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Stuhl signs to join the Bison herd

Sam Stuhl signed his letter of intent to join the North Dakota State University Bison wrestling team on Monday, April 16. Stuhl made his commitment official alongside his mom, Nikki Clymer; his dad, John Stuhl; and Ellsworth wrestling coaches Jack Radabaugh (back left), Mark Matzek (back middle) and Carson Huppert (back right). Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia

One of Ellsworth wrestling's most-prized wrestlers signed his letter of intent on Monday, April 16, making his farewell to Panther wrestling much more surreal.

Sam Stuhl will join the North Dakota State University Bison wrestling team following his graduation and made his commitment official on Monday.

The four-time state champion originally verbally committed to South Dakota State University but came to the conclusion that NDSU would be a better fit for him after watching the Bison Open the weekend before he was supposed to sign with SDSU.

• Read "From a Panther to a Bison: Stuhl commits to NDSU" here

Since then, Stuhl won his fourth individual state title, becoming the 16th wrestler in Wisconsin to ever do so, added a team state runner-up finish to his long list of achievements, and was named Ellsworth's Middle Border Conference Scholar Athlete along with classmate Morgan Kummer.

Ellsworth has been good to Stuhl, and vice versa, but the once Panther is now ready to move onto his life as a Bison.

"Wrestling is over for high school; I'm OK with that," Stuhl said. "I'm excited for my future. I'm privileged to be wrestling in college. It's always been a dream of mine."

Stuhl will make his way to NDSU's campus on May 12 for his brother's graduation and plans to practice with his future team while in Fargo.

"I like the area, I don't like how cold and windy it is, but that's OK. I'm just really excited," Stuhl said. "I've already texted the coaches, and they've been talking to me and congratulating me, so I'm excited for it."

Though he won't be back in Fargo until mid May, Stuhl hasn't been able to tear himself away from the mat too much.

Stuhl wrestled at the 2018 USAW Junior Folkstyle Nationals in Iowa March 29-30 where he took seventh place. He pinned state champ Nico Carrasco of Morenci, Ariz. in four minutes in his final high school folkstyle match.

"It felt nice that my last folkstyle match I wrestled well," Stuhl said. "I was happy with seventh. I wanted to win it, but I was OK with that."

The Ellsworth senior also practices at PINnacle Wrestling School in Roseville, Minn. Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays and heads to Amery on Mondays to train with former Warriors opponent Mike Smith.

"It's been lighter," Stuhl said of his current training regimen. "I'm not really cutting weight. I'm just lifting and wrestling, having fun with it."

The wrestler who has brought loads of success to his high school team and insurmountable joy to Ellsworth wrestling fans became one step closer to his wrestling future with his family and friends, his biggest supporters.

"It feels good to have everyone here," Stuhl said. "They're all supporting me and are happy with my decision. I'm excited, they're excited. It'll be fun."