APPLETON — At Appleton North high school two athletes have jolted life into the Lightning wrestling program. One made school history last year and the other is looking to etch his name right next to him.
“Their legacy is going to live – years from now, they’re going to be talking about Jake and Brock and what they’ve accomplished – Not just in wrestling but for what they’ve done for this school as a whole,” said Appleton North head coach Scott Clough.
- Senior Jake Stoffer won the first wrestling state title in school history. He won at the 152 lbs weight class. This year he’s 54-0 at 175 lbs.
- There's another senior who’s had a lot of success on the football field and on the mat – senior heavyweight Brock Arndt, who is 32-2 on the season.
- For their head coach, Scott Clough, watching them grow and help set a new standard has been special.
For senior Jake Stoffel wrestling is a way of life.
“A lot of hard years of work for Jake himself and then for him to represent Appleton North is something special,” Clough said. “It was a great moment, cherish it forever.”
That moment, was something never done before, until last year when he took home the first wrestling state title in school history. He won at the 152 lbs weight class. This year he’s 54-0 at 175 lbs.
“When it came to the time, that finals match, I was ready to go,” said Stoffel. “I won it. A lot of excitement. All these different emotions came to my mind and for the school it’s amazing.”
Now the Mizzou wrestling commit is hoping lightning will strike twice.
“If I can do it again, it’s going to mean everything,” said Stoffel. “No matter what happens, win, lose or draw, I’m the same person. It’s always (a thought of winning another title) and I just try to be the best version of myself on and off the mat.”
There's another Appleton North senior who’s had a lot of success on the football field and on the mat – senior heavyweight Brock Arndt, who is 32-2 on the season.
“The brighter the lights, the more he gets excited,” Clough said. “That’s what he’s there for. He loves the competition.”
Arndt is heading to Ohio University to play football. The star linebacker was named Wisconsin defensive player of the year.
“Violence,” said Arndt about what he brings as a linebacker. “I love contact. Play physical, play fast. It’s how I’ve played my whole life. Being a wrestler has taught me that physicality ever since I’ve been younger.”
He has just one last goal. His sophomore year he took third in the state tournament and last year he came in second.
“That feeling of losing and not being able to celebrate the win after, it was a great season – that sucks so it kind of motivates me this year to win it,” Arndt said.
He's also driven by seeing his teammate have the only state title in program history..
“Seeing him being a state champ, I don’t want to take second again,” Arndt said.
For their head coach watching them grow and help set a new standard has been special.
“I remember when they were in the middle school ranks and getting excited to see what they could do at the high school level, but what they’ve done over the four years to build new traditions and guide our young guys through actions, it’s been great,” said Clough.