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Delander is two-time state champion

Senior Adam Delander has joined the elite.

Many schools have never had a multiple state champion. On Saturday, Delander became St. Croix Central's second two-time state wrestling champion.

Delander won the Division 3 119-pound state championship at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday night. In the championship match Delander beat Casey Klister of Wrightstown, 2-0.

Two years ago Delander was the Division 3 state champion at 103 pounds. Last year Delander finished in third place in the Division 3 112-pound state bracket. Delander also qualified for state as a freshman, but was defeated in the opening round.

Delander completes his career with a 144-14 record. He had already broken the Central school record of 101 wins during his junior season.

With this championship, Delander joins Jeff Ross as the only two-time state wrestling champions from St. Croix Central. Ross won his championships in 1995 and 1996.

Delander's state championship is a product of his formula that has worked so well in most of his matches this season. Delander worked to get a lead early, and then he was nearly impossible to score against. That helped him build up his 41-1 record this season.

He started the state tournament against Loren Ruzic of Loyal-Greenwood. Delander got a quick takedown and two back points in the first period. Delander controlled the match from there. He gave up two stalling points in the final seconds, but the 5-4 final score makes the match look closer than it really was.

In the semifinals Delander met up with Dustin Harris, a senior from Riverdale who was a big 119-pounder. Delander again made his move quickly.

"Adam shot a double, one of his best double-leg takedowns of the year," said Central coach Brad Holzer.

Delander took the 2-0 lead into the second period, where Harris spent the entire period trying to lock Delander into a crossface cradle. Much of the third period was spent the same way. Delander was able to fight off all of Harris' attempts to win 4-3. Delander usually doesn't show a lot of emotion on the mat, but the win brought a fist pump from him, knowing that he'd again reached the state finals.

In the finals Delander faced Klister, who had finished second at 112 pounds last year. Delander went through his ritual that starts each match. He then went out and wrestled a cagey match.

Klister wanted Delander to chase him, but Delander stayed in the center of the mat. Klister finally had to come back and wrestle and Delander was able to drop in for a single and take Klister down.

That was the only scoring of the first period. Klister chose the top position for the second period. Klister is an excellent rider, and this period was a real battle. Klister was doing everything he could to turn Delander for back points and Delander did all he could to prevent being turned.

For the third period, Delander elected to have both wrestlers work from their feet. It was the right decision. Delander again planted one foot in the middle of the mat, forcing Klister to adjust to Delander's style. Klister was never able to get near a takedown in the third period. A blood timeout with two seconds left in the match gave Delander time to soak in what he was about to accomplish.

When time ran out, Delander showed more emotion than anyone has likely ever seen from him after a match. He pointed to his parents, then he pointed to the front of the third level of stands. That's where a group of 17 Central wrestlers were cheering for him, with DELANDER painted in large letters across their chests.

So while Delander's three matches were won by a total of four points, all he cared about was the wins.

"He went down with one goal and that's what he came home with," Holzer said. "I don't think Central's ever had an athlete dominate his sport the way Adam has all four years of high school."

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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