2016-17 Season Recap

Stats and Documents…

Individual accomplishments…

  • Jaden Winchel became Sparta’s all-time pins leader finishing his career with 100 pins.
  • Winchel also finished second in career wins with 167, which is only five short of the program record held by John Roddick.  Additionally, Winchel finished second in career takedowns with 387, which is just four short of Jeff Dolan’s program record of 391.
  • Hayden Krein passed the 100 career wins mark and sits at 118 entering his senior year.  He needs 55 wins his senior year to pass John Roddick for the program record.
  • Vince Polhamus (106), Jon Bailey (126), Brett Von Ruden (152) and Hayden Krein (160) all earned 1st Team All-MVC honors
  • Blake Brooks (113), Jaden Winchel** (145), Matt Fahning (170) and Austin Zwiefel (195) all earned 2nd Team All-MVC honors.
  • Kyle Erickson (132) and David Hayes (138) were MVC honorable mentions.
  • Kyle Erickson was named the 2016-17 MVC Sportsmanship Award Winner for Sparta

**Senior Jaden Winchel finished his high school career 23-0 with 15 pins in MVC action yet was only a three-time 1st team award winner.  He was 1st Team All-MVC his first three years and finished second as a senior.  Central’s Jaden Van Maanen earned the 145-pound 1st team honor this season despite wrestling five of six matches at 152 pounds.  His one other match was at 145.  Likewise, Winchel wrestled every match at 145 except for one at 152 pounds.  Conference bylaws dictate that a wrestler need only wrestle one match at one weight class to earn consideration at that weight class.  Always tough to see a guy go 23-0 over four years without much competition and not earn all-conference all four years, but the rules are the rules.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Team accomplishments…

  • Only dual loss was to Holmen who advanced to the division one state team semifinals
  • Defeated Fennimore who went on to finish second at the division three state team tournament
  • Top division one team at Bi-State and finished 3rd overall behind only the division two and three state team champs.
  • The Spartans came home with three tournament championship trophies:  Bi-State (Division One), Lancaster Invitational and Sparta Invitational.  Sparta was second at the Ellsworth Invitational, Battle on the Bay, Brookfield Central Scramble and the WIAA Regional in Holmen.

Sparta 46 – Fennimore 21
Season Record 1-0, 0-0 MVC
The Spartans opened up the season by trouncing defending division three state team champion Fennimore.  It was a lopsided dual with the Spartans winning 10 of 14 matches.  At one point, Fennimore lead 21-14, but Sparta won seven consecutive matches–three by pin and two by major decision–to turn the match in favor of the Spartans.  State finalists Hayden Krein (D1, 152-pound champion) and Justin Tollefson (D3, 138-pound runner-up) met at 160 pounds with Krein dominating in a 12-0 victory.

Ellsworth Invitational  –  2nd Place
In Sparta’s first tournament action of the season, they traveled to the Ellsworth Invitational where D2 top-ranked Ellsworth awaited as hosts.  The Panthers lived up to their ranking winning their own tournament with 255.5 points.  Sparta finished second with 182.5 points.  Jaden Winchel was Sparta’s lone champion at 145 pounds winning his first two matches via first period pin and finishing it up with a 13-2 major decision in the finals.

At 120 pounds, Ellsworth’s Sawyer Hamilton defeated Jon Bailey 2-0 in the championship match while Spring Valley/Elmwood’s Cruze Hurlburt defeated Brett Von Ruden 8-1 in the finals at 152 pounds.  At 160 pounds, Hayden Krein suffered his only loss of the first half of the 2016-17 season to Ellsworth’s Anders Lantz via 6-5 decision.  In Sparta’s only other finals appearance, Austin Zwiefel fell via 5-3 decision to Prescott’s Ty Sanford in the 195-pound championship match.  Blake Brooks, Kyle Erickson and Matt Fahning all took third place.  David Hayes finished fourth.

Battle on the Bay  –  2nd Place
In Sparta’s first tournament of the year, they battled the top-ranked division two team in Ellsworth.  At the bigger Battle on the Bay, the second ranked division two team in Luxemburg-Casco awaited and they were just as tough.  Out of 24 teams, the Spartans finished second and saw Jaden Winchel and Hayden Krein both go 5-0 on the day to finish first.  Jon Bailey was second, Blake Brooks 4th and Brett Von Ruden 5th.  Krein won an absolutely loaded 160-pound bracket featuring multiple state champions and state placewinners.  Luxemburg-Casco won the team championship with 505.5 points followed by Sparta with 400.5, Oconto Falls with 388.5, Freedom with 377.5 and Pewaukee with 350.

“In a field full of tough competition, our boys wrestled a great tournament. A large focus for the season is to not overlook anyone, to take the season match by match. I believe this was shown Saturday. We had a couple champions, but we also had guys that bounced back after one or two losses to help contribute to our team score,” Spartan head coach Jared Rickert said about his team’s performance at the tournament.  “As I say to the boys, this is now a past event, we will learn from our mistakes, but our focus is now on Aquinas.”

Sparta 67  –  Aquinas 6
Season Record: 2-0, 1-0 MVC
Sparta improved to 23-4 all-time against Aquinas with a 67-6 decision over the Blugolds to open up the conference season at Aquinas.  Sparta won 12 of 14 matches including six by forfeit and four by pin.  Winning by forfeit for the Spartans was Austin Zweifel, Blake Brooks, Jakob Larson, Jon Bailey, Jaden Winchel and James Gann.  Winning by pin for the Spartans were Kyle Erickson, Brett Von Ruden, Hayden Krein and Matt Fahning.  The Spartans improved to 2-0 on the year and 1-0 in the MVC with this victory.

Badger State
Sparta was scheduled to travel to Madison for the Badger State Invite, but a winter storm forced Sparta to stay home and miss what would have been a very tough tournament featuring over 100 ranked wrestlers and some of the top teams in the state.  Sparta filled this missed tournament by scheduling a tri-dual with La Crescent and Caledonia in January.

Sparta 63  –  La Crosse Logan 9
Season Record: 3-0, 2-0 MVC
Sparta won 12 of 14 matches to defeat La Crosse Logan for the 10th straight time.  Winning 63-9, it was the third straight year the Spartans put up 60 or more points against the Rangers.  Seven Spartans prevailed by pin, two more by forfeit and the rest by decision.  Picking up pins for the Spartans were Kyle Erickson, Jaden Winchel, Mathias Krein, Hayden Krein, Austin Zweifel, Blake Brooks and Jakob Larson.  Jon Bailey and Jack Ruedy won by forfeit while David Hayes, Brett Von Ruden and Matt Fahning all picked up decisions.

Bi-State Classic  –  1st Place D1, 3rd Place Overall
The Spartan wrestling team finished 2016 by finishing third overall and first in division one at the 2016 Bi-State Classic.  The Spartans finished 21.5 points ahead of Luxemburg-Casco, which topped the Spartans by more than 100 points just a few weeks earlier at the Battle on the Bay.  Leading the way for the Spartans were Jon Bailey taking home his second Bi-State title in two years and Hayden Krein who captured his first.

Division three top-ranked Stratford won the team title with 367.5 points while division two top-ranked Ellsworth came in second with 343 points.  Sparta was third with 246 points followed by Luxemburg-Casco with 224.5, River Valley fourth with 219 and Hudson fifth with 217.

The first place finish in division one was a first for the Spartans having previously finished third in the early 1990s when Troy Lietzau and Brian Brooks both took home titles in the same year.  It had been over 20 years since Sparta left the Bi-State Classic with multiple champions, but Jon Bailey and Hayden Krein changed that at the 2016 Bi-State Classic.

Both Bailey and Krein went 6-0 at the tournament.  Bailey won his semifinal match 5-4 over Ellsworth’s Matthew Peterson and his finals match 4-3 over Stratford’s Max Schwabe.  Krein exacted some revenge on his way to the 160-pound championship with a 3-2 decision over Ellsworth’s Anders Lantz in the semifinals.  Lantz gave Krein his first loss on the season earlier in the year at the Ellsworth Invitational.  Holmen’s Kaylyn Jahn was waiting in the finals, but Krein controlled the entire match to capture his first Bi-State championship with a 5-0 victory.

Other top finishers for the Spartans included Blake Brooks finishing 8th at 106 pounds, Brett Von Ruden 6th at 152 pounds and Austin Zwiefel 11th at 195 pounds.

Sparta 42 – Tomah 21
Season Record: 4-0, 3-0 MVC
Sparta started fast against the Timberwolves by jumping out to a 19-0 lead and never looking back en route to a 42-21 victory in Tomah.  On the night, Sparta won nine matches to Tomah’s five.  Two of Sparta’s losses came in overtime.  Junior Hayden Krein picked up his 100th career victory in the win.

Sparta won a number of key matches–perhaps none bigger than Matt Fahning at 170 and James Gann at 182.  The duo combined for a decision and pin to give Sparta nine team points in matches that on paper could have gone either way.  Winning for Sparta was Krein, Fahning, Gann, Austin Zwiefel, Vince Polhamus, Blake Brooks, Jon Bailey, Jaden Winchel and Brett Von Ruden.  Bailey, wrestling two weights up, won his match 13-0.

With the victory, Sparta improved to 4-0 on the year and 2-0 in the MVC.

“Brooks, Larson and Bailey are great assets to have in the lower weights.  The size and ability of all three give me flexibility to move them around,” head coach Jared Rickert said.  “I thought we had better match ups with putting Vince Polhamus in at 106 and moving those three up.  All accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion.  Very impressed with the way those guys wrestled.”

Lancaster Invitational  –  1st Place
After finishing in the top three at every tournament and second place twice, the Spartans captured their first outright tournament championship with a dominating performance.  Sparta finished with 201.5 points, which was 49 points better than second place and D2 7th-ranked Iowa-Grant/Highland.

Leading the way for the Spartans were champions Jaden Winchel, Hayden Krein and Austin Zwiefel.  Also advancing to the championship matches, but finishing second were Jakob Larson, Jon Bailey, Cole Clark and Brett Von Ruden.  All in all, half the weight classes featured Spartans in the finals.

Winchel was particularly dominant as he wrestled a total of two minutes and 50 seconds in his three matches. His longest match was his first of the day that ended via pin in 1:48.  That was followed by a 34-second pin of Cashton’s Ty Costello.  In the finals, Winchel pinned Brodhead’s Kaleb Erb in 28 seconds.

Lancer Invitational  –  1st Place
Wrestling with only twelve wrestlers at the Lancer Invitational, Sparta sent six wrestlers to the finals with David Hayes, Jaden Wichel and Hayden Krein emerging as champions.  Sparta finished second overall with 359 points, which was short of team champion Oak Creek’s 384.  Also advancing to the finals and finishing second were Blake Brooks, Brett Von Ruden and Matt Fahning.  Coming in third for the Spartans was Jakob Larson, Jon Bailey, James Gann and Austin Zwiefel.

David Hayes won the 138-pound bracket going 5-0 with two pins and pinning a kid in the finals that had defeated him 9-1 earlier in the year at the Battle on the Bay.  It was Hayes’ first individual title of the season as he improved to 14-7 on the year.  Winchel made mince meat of the 145-pound bracket with three first period pins and a 15-0 technical fall victory in the finals.  Krein was just as dominant at 160 with two pins, a technical fall and a major decision.  His pins came in 2:40 and 1:10 followed by a 16-0 technical fall in the semis.  His finals match was a 10-2 major decision victory over 8th ranked Frank Garcia of Kenosha Tremper.

Sparta 60 – La Crosse Central 17
Season Record: 5-0, 4-0 MVC
Sparta won 10 of 14 matches including six by pin and four by forfeit to rout the Red Raiders 60-17 in Sparta.  It was Sparta’s 12th straight victory in the series.  Sparta’s Kyle Erickson and Central’s Jacob Obert had a back-and-forth match that ended up falling Central’s way as Obert came away with a 7-6 victory that was in doubt until the final seconds.

Picking up pins for the Spartans were Jon Bailey, Hayden Krein, Matt Fahning, Austin Zwiefel, Vince Polhamus and Blake Brooks.  Winning by forfeit were David Hayes, Jaden Winchel, Gabe Dearman and Jakob Larson.

Sparta Invitational  –  1st Place

Sparta and Marshfield were tied with only two matches to go, but Sparta picked up points in both their remaining placement matches to edge Marshfield by seven points and win their own invitational for just the 12th time in 44 years.  Reedsburg finished third and Holmen 8th.

Joining Winchel in the finals, but finishing second were Blake Brooks and Jon Bailey.  Other top finishers for the Spartans included Jakob Larson in 5th, Kyle Erickson in 3rd, David Hayes in 5th, Brett Von Ruden in 3rd, Mathias Krein in 6th, Matt Fahning in 7th and Austin Zwiefel in 3rd.

Sparta 39 – Caledonia-Houston 31

Sparta 59 – La Crescent 13
Season Record 7-0, 4-0 MVC

Sparta improved to 7-0 on the year with a victory over La Crescent and another win over a quality Caledonia team.  The Spartans had never met Caledonia in a dual and were 0-3 all-time against La Crescent.  That all changed with Sparta’s 39-31 victory over Minnesota Class A honorable mention Caledonia and a 59-13 victory over La Crescent.

The dual with Caledonia was probably closer than what it should have been as Brett Von Ruden was disqualified after a questionable slam in a match the Spartans were likely to win.  That was at least a nine-point swing.

Vince Polhamus, Jon Bailey, Jaden Winchel, Mathias Krein, Matt Fahning, Austin Zwiefel and Garet Pfaff all won both their matches on the night.

Sparta 62 – Onalaska 15
Season Record 8-0, 5-0 MVC

It was business as usual for Sparta against Onalaska as the Spartans improved to 31-0 all-time against the Hilltoppers with a 62-15 victory in Onalaska.  The timing of this dual was not ideal as it fell the same week as their dual with Holmen, but after being canceled twice before because of inclement weather, this Monday night dual was about the only option for Sparta.

Still, Sparta would win 11 of 14 matches–two by forfeit, seven by pin, one by technical fall–to remain undefeated in MVC action heading into the season’s final dual with Holmen that would decide the MVC championship.

Sparta 24 – Holmen 41
Season Record 8-1, 5-1 MVC

Sparta held the briefest of leads at 9-3 before Holmen won six consecutive matches to go up 32-9 and put the dual out of reach.  Jaden Winchel, Brett Von Ruden, Vince Polhamus, Jon Bailey and Kyle Erickson all won matches for the Spartans.  The Spartans were without defending state champion Hayden Krein as he recovered from an injury.  As they often do, Holmen presented a number of problematic matchups for the Spartans.  The Vikings were consistently stronger from top to bottom and that was the difference.

For the 12th time in the 27-year history of the MVC, Sparta and Holmen will finish as either the first or second place team in conference and 2016-17 will make the 12th time the Spartans have finished as runner-ups.

WIAA Regional at Holmen  –  2nd Place

Led by champions Jon Bailey and Hayden Krein, the Spartans sent eight wrestlers to sectionals.  Joining Bailey and Krein in Tomah will be Blake Brooks (3rd), Kyle Erickson (3rd), David Hayes (2nd), Jaden Winchel (2nd), Brett Von Ruden (2nd) and Matt Fahning (3rd).

Holmen won the regional tournament to advance to team sectionals where they narrowly defeated Sauk Prairie for a trip to the state team tournament.  It was the third tournament that Sparta and Holmen competed in together this year and the first time that Holmen’s full team competed and in a smaller tournament, that made all the difference for a Holmen team that was simply deeper than Sparta.  Holmen finished with 234.5 points to Sparta’s 180 points.

Winchel fell for just the second time this season with both losses coming at the hands of Central’s Jaden Van Maanen.

WIAA Sectional at Tomah  –  Four State Qualifiers

Jon Bailey, Jaden Winchel, Brett Von Ruden and Hayden Krein all qualified for the 2017 state tournament.  The four have combined for 12 state tournament appearances making this among the most experienced contingent of Spartan state qualifiers in the program’s history.  Jon Bailey and Hayden Krein led the way with individual championships while Jaden Winchel and Brett Von Ruden both finished as runner-ups.

Jon Bailey was dominant at 113 pounds with a first-match pin in 28 seconds, a 15-0 technical fall in the semis and a 7-0 victory over Sauk Prairie’s Dylan Herbrand (39-7) in the finals.  This will be Bailey’s second state tournament appearance.

At 145 pounds, Jaden Winchel advanced to the finals before falling to La Crosse Central’s Jaden Van Maanen 18-6.  It was the third meeting between Winchel (38-3) and Van Maanen this year and all of Winchel’s losses on the year have come at the hands of Van Maanen.  Winchel won his wrestleback 9-1 to secure his fourth state tournament appearance.

At 152 pounds, Brett Von Ruden was prepared to send you over the edge if you have heart issues.  His day opened easily enough with a 9-0 victory in the opening match before he embarked on three matches that all came down to the final seconds.  In the semifinals, Von Ruden fell 6-4 in sudden victory to eventual sectional champion Nate Lorenz (42-2) of Waunakee.  Von Ruden won his wrestleback over Tomah’s Casey Curran 6-5 by scoring three points in the final 30 seconds to avenge a regional loss to the Tomah senior.  In the second place match, Von Ruden won 3-1 in overtime to advance to state.  This will be Von Ruden’s third state tournament appearance.

At 160 pounds, Hayden Krein advanced to state for the third time with three pins in three matches.  All three of his pins were in the first period.  He pinned Holmen’s Kalyn Jahn in 1:57 to win their third meeting of the year.  Krein had previously defeated Jahn by decision in the finals at Bi-State and in the finals at Regionals one week ago.

WIAA State Tournament
Day 1 Recap
Day 2 Recap
Day 3 Recap

Jon Bailey and Hayden Krein both finished on the podium with third place finishes.  Jaden Winchel was one victory short of placing while Brett Von Ruden was on the verge of his first state tournament victory in three appearances, but fell just short.

Bailey lost an overtime match to eventual state runner-up Brady Koontz of Stevens Point.  Bailey would go on to win his next four matches to place third.  His third place match was a rematch of the 2016 106-pound semifinal that he lost to Arrowhead’s Dominic Dentino in overtime.  This year it was Bailey coming away with an overtime victory over Dentino to finish third.

Krein advanced to the 152-pound semifinals before falling to Stoughton’s Tyler Dow in a rematch of the 2015 152-pound state championship match.  Krein would rebound with two straight victories to finish third.  His consolation semifinal was against Holmen’s Kalyn Jahn, which was the fourth meeting of the season between these two.  Krein won all four matches against Jahn this season.

Jaden Winchel finished the tournament 2-2 with a major decision victory in his first match, a loss to Stoughton’s Garrett Model in the quarterfinals, a 7-2 victory in the first consolation wrestleback and a last-second 2-1 loss in the second consolation round.  Winchel finished the season 40-5 with three losses coming at the hands of Central’s Jaden Van Maanen.

At 152 pounds, Brett Von Ruden fell in the opening match 8-3 and was dominating Slinger’s Adam Beine (52-4) in his wrestleback until Beine caught Von Ruden and pinned him late in the third period.


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