wrestlers attacked

To Univ. of Oregon wrestlers also got jumped in the last few weeks. One of the wrestlers almost lost his ear.

Oregon wrestler nearly loses ear Thursday, January 06, 2005 EUGENE -- A University of Oregon wrestler almost lost an ear during an attack near the team's hotel in Fresno, Calif.

Junior Martin Mitchell and sophomore Cyle Hartzell said they were jumped by a group of men in a convenience store parking lot early Sunday. One of the men knocked Mitchell to the ground with a blow to the back of the head, and others attempted to slice off Hartzell's left ear.

The ear barely clung to the side of Hartzell's head, and the 157-pound wrestler underwent emergency surgery to have it reattached.

"I don't know if they used a straight blade or a box cutter or what, but it was a clean cut," Oregon coach Chuck Kearney said. "It was just hanging there."

Fresno police have not made an arrest. According to the police report, Hartzell felt something hit him on the side of the head. He turned and saw three men running away. He slowly stood up and, with Mitchell's help, returned to the hotel, where they called 9-1-1.

Mitchell competes in the 133-pound class. Despite a bump on the head, he wrestled Sunday against Fresno State and pinned his opponent.

Hartzell, a starter in his weight class, is out indefinitely, though Kearney is optimistic about his return.

"He's a tough kid who grew up on a ranch in Redmond," Kearney said. "The impression I have from him is that he's in shock something like this could happen. At the same time, he's trying to find out how to fix his headgear so he can wrestle."

Mitchell told The (Eugene) Register-Guard that he and Hartzell left their hotel room to buy sodas and Popsicles at a nearby gas station.

"As we were leaving, there was a group of six to 10 people outside talking to themselves but making comments about us for us to hear, something to incite us to say something back," Mitchell said. "We just turned our backs to them and started walking back to the hotel, and that's when it happened."

That's crazy!!!! The cowards/punks who did this will reap what they have sown.

"Despite a bump on the head, he wrestled Sunday against Fresno State and pinned his opponent." Gotta love that ... hardcore. That venue in Fresno is in a pretty bad area. Prior to the 2004 CA State Judo Junior championships, we were all "cautioned" about "exploring" the area.