Roddick, Zurfluh lead Spartans at state on day one

John Roddick and Tristan Zurfluh both won their opening round matches to lead Sparta on the first day of action at the Kohl Center.  Roddick won his opening round match 5-2 against Hunter Pawleski of Southern Door.  The win means Roddick will wrestle Friday morning in the quarterfinals against Patrick Breckheimer (41-10) 0f Chilton-Hilbert.  John opened up the match with a first period takedown and led 4-0 after two periods.  A cradle by Pawleski cut the score to 4-2 and it looked like the 120-pounder from Southern Door might cradle Roddick again, but John broke loose, earned an escape and won 5-2.

Zurfluh’s match was much more dramatic.  Tristan won 5-3 against Wrightstown’s Jake Schmidt.  A wild third period found Zurfluh down 3-2 after a takedown with 30 seconds to go by Schmidt.  The final 30 seconds were a furious finish by Zurfluh that included an escape, a near takedown by Schmidt and a takedown awarded in the final second to Zurfluh to secure the 5-3 victory.  With the win, Zurf will now wrestle Somerset’s Bobby Leroy (38-5).

Sparta’s 145-pounder, Michael Murnane, was looking for the same type of finish in his match against Kiel’s Jay Wallace.  It was a pretty even match when Wallace threw Murnane and went up 8-4 in the third period.  Murnane earned a point off a stalling call on Wallace then took him down right away to cut the score to 8-7.  With 30 seconds to go, Murnane let Wallace go to make the score 9-7 and nearly had a takedown in the final seconds, but Wallace was able to flip Murnane for a takedown and escape with the 11-7 victory.  A loss in the opening round of state does not translate into a wrestleback.  Murnane finishes his senior season with a record of 33-15.

At 195 pounds, Daniel Dawley faced off against Luxemburg-Casco’s Dan Dorner.  Dawley earned the first points of the match with a takedown to go up 2-0, but quickly surrendered and escape and a takedown in the closing seconds of the first period.  Dawley chose down in the second period and could not do anything against Dorner who titled Sparta’s 195-pounder twice for two two-point near falls.  Dorner chose top in the third period and controlled Dawley for another two minutes to secure a 10-2 victory.  Like Murnane, Dawley’s senior season came to a close tonight with a 32-10 record.

That leaves five Spartans in the quarterfinals.  Dylan Winchel, John Roddick, Brock Polhamus, Tristan Zurfluh and Kyle Burkhalter will all wrestle in the round starting at 11am tomorrow morning.

Winchel has Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Ben Vosters (44-5).  Roddick will wrestle Patrick Breckheimer (41-10) 0f Chilton-Hilbert.  Polhamus opens the tournament against Alex Maes of Wrightstown (36-9).  Zurfluh faces off against Somerset’s Bobby Leroy (38-5) and Burkhalter has Sturgeon Bay’s Lucas Stephenson (42-2).

Updates will be provided throughout the day on Sparta Wrestling’s Facebook page so check that out to see how Spartan wrestlers are doing before, during and after their matches.  Congrats to all the Spartans who competed today and a special thanks to Michael Murnane and Daniel Dawley for being fine representatives of the Sparta wrestling program. The team, fans and program thank you for everything you’ve done.

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