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Wrestling: Ellsworth's Lantz commits to UW

Ellsworth’s Jens Lantz (front middle) signs his National Letter of Intent to wrestle for the University of Wisconsin Monday at Ellsworth High School. Included in the photo is (front row, from left) Jon Lantz, Jens Lantz, Jamie Lantz; (back) Ellsworth wrestling coach Jack Radabaugh, Ellsworth wrestling founder Kirby Symes, Ellsworth head wrestling coach Chad Steldt. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

Growing up with red, white and black all around his house, it wasn’t hard for Ellsworth’s Jens Lantz to decide where to go for his collegiate wrestling career.

On Monday, the three-time WIAA state champion signed his National Letter of Intent to wrestle at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

“It was definitely emotional, but it was a happy time in the house,” Lantz said about telling his family he’d be going to Madison. “I guess we always knew that I was going to be a Badger when I was a kid, but once you put your name down on paper, it means something.”

Lantz will be the second Ellsworth wrestler to go to Wisconsin. Last year, Parker Hines walked on at Wisconsin before transferring to the Air Force Academy.

In the Nov. 3 rankings, the Badgers were ranked 20th in Division I.

Last year as a junior, Lantz had a 42-5 record and won the Division 2, 120-pound state champion via pinfall to become Ellsworth High School’s first three-time state champ.

Head wrestling coach Chad Steldt said that not only is Wisconsin getting a mat rat that works on his craft constantly, the Badgers are getting a wrestler with high aspirations.

“His goals are way beyond high school and maybe beyond college,” Steldt said, “so that’s a good thing so we can watch him for years to come.

“Going forward in Madison, he’s going to get back to his riding style, so they’ll get a really intense kid that rides tough and is constantly trying to perfect his single leg (takedowns). He’s a pretty solid kid and he’s got a really good head on him. Academics won’t be a problem for him.”

In talking to the Badgers’ wrestling coaches, Lantz said he projects to wrestle at either 141 or 149 pounds in college. With prep wrestling practice beginning across the state on Monday, Lantz said he was unsure at what weight we would wrestle at in 2013-14 as he vies for his fourth state championship.

Getting some interest from other Big Ten Conference schools including Minnesota and Nebraska, Lantz admitted the recruiting process became more difficult than he initially thought it would. But he toured the Wisconsin campus and that sealed the deal for the lifelong Badger fan.

“Once I took my visit, it was a no-brainer to me,” Lantz said. “As I kept looking at other schools, it got harder and harder, so I knew that I had to make my decision from the heart.”

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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