Sparta will have four wrestlers competing Saturday in Evansville for a trip to the state tournament next week in Madison. The top three placewinners at sectionals in divisions two and three advance to the state tournament and unlike division one, if you lose your first match, you aren’t done.
At 125 pounds, Derek VonRuden wrestles Lodi’s Getasew Shimshak in a rematch of their Tuesday night bout. In that contest, VonRuden defeated Shimshak 6-2. If VonRuden wins again, he will face the winner of Monroe’s Kevin Klopfenstein and River Valley’s Joe Crook. VonRuden defeated Crook in the 5th place bout at the Badger State Invite by a score of 9-2. At the Reedsburg Dual tournament, Klopfenstein defeated VonRuden 8-1.
On the other side of the 125-pound bracket is Viroqua’s Erik Vesbach (33-13), Clinton’s Jason Rosales (12-12), Cuba City/Southwestern’s Bob Donar and Marshall’s Devin Weber (42-8). Donar pinned VonRuden in 1:48 Tuesday night at team sectionals. VonRuden defeated Vesbach 1-0 in the regional finals this past Saturday.
What do we know? VonRuden has had trouble against Klopfenstein and Donar. He can beat Shimshak, Crook and Vesbach. Judging by the record, he could probably beat Rosales.
At 152 pounds, Morgan Leis wrestles Monroe’s Dylan Schwitz. The two did not meet at the Reedsburg Dual Tournament as Leis didn’t wrestle that day. This could be a great match and a critical one for Leis. Schwitz defeated Greg Skon in Reedsburg this year by pin in 1:01 and Nick Anderson last year by a 10-1 score.
Below the Leis-Schwitz match on the bracket is Marshall’s Thurston Schuster (45-4) and Prairie Du Chien’s Drew Achenbach (18-11). Schuster is currently ranked 4th in D2 by Wisconsin Wrestling Online and should win his opening round match against Achenbach.
On the other side of the bracket is West Salem/Bangor’s Alex Peters (33-11), Cuba City/Southwestern’s Tyler Bass (25-13), Brodhead-Juda’s Hunter Colden (38-2) and Jefferson’s Nate Thomas (36-7). Peters pinned Leis in the regional finals in 1:56, but I think Leis got caught and has a good chance of winning a rematch. Leis pounded Bass at team sectionals to the tune of a pin in 3:37. Despite Colden’s impressive record of 38-2, Wisconsin Wrestling Online only has him as an honorable mention, which is where Leis was the entire year before dropping out of the last rankings.
At 171 pounds, Kyle Burkhalter has the toughest opening round bout of any of the Spartans in Belmont/Platteville’s Dusty Jentz. Jentz is the second-ranked wrestler in D2 at 171 according to Wisconsin Wrestling Online. Last year, he was a state runner-up at 152 pounds.
The other match on Burkhalter’s side of the bracket features Edgarton’s Alex Beechler (24-12) and Jefferson’s Devin Wild (32-13). On the other side of the bracket is Adams-Friendship’s Dustin Kirsenlohr (37-4), Richland Center’s Jace Simonson (18-15), Lakeside Lutheran’s Mitch Huebner (23-13) and Turner’s Jake Jensen (24-15). Kirsenlohr pinned Burkhalter in the 171-pound regional finals last weekend in 1:31. Beyond Jentz and Kirsenlohr, this bracket could be up for grabs.
At 215 pounds, Sparta brings the top-ranked wrestler at 215 pounds in division two according to Wisconsin Wrestling Online in Tom Tourdot. In his opening match, Tourdot has Jefferson’s Max Adkins (37-7). The other match on Tourdot’s side of the bracket pits Edgerton’s Adam Carlson (35-6) and Richland Center’s Logan Schmidt. Tourdot defeated Schmidt 3-1 in the finals at the Badger State Invite.
On the other side of the bracket is Viroqua’s Trent Vesbach (31-10), Monroe’s Trevor Gorr (34-6), Belmont’s David Stoney (24-14) and Lake Mills’ Ryan Funk (29-2). Tourdot defeated Gorr 3-0 at the Reedsburg Dual Tournament and Vesbach 12-4 this past weekend at the regional tournament. I don’t have much on Funk besides him being a regional champion last weekend. Tourdot can beat anyone in this bracket and has shown he can beat the top competition in the state and the area. With the exception of Aquinas’ Lucas Shappell who is in division three, Tourdot has not lost to a Wisconsin wrestler this year and that loss to Shappell went to three overtimes.
Be sure to check Trackwrestling.com Saturday for updates on how the guys are progressing throughout the day. I’ll likely be in a canyon near Las Vegas. Make a note of that in case a boulder falls on my arm while I’m rock climbing. That way you can give people an idea of where I might be so I don’t have to cut my arm off after 127 hours.