Class of 2006
Four-time All-New England wrestler Lance Baden was a champion at two different weight classes-as a sophomore in the 177-pound class, and as a senior at 184 pounds. In his junior year, he was second at 184, and fourth at 167 as a freshman.
The two-time captain drew national attention in January 1998 when he was ranked number one in the country at 184 pounds after pinning the previous top-ranked wrestler from the College of New Jersey in a meet at Harrington Auditorium.
"Lance was one of the most knowledgeable wrestlers to come through WPI in terms of knowing the most about his opponent and the upcoming match," says Hall of Fame coach Phil Grebinar. "He was among the most humble guys in the history of the program. On the outside, it seems that accomplishments were not important, but I know that on the inside, he had a drive to reach the highest goal possible."
Having won a state title as a high school junior, Lance started his WPI career strong by posting a 7-3 record with a pin as a freshman. The next year was his breakout year-he went 12-4 with nine pins as a sophomore, and followed that up by going 13-3 (10 pins) and 14-1 (three pins) as a junior and senior, respectively. He compiled a 46-11 overall career dual meet record for an .807 winning percentage.
A major part of the WPI record books, he's fourth in pins in one season (10), fifth in career pins (23), seventh in individual team points in a career (233), eighth in dual wins (46), eighth in pin percentage in one season (.625), and ninth in career pin percentage (.404). He's also third in consecutive pins in one season (5), and fourth in pins under one minute in a career (4).
"Lance is one of the most loyal wrestlers," says Grebinar, "not only to myself and the program, but also to his alma mater." He recently completed a six-year stint as an assistant coach-five under the tutelage of Grebinar and last season with Sean Nelligan.
Lance Baden didn't just succeed on the mat. He served as secretary for the Student Government Association and was a member of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity. Now working as a project manager at Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., he stays involved in wrestling by refereeing at the college and high school levels.