In a match of state-ranked teams, division three sixth-ranked Fennimore controlled the lightweights and the heavyweights while division one 12th-ranked Sparta controlled everything in between. That was enough for the Eagles as they handed the Spartans a defeat in their first action of the season 35-26 at Fennimore.
The day started out on a good note with freshman Blake Brooks winning a hard fought 4-2 victory. Fennimore countered that with a major decision victory in their next match before their big three went to work.
At 120, Riley Blair defeated Jon Bailey 7-4. Blair placed third at state as a freshman at 106 and is currently ranked 2nd at 106 according to Wisconsin Wrestling Online. The match was close throughout, but Bailey was wrestling up a weight class and giving up that much weight to someone as talented as Blair is a tough thing to do. From 113 through 132, each Spartan was wrestling up one weight class.
After Blair’s decision over Bailey, Riley Lull defeated David Hayes 12-5 at 126. Lull placed third at state a year ago and is currently ranked 3rd at 113 pounds. After Lull’s match, Fennimore sent out defending state champion Alston Nutter to face Christian Lamon. Nutter came away with a third period pin in 5:15 to put Fennimore up 16-3.
Then Sparta started to claw back.
Brett VonRuden put a 13-5 major decision smackdown on Hunter Wardell. Wardell finished last season 37-15, but was no match for the sophomore VonRuden. Sparta’s own state champion countered with a first period pin in 1:36. Following Winchel’s pin was Hayden Krein at 152 with a 13-1 major decision victory over Justin Tollefson, who checked into the rankings at sixth at 126. Clearly that needs some updating. Trygve Zurfluh continued the Sparta’s winning streak with a 7-2 decision. At 170, James Gann would be the last Spartan to win a match with a pin in 1:36. That put Sparta up 26-16 with four matches to go.
Fennimore picked up major decisions at 182 and 195 and pins at 220 and 285 to dominate the upper weights and bring Fennimore from down 10 points with four matches to go to a nine-point victory.
For match-by-match results, see below…
106 – Blake Brooks defeats Thomas Kenney (Fennimore) 4-2
113 – Trevor Wanek (Fennimore) wins by major decision over Jakob Larson 12-2
120 – Riley Blair (Fennimore) defeats Jon Bailey 7-4
126 – Riley Lull (Fennimore) defeats David Hayes 12-5
132 – Alston Nutter (Fennimore) pinned Christian Lamon in 5:15
138 – Brett VonRuden won by major decision over Hunter Wardell (Fennimore) 13-5
145 – Jaden Winchel pinned Alex Cleven (Fennimore) in 1:36
152 – Hayden Krein won by major decision over Justin Tollefson (Fennimore) 13-1
160 – Trygve Zurfluh defeated Tyler Klaas (Fennimore) 7-2
170 – James Gann pinned Derek Handfelt (Fennimore) In 1:36
182 – Tavian Kaschub (Fennimore) won by major decision over Brady Hansen 13-4
195 – Louis Heberlein (Fennimore) won by major decision over Austin Zweifel 8-3
220 – Cody McCollough (Fennimore) pinned Loia Asaeli in 0:25
285 – Deven O’Brien (Fennimore) pinned Noah Benish in 0:15
Fennimore 35 – Sparta 26
Lots to take away from this match. A number of freshman made their Spartan debuts–Blake Brooks, Jon Bailey, Loia Asaeli and Noah Benish. Sparta hung in there with one of the top teams in the state. They will be stronger when they get Sam Forbes back at 120. James Gann picked up a critical and impressive pin at 170 and Sparta will need more of that from him to anchor the upperweights. While the matches for Zweifel and Benish didn’t go as well as they hoped, they wrestled tough guys and will continue to get better as the season goes on. That goes for everyone. It’s not easy wrestling your first match of the year against one of the top teams in the state, but I’m sure they wouldn’t have it any other way.
That was the first action of the year so Sparta’s dual record is 0-1. Things won’t get much easier in Sparta’s next match. Next up for the Spartans is the Ellsworth Invitational on Saturday. And big thanks to Melissa Bailey for setting up and running the livestream. We hoped you enjoyed being able to follow along.