The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

NCAA Individual Champion: Jared Stricker

Third-year student becomes the second national champion wrestler in program history
Jared Stricker is declared the NCAA Division III individual champion. Photo used with permission from Olivia Stricker Photography.

Jared Stricker is a third-year student and a prominent member of the UW-Eau Claire wrestling team. Stricker has earned numerous accolades dating back to his first year on the team. 

After taking the runner-up spot in last year’s Division III wrestling championship, Stricker would claim this year’s national title in the 174-pound weight group, doing so against Zane Mulder of Wartburg College, last year’s champion, by a score of 10-3.

“I was hoping for that match all year long,” Stricker said. “It felt good to get that match back and beat him.”

Accolades for Stricker this year also include an All-American nod, a WIAC title (174 lbs.), champion of the Wheaton Invitational (174 lbs.) and holder of the program’s all-time career wins and single-season pins record. 

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Upon reflection of these accomplishments, Stricker said it all began at a very young age through encouragement from a close friend. 

“In second grade, my buddy Marcus actually got me into wrestling,” Stricker said. “He got me to come home to practice and I just never stopped.” 

When it comes to becoming just the second wrestler in program history to win the title, Stricker said it’s a feeling like no other.

“It feels awesome,” Stricker said. “It’s what I’ve been working for my whole career here.” 

Preparation is key to making a deep championship run possible and Stricker said consistency is an important aspect of this.  

“Training just stayed the same as all year long,” Stricker said. “We just kept the same routine, didn’t have to switch anything up and we didn’t gameplan too much for it.” 

Coach Tim Fader said what stood out to him upon first meeting Stricker was his background and all-around experience, as he had won the WIAA Division II State Championship (170 lbs.) as a senior at Ashland High School.

“I think he had a really good background in wrestling,” Fader said.  “After he had already committed to coming to Eau Claire, he won almost everything in the spring of his senior year of high school.” 

Having been a head wrestling coach since 1998, Fader has coached many wrestlers throughout his time at UW-La Crosse, Whitewater and now Eau Claire. Fader said Stricker is one of those standout wrestlers.  

“I’ve been fortunate in my career to be around some people that have done more than what he’s done,” Fader said. “I think it’s very exciting for me to see that Jared is setting that example here at Eau Claire, and I think that people will want to come in and want to do the same thing.”   

Beyond the mat, Stricker said he wants to pursue a major in business management.

“Maybe I’d like to run a business someday,” Stricker said.   

But for now, Stricker said all eyes are on solidifying a legacy like no other for his senior season. 

“The goal right now is to go back-to-back,” Stricker said. “Be the most dominant in DIII.” 

Teske can be reached at [email protected].

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