Holmen knocks off Sparta 41-24 to capture MVC title

In front of a packed Spartan gym Thursday evening, the Holmen Vikings defeated Sparta 41-24 to capture the MVC title for the second season in a row.  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.

After Sparta jumped out to a 9-3 lead heading into the 160-pound match, Holmen rattled off six straight victories–three by pin and one by technical fall–to turn a 9-3 deficit into a 32-9 advantage before Vince Polhamus’ last second victory at 106 pounds made it 32-12 in favor of Holmen.  By that time, Sparta could not afford to lose another match and needed all pins and technical falls to catch Holmen.

Those hopes were dashed one match later as Rylee Rensberry slipped by Blake Brooks at 113 by a 2-1 score to secure the victory for the Vikings.  It was an incredibly close match between Rensberry and Brooks with both riding each other for the entire second and third periods.  The final seconds of their match were frenetic as Brooks was on the verge of a reversal, but couldn’t free his arm enough to satisfy the officials and get the reversal.

That match was preceded by another extremely one at 106 pounds.  Freshman Vince Polhamus and Holmen’s Alex Pellowski were locked in a 2-0 battle before Polhamus scored four points via reversal and two-point near fall in the final period.  Two of those points came in the final three seconds as Polhamus earned two near fall as time expired.

Full match results are below…

138  –  Tanner Schultz (Holmen) defeats David Hayes 8-1
145  –  Jaden Winchel pinned Zach Gordon (Holmen) in 0:33
152  –  Brett Von Ruden defeated Reed Williams (Holmen) 8-3
160  –  Kalyn Jahn (Holmen) pinned Mathias Krein in 1:24
170  –  Isaac Lahr (Holmen) won by technical fall over Matt Fahning 18-3
182  –  Noah Steinhoff (Holmen) defeated Cole Wisniewski 6-3
195  –  Jack Westcott (Holmen) defeated Austin Zwiefel 9-3
220  –  Brett Davis (Holmen) pinned Garet Pfaff in 1:45
285  –  Jesse Fiers (Holmen) pinned Gabe Dearman in 0:53
106  –  Vince Polhamus defeated Alex Pellowski (Holmen) 4-2
113  –  Rylee Rensberry (Holmen) defeated Blake Brooks 2-1
120  –  Trevor Plomedahl (Holmen) pinned Jakob Larson in 1:27
126  –  Jon Bailey pinned Logan West (Holmen) in 3:48
132  –  Kyle Erickson pinned Carson Eikenberry (Holmen) in 1:44

Going in, it was clear Holmen had some advantages in the upper weights.  Sparta needed to avoid bonus points as much as they could and hope to earn a victory at 170 or 182 depending on who Holmen sent out.  In the end, Holmen earned 20 points from 170 through 285, which put the imperative on Sparta’s lower weights to win and earn bonus points.  At 170, Isaac Lahr dominated on his feet with six takedowns in a match that should have been closer.  At 182 pounds, Cole Wisniewski battled to the end in a match that was closer than what the score indicated.  At 220 and 285, sophomore Pfaff and first-year wrestler Dearman ran into some very experienced and solid upper weights.

At 126 pounds, Jon Bailey moved up two weight classes to pick up a big pin for the Spartans while Kyle Erickson dispatched Carson Eikenberry at 126 pounds to close out the dual.

Sparta needed to be at full strength for this dual and they were not.  Even at full strength, Holmen presented some tough matchups up and down the lineup for the Spartans.  Not having Hayden Krein certainly hurt, but Holmen did their job and picked up bonus points and big victories when they needed them.

Sparta is now 8-1 on the season and finishes the year 5-1 in the MVC.  The JV will close out the season on Monday with the MVC JV tournament at Onalaska.  The varsity are off for eight days before returning for the WIAA Regionals at Holmen.  If they win the regional tournament, they would travel the following Tuesday for a team sectional dual against likely opponent Sauk Prairie.  The sectional tournament would follow four days later in Tomah.

I’ll be posting more photos of the varsity and JV this weekend.  Now is the time to heal up and prepare for tournament season.  While the Spartans did not capture the MVC title like they set out to do, there is a lot of important wrestling still head.  Thank- you to all the parents, fans and supporters of both Sparta and Holmen wrestling who packed the gym Thursday evening to support both these teams and high school wrestling.

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