Stanger finishes second at State Tournament
The WIAA State Wrestling Tournament was held this past weekend and the Edgar Sectional was well represented as 23 wrestlers finished in the top six with medals, there were 14 state finalist, nine state champions and five runner-ups that all came from the division three sectional that the Ladysmith Lumberjacks competed at a week ago.
Two Lumberjack wresters advanced to the state tournament, and one advanced all the way to the state finals as junior, Wade Stanger made his mark this past weekend as he returned to his second straight state meet in Madison.
A year ago was a a bit different for the junior as he finished 1-2 and this year the junior, who entered the tournament as a number two seed with a 41-4 record was dialed in to do something special from the opening round as he put the his singlet on and laced his shoes to go to war for the Lumberjacks.
Stanger opened up the tournament Thursday night against Jaden Bemis of Crivitz, who came in with a 32-7 record for the Wolverines. It took all of 35 seconds for Stanger to pin Bemis to advance to the quarter final to take on 27-11, Logan Klass of Fennimore.
In the quarterfinal, it was Stanger again making quick work of Klaas as Stanger pinned him in 2:25 to advance to the semifinal to take on 81-7, John Farkas of Amherst.
In Friday’s semifinal, Stanger showed he is one of the top state wrestlers in the 285 pound weight class as picked up his third straight pin in 1:39 to advance to the state final match to take on the number one wrestler in the state and familiar foe, Tanner Gaffey of St. Croix Falls.
Stanger entered the final with a record of 44-4, a 100 win wreslter, which he earned at the state meet, and only four losses on the season, all to Gaffey this season. The championship match was the fifth time the wrestlers have seen each other this season in a final.
In the final, it was 0-0 entering the second period, as Gaffey chose down and got the escape to go up 1-0. That is where it would end at the end of the second period as Stanger chose both up in the third in hopes of getting the takedown. Gaffey, though was the one to pick up the takedown and ride Stanger out to pick up the victory 3-0 as Ladysmith’s Wade Stanger finishes out the 2019-2020 season 44-5 and state runner-up as a junior. Stanger finishes out the season with several accomplishments as the runner-up picked up 100 wins on the career, sectional runner-up, regional champion, conference runner-up, several tournament championships as well as a two time state qualifier in three years for the Lumberjack wrestling program. With one year left, you can bet that Stanger has his sights set on returning to the state final next year and he will have plenty of motivation to stand on top of the podium as the next Ladysmith state champion.