Sparta will travel only 15 miles this weekend to kick off the tournament season at the WIAA division two regionals in West Salem. Joining Sparta in West Salem will be Adams-Friendship, Mauston, Viroqua, West Salem/Bangor, Westfield Area and Wisconsin Dells. On the team side of things, only Sparta is receiving votes. The Spartans are currently ranked eighth in division two. Since dropping to division two at the start of the 2009-10 season, the Spartans have won their regional tournament both years by wide margins. The Spartans should again be the favorites heading into this weekend’s regional.
Sparta and Viroqua both enter the tournament with five ranked wrestlers. Adams-Friendship is next with three followed by West Salem/Bangor and Westfield Area with two apiece and Mauston with one. Wisconsin Dells is the only team in the regional without a ranked wrestler. Below are the ranked wrestlers for each team..
- Adams-Friendship — Travor McManus (106 pounds, ranked 6th), Nick Davis (138 pounds, ranked 7th) and Tyler Burrows (22o pounds, ranked 10th)
- Mauston — Spencer Davies (120 pounds, ranked 2nd)
- Sparta — Dylan Winchel (106 pounds, ranked 4th), Derek VonRuden (132 pounds, ranked 5th), Toby Mosley (152 pounds, honorable mention), Kyle Burkhalter (182 pounds, ranked 10th) and Chris Beeler (285 pounds, honorable mention)
- Viroqua — JJ McClelland (106 pounds, ranked 2nd), Ryan Vesbach (113 pounds, honorable mention), Josh McClelland (120 pounds, ranked 11th), Clay Fitzpatrick (160 pounds, honorable mention) and Trent Vesbach (220 pounds, ranked 3rd)
- West Salem/Bangor — Alex Peters (160 pounds, ranked 10th) and Alex Arentz (285 pounds, honorable mention)
- Westfield Area — Anthony Manning (113 pounds, honorable mention) and Ross Peters (195 pounds, honorable mention)
On paper, it looks like 106 pounds might be the toughest weight class in the tournament. That weight class features three wrestlers in the top six in division two. The 120 pound weight class also looks to be a competitive bracket. That doesn’t even include Sparta’s Brock Polhamus who defeated division one’s eighth ranked wrestler at 120 in Holmen’s Darius Wright.
As for matchups earlir this season between regional wrestlers and their Sparta counterparts, here is what we have…
- Dylan Winchel — Lost 11-0 to Viroqua’s JJ McClelland at the Lancaster Invite. This was a tough day for Dylan as two of his three losses on the year came in this tournament. Pinned Westfield Area’s Austin McCartney in 2:23 in the finals of the Sparta Invite.
- Brock Polhamus — Defeated Viroqua’s Josh McClelland 4-2 in overtime at the Lancaster Invite.
- Derek VonRuden — Lost 3-2 to Viroqua’s Erik Vesbach at the Lancaster Invite.
- Paul Vantassel — Defeated Viroqua’s Seth Volden 8-0 at Lancaster Invite.
- Bob Ragan — Lost 16-7 to Viroqua’s Clay Fitzpatrick at Lancaster Invite.
- Greg Skon — Defeated Westfield Area’s Cody Mantz 16-2 at the Sparta Invite.
- Dan Dawley – Was pinned by Westfield Area’s Ross Peters in 1:04 at the Sparta Invite.
- Mike Beeler — Defeated Westfield Area’s Dustin Perrigo 4-3 at the Sparta Invite.
And that’s it. The Spartans didn’t see many of their regional counterparts in tournaments this year, but in matches where they did, they went 5-4. In tournaments where regional teams and Sparta competed, the Spartans came out on top each time. At the Lancaster Invite, Sparta finished first with 326 points while Viroqua was 121 points back in 4th place. At the Sparta Invite, Sparta again finished first with 211.5 points to Westfield Area’s 88. Besides Viroqua, West Salem/Bangor will be competition for the team title and a trip to team sectionals Tuesday in Wisconsin Dells.