Arizona State Wrestling Signs Hackett, Payne to National Letters

April 18, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - Thom Ortiz, head coach of the Arizona State wrestling team, has announced the signing of two prep standouts to National Letters of Intent. Signees Jason Hackett and Patrick Payne will join the Sun Devils for the 2003-04 season as the squad looks to defend its Pac-10 Championship.

'Both of these young men are hard-nosed competitors with an extremely strong work ethic,' Ortiz said. 'They have yet to reach their potential on the mats and when they do, they will do great things for us. Jason and Patrick will be vital components to Arizona State wrestling attaining our goal of being a Top 5 team in the nation each year. I am pleased to welcome them to the team and look forward to working with them.'

Hackett comes to Tempe by way of Columbus, Ohio, where he competed for Hamilton Township High School. Wrestling at 171 pounds, Hackett recently won the 2003 High School Nationals title. He was ranked No. 10 in the nation heading into the event and won the title by knocking off the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the semifinals and then the top-ranked competitor in the finals. Hackett won the Ohio state championship as a junior and placed third as both a sophomore and senior. He is slated to compete in either the 174 or 184 weight class for the Sun Devils.

Payne wrestled for Poway High School in Poway, Calif., where he was a three-time California state placer at 140 pounds. He placed sixth at the recent high school nationals after sustaining an injury in the championship semifinals and had to medically forfeit the rest of his matches. Ranked in No. 5 in the nation, Payne finished second at the California state meet this year after taking third as a junior and sixth as a sophomore. Projected to compete at 149 pounds, Payne will come to Arizona State with an academic scholarship as well.

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