Tonight’s team sectional duals will kick off at 6pm with Sparta wrestling Evansville/Albany and Lodi wrestling River Valley. The winners of each dual will then wrestle at 8pm or earlier if both teams agree. Wrestling will take place at Wisconsin Dells High School, which can be found at 520 Race Street in Wisconsin Dells.
Sparta and Lodi should be heavy favorites to meet again in this year’s team sectional final. Sparta should be favored in all but a few matches of their dual against Evansville/Albany while Lodi will be wrestling a River Valley team that sent only 10 wrestlers to regionals.
On paper, the Spartans should be favored in a majority of the matches, but like last year, the key will be to avoid bonus points. In last year’s dual, Sparta won eight matches to Lodi’s six, but Lodi earned bonus points in each of their wins against the Spartans while Sparta only picked up a pin and a major decision. That scenario must be avoided this year if the Spartans hope to end Lodi’s run of 10 straight trips to the state team tournament.
Key weights include 106, 120, 132, 152 and 285. The Spartans need to pick up bonus points at 106, 132 and 152 assuming the same wrestlers who wrestled at regionals assume the same weight classes at team sectionals. Word on the street is that Lodi’s 152-pounder from regionals has been disqualified for the rest of the season for biting an opponent. Like in the dual against Holmen where Sparta failed to pick up bonus points at key weights, Sparta must take advantage of the matches where they are overwhelming favorites.
Lodi is particularly strong in the upper weights with 170 through 195 racking up 105 combined victories this year. Last year, Lodi’s Jessie Ziegler and Michael Watters picked up huge pins for Lodi and this year, the Spartans need to avoid bonus points in the upper weights. Lodi will hope to start the dual in the lower weights or at 285 so as to finish with their big guys at 170, 182 or 195. Sparta should hope to start somewhere in the upper weights so they can finish with their lighter weights, which is the part of their lineup that matches up most favorably with Lodi.
There won’t be a live blog of tonight’s duals, but you will be able to follow the action on Trackwrestling.com. I’m not sure if they will update Trackwrestling after each match or just after the dual is done. If Sparta advances to the team sectional final, check back to Spartanwrestling.com between 8pm and 8:30pm and we will have match updates and additional details you can’t gather from Trackwrestling.
Lastly, GO SPARTANS!!!