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Ellsworth wrestling: Stuhl commits to “Get Jacked”

Sam Stuhl didn’t have a dream school in mind.

When the three-time WIAA Division 2 state champion from Ellsworth took an unofficial visit to South Dakota State with his younger brother Charlie and his grandpa, he knew he didn’t need to look any further.

“It was unlike any of the other colleges I had visited and I loved the coaches,” Stuhl said. “It’s a really small D1 school. They took me on a walk from one end of the campus to the other and it was six minutes.”

Stuhl also took unofficial visits to North Dakota State and Arizona State.

Ellsworth graduate Anders Lantz will start his career with the Jackrabbits in the fall. Both wrestlers were captains of the 2016-17 WIAA Division 2 team state champions.

“I asked him what he liked about the school and he said the same things I’m saying now: there was nothing wrong with it,” Stuhl said. “I was wondering how that was even possible and then when I went there I completely understood.”

When Stuhl told Lantz that he had committed, Lantz replied with the school’s slogan: #GetJacked!

Stuhl has friends from Pinnacle Wrestling Club that will be at SDSU, which Ellsworth head coach Mark Matzek said would help his transition process into college athletics.

Stuhl won his first state title as a Prescott wrestler in the 120-pound weight class. His sophomore year he won the title at 126 pounds and his junior year he won in the 132-pound division.

“The coaches there seemed so much into wanting me there,” Stuhl said. “After I committed, they texted me about how excited they were to have me on campus.”

The coaches traveled to Ellsworth to meet Stuhl and his family Saturday, July 1.

“Coach (Chris) Bono has done a tremendous job promoting the program and building the program by signing high profile recruits like Sam,” Matzek said. “For example, SDSU will compete against Big Ten teams like the Gophers and host Oklahoma State, so Sam doesn’t have to go to a Big Ten school to get the wrestling experience that he desires.”

The distance from Ellsworth to Brookings, S.D. is 4 hours, 33 minutes, according to Google Maps.

Stuhl said the distance was just right.

Charlie Stuhl (left) and Sam Stuhl after the individual championship round at the Kohl Center in 2016-17.

“I could never go somewhere that was like seven hours away,” Stuhl said. “I love my family too much to move that far.”

Charlie, who will be a sophomore next year at Ellsworth, fell in love with SDSU early in Sam’s visit as well.

“Charlie loved it,” the older Stuhl said. “Charlie told me before I had even said anything about the campus that he wanted to go to South Dakota.”

First of all, though, the Stuhls have time left at Ellsworth.

“I’ve got a whole year of school left first, though, and I’m really looking forward to that,” Stuhl said. “I’m not looking forward to school, but we’re gonna have fun this year and I’m really excited about getting back in (the wrestling room).”