Big three emerge in Ellsworth line-upWhile Ellsworth emphasizes the team aspect to its wrestling program it's obvious the Panthers have a line-up with three state champions and 30-plus winners in it and these three have proven the anchors this this line-up all season.
While Ellsworth emphasizes the team aspect to its wrestling program it's obvious the Panthers have a line-up with three state champions and 30-plus winners in it and these three have proven the anchors this this line-up all season.
Two-time state champion Jens Lantz is undefeated at 37-0 at 113 pounds. Team captain Roarke Langer is 35-4 at 132 pounds and won state in 2011 and fellow team captain Parker Hines is coming off state championship at 195 pounds with a 38-1 record.
Hines and Langer are seniors in what's largely an underclassmen dominated EHS line-up. Only five seniors start in Hines, Langer, Brent Stockwell at 126 and Derek Donnell at 182. Mason Strom has seen some varsity action at 145.
"I know as a team leader and senior I'm looked up to and Parker, the other seniors and myself try to establish our leadership through our work ethic and example," Langer said. "But we also try to set a fun tone as well and that's while hard work is important it's not all work either."
Langer says he looks to Lantz as well even though Jens is two classes younger.
"He knows what it takes to get to the top," Langer said.
Lantz, Langer and Hines find themselves nicely spread out through the Panther line-up in the light, middle and upper weights so no matter what weight class a team dual meet starts they can have an almost immediate impact on the score.
Ellsworth head coach Chad Steldt said the importance team leaders provide and squad comes by matching word with deeds.
"Anyone can talk but it's most important you walk as well," Steldt said. "Most of time these kids are winners because their outwork their opponents as much as special talents they have. They've worked so many hours during offseason and hey work hard in the on-season too. What they do is visible to everyone in the wrestling and in the stands that's almost impossible not to follow their example, because it's what wins matches."
Langer said that despite the mixed classes in Ellsworth's line the team unity the squad has will make them competitive for the team state title.
"No matter what class we're in we're together a lot," Langer said. "We're good friends throughout the school year and the summer, in the room, outside of it and shows when we're together on the mat."