MADISON - State title No. 3 went to Jens Lantz, state title No. 1 went to Gabe Frandsen and state titles No. 25 and 26 went to the Ellsworth High School program at the 70th WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament at the Kohl Center Saturday evening.
Lantz got his third pin of the tournament to become Ellsworth's first-ever three-time state champion. He stuck Freedom sophomore Cody Walrath (31-10) in the Division 2, 120-pound finals just before the second period buzzer. By then he had already had a 6-0 lead.
"I knew time was running out but I wasn't sure what the exact time was," Lantz said. "I went for the pin hard and when it got real tight I knew I had it."
EHS head coach Chad Steldt won't get into a debate into Lantz's exact place in Ellsworth wrestling history but his accomplishment should make it obvious.
"You have to remember Jens has had opportunities and circumstances not available to our past state champions so it's hard to say where he ranks specifically and in comparison," Steldt said. "But is he near the top of the list? Oh yeah."
Steldt said that Lantz likes to set little goals to accomplish in each of his matches and in this particular match Lantz said he wanted to set a strong pace.
"I didn't get a chance to do that as much in this match but I felt I had a very good tournament when it came to scoring on my feet and that was a goal I set for myself." Lantz said.
Gabe Frandsen reversed the outcome of the Middle Border Conference finals by beating MBC champ senior Gabe Flandrick (43-3) of Somerset by a 5-4 score in the Division 2, 160-pound finals.
Flandrick took a 2-1 lead into the second period put a penalty point tied the match at 2-2. Frandsen gave up an escape with :05 to go in the second but Flandrick, altering his strategy due a shoulder injury suffered in the semifinals the night before, decided to let Frandsen up from the mat to start the third period. Frandsen scored the decisive takedown near the edge of the mat.
"He was trying to pull out of the hand lock and I took advantage of it," Frandsen said.
Frandsen also credits improved defense and a smart strategy wrestling an opponent who had beaten him before. Steldt acknowledged this.
"Gabe did a great job blocking the single-leg shots Flandrick is so good at," Steldt said. "He also did a good job changing up his high lock and throw by going towards the weak side of opponent instead of the strong and made it a difference too. But just as important was all the work Gabe did over the summer and the time put in summer wrestling to get him to title."
Lantz finishes with a 42-5 record and will be aiming for title No. 4 next year while Frandsen, 45-6, will try for title No. 2 next year as well.