Two Stratford Tigers sign letters of intent
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Two sports standouts at Stratford High School recently signed letters of intent to participate in Division 1 collegiate sports. Both Ben Barten and Easton Kilty will play football at the college level.
Kilty is headed to North Dakota.
“During last year’s season, I didn’t really think about playing college football, but after (the season) I could tell that I really wanted to play college football in my future, so I went to a bunch of combines and camps, and I eventually earned a scholarship to North Dakota,” Kilty said, calling the recruiting process “a little stressful.”
“After the first camp a ton of coaches contacted me, and after the Wisconsin camp I was offered (a scholarship) by North Dakota. I went up there on a campus visit and really fell in love with their campus.”
And, you could say North Dakota fell in love with Easton.
“They like my size and the way I can move off the ball and finish blocks,” he added.
Kilty credits Barten for helping him through the scouting process.
“He showed me what coaches are looking for, and what I need to improve on to become a really good athlete,” he explained.
But, Kilty knows the real work lies ahead.
He said, “I just need to get bigger, stronger, faster.”
Kilty anticipates playing offensive tackle. “They want to use my length and size,” he added.
Kilty is leaning toward studying computer engineering in college.
As for Barten, he is headed to Madison to play for the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten.
“Obviously it’s a dream. I grew up watching kids come through this program (Stratford) and going to play in college, and I just thought ‘Why couldn’t that be me?’, so my brother talked to me about it and said ‘You know what? That’s obviously a dream of yours. Why can’t you do it?’, so I’d like to say thank you to my brother for everything. He’s pushed me so hard through all of this, and that’s basically the biggest reason why I’m here today.”
Barten also credits former Stratford football standouts Tanner Weinfurter (Winona State) and Tyson Kauffman (Concordia of St. Paul) for his development into a college-ready player.
“I was just a freshman at the time (going up against them in practice), but a year later I was going to the Badger camp,” he recalled.
After being recruited heavily by Wisconsin and Iowa, Barten eventually decided Madison was the right fit for him.
“My sophomore year, I went to a WFCA (Wisconsin Football Coaches Association) combine, and at that point I didn’t even know if I wanted to play college football, and then I really started talking to my brother, and two weeks later I had a college offer me (a scholarship),” Barten said.
South Dakota State was the first to offer Ben a scholarship, followed by two other schools, and then Iowa and Wisconsin.
“I was just a sophomore at the time, and I was super nervous. I couldn’t think of anything else that week,” Barten recalled.
The following summer, Barten attended the Badger football camp. “I went there for offense the first time and then defense the second. I got talking to Joe Rudolph, the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator there (Wisconsin), and I really felt like he is a guy I could see myself being around for the next five years. He is the main reason why I went to Wisconsin. He has been such a great person to be around,” Barten said.
The Badgers have told Barten they like his athleticism.
“They see my body and they see my height and frame, and how I can put on weight and maintain being athletic instead of just coming in there at 310 pounds and that’s pretty much what I can give you,” he said. “Of the linemen committed (to Wisconsin) I’m the second-lightest, but I’m not worried about that. You’ve seen what they do. They can put weight on anyone. Instead of me going in there heavy and then having to tear my body down and lose weight just to gain muscle, I’ll be able to put on muscle right away and maintain flexibility.”
As of right now, Barten says Wisconsin’s plan is to use him as a guard on the offensive line.
“You never know. I could be playing tackle, guard or center, or even defense,” Barten stated.
Barten plans to study elementary education at Wisconsin.