
“He has a strong work ethic and is a great role model for the younger kids and his peers,” Prairie Days organizer Melissa Williams noted.
Hartwig, the son of Greg and Sue Hartwig of rural Winsted, will appear in the Prairie Days grand parade 6 p.m. Saturday, July 27. His family also includes his sister, Ana, who is majoring in radiology at North Dakota State University.
“I like being involved in the community,” Hartwig said, explaining that he helps with the elementary wrestling program in Lester Prairie.
Hartwig, who has been a wrestler since kindergarten, originally became interested in the sport through his father, who wrestled at Lester Prairie High School before graduating in 1981.
“He kept taking me to tournaments,” Hartwig said.
Hartwig is the second wrestler from Lester Prairie High School to ever win a state championship. Including his four wins at state, Hartwig ended his senior season with a 42-2 overall record.
“I thought it was a good way to go out,” he said.
The past two years, Hartwig also ran track, focusing on 400- and 800-meter races.
This summer, Hartwig is working as a lifeguard at the Lester Prairie pool.
“I talk to the kids at the pool and get to know all of them,” he said.
This fall, Hartwig plans to become part of the wrestling team at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He hopes to major in geology and earth science, and someday have a career in the mining industry.