Sectional Preview

Ten Spartan wrestlers will head to Richland Center this weekend to compete for a spot in this year’s state tournament. There is a chance that Derek VonRuden could join this group as Mauston’s Justin Dolata may not be able to compete due to an injury, but we may not know Dolata’s status until Saturday morning. So, in the chance that Dolata can’t go, we’ll include DVR in the preview below.  Let’s get to it.

  • 106  —  Dylan Winchel  —  42-4, ranked 10th  —  This is a tough weight bracket.  Winchel’s nemesis, Viroqua’s Justin McClelland , is the top seed with a 41-4 record. Other wrestlers to watch out for include Prairie Du Chien’s Taylor Elliott (33-5) and Edgerton’s Sonny Schieldt (30-4).  In all, this weight class boasts three ranked wrestlers in Winchel (10th), Elliott (5th) and McClelland (3rd).Winchel’s opening match is against Edgerton’s Sonny Schieldt, who won his regional without much competition. An opening round forfeit, a 24 second pin in the semifinals and a 7-3 victory in the finals made for a pretty easy day for Schieldt.  If Winchel wins, he will likely face Lodi’s Jason Clapper in the semifinals.  Winchel pounded Clapper 7-1 on Tuesday.
  • 113  —  John Roddick  —  37-10, ranked 12th  —  John Roddick found himself on the good side of the 113-pound bracket. Roddick has the best record of anybody on his half, while Lodi’s John Joutras (38-3, ranked 4th) and Cuba City’s JJ Donar (37-5, ranked 5th) are likely to square off in the semis on the bottom half of the bracket.  The top four guys to watch for in this bracket include Roddick, Joutras, Viroqua’s Ryan Vesbach (honorable mention) and Donar.In John’s opening match, he faces off with Portage’s Mitchell Golke (11-18).  If Roddick wins, he’ll face either Prairie Du Chien’s Derek Dressler (23-14) or Evansville/Albany’s Brandon Robinson (22-9, honorable mention).  Roddick tech falled Robinson on Tuesday to the tune of 18-2.  Roddick also pinned Vesbach in 3:15 earlier this year.
  • 120  —  Brock Polhamus  —  33-11, honorable mention  —  Polhamus has a tough opening match against Belmont/Platteville’s Adam Niehaus (34-7).  If Polhamus can win his opening match, he has a decent chance of advancing to the finals.  If you go by records, Polhamus’ toughest match on his side of the bracket will come in his first match.  The next match would pit Turner’s Max Andres (30-11) against Lodi’s Grant Robertson (28-11) and Polhamus beat Robertson 9-2 on Tuesday.  The bracket’s top ranked guys are on the top half of the bracket away from Polhamus.  Leading the way at 120 is Mauston’s Spencer Davis (30-2, ranked 2nd) and Marshall’s Josh Murray (43-5, ranked 10th).
  • 126  —  Tristan Zurfluh  —  31-15  —  Zurfluh opens up sectionals with a familiar opponent. For the second time in five days, Zurfluh will wrestle Evansville/Albany’s Alex Lange (31-6). At team sectionals on Tuesday, Zurfluh defeated Lange 3-2.  If Zurfluh gets past Lang, he will most likely be wrestling the 13th-ranked wrestler in the nation in Marshall’s Hunter Weber (50-0, ranked 1st). I think the key for Zurfluh earning a trip to the state tournament will be to win that opening dual. After Weber, the bracket is wide open.  River Valley’s Austyn Alt (33-4, ranked 5th) is the only other highly ranked wrestler in the section.  Weber is a machine and his record shows it.  However, after Weber, it’s anyone’s guess to who will be earning the next two spots in the state tournament.
  • 132  —  Derek VonRuden  —  41-7  —  While VonRuden finished third at last weekend’s regionals and did not advance, there is a chance he may wrestle at sectionals Saturday if Mauston’s Justin Dolata cannot compete due to an injury.  Dolata’s status might not be known until Saturday morning so we are going to do a preview of the 132-pound weight class in the event Dolata can’t go and DVR takes his place.If DVR takes Dolata’s place in the bracket, he’d be wrestling Marshall’s Devin Weber (45-7, ranked 8th) in his first match. DVR’s side of the bracket is definitely the toughest of the bracket.  Also on DVR’s side is River Valley’s Nick Lechnir (32-8, ranked 9th).  The current rankings deal only with sectional qualifiers so that is why DVR is not currently ranked, but entering regionals he was in the same grouping as Weber and Lechnir.  On the top side of the bracket is Viroqua’s Erik Vesbach (33-6) and Monroe’s Kevin Klopfenstein (34-10).  DVR defeated Klopfenstein 3-1 in a dual at Reedsburg, but lost 3-2 to Vesbach at the Lancaster Invite.  This looks to be one of the tougher brackets in the section.
  • 145  —  Michael Murnane  —  35-13, honorable mention  —  With the exception of River Valley’s Seth Liegel (38-0, ranked 1st) and Marshall’s Cole Hansen (47-3, ranked 4th), everyone in this bracket has about 6-11 losses.  So after these two guys, things are wide open.  Murnane wrestles Brodhead/Juda’s Brady Colden (31-11) in his opening match and will likely wrestle Liegel in the semifinals.  On the bottom half of the bracket is West Salem/Bangor’s Scott Craig (32-14) and Murnane already beat Craig at regionals 9-3.  Other wrestlers to watch for include Clinton’s Tim Clothier (34-6, honorable mention).
  • 152  —  Toby Mosley  —  41-7, ranked 12th  —  Mosley opens up sectionals with a match against Portage’s Alex Peterson (24-12). Mosley should beat Peterson and then would either wrestle Clinton’s Nate McConnell (32-7) or River Valley’s Brandon Hogan (30-8).  If you go by records, Mosley should be one of the favorites to take this section.  He should be favored in any match in his half of the bracket.  On the other side of the bracket is Lakeland’s Conor Fussner (33-6), Wisconsin Dells’ Jake Shirley (26-16), Cuba City’s Scott Digman (32-4) and Belmont/Monticello/New Glarus’ Brooks Hendrickson (26-12).  Only Digman (ranked 7th) enters sectionals with a higher ranking than Mosley.
  • 160  —  Bob Ragan  —  21-22  —  Bob Ragan opens up his sectional tournament against River Valley’s Garrett Riek (28-9).  Ragan has been on a hot streak of late and found himself on the favorable side of the bracket.  He’s away from West Salem/Bangor’s Alex Peters (34-6, ranked 12th) and Marshall’s Thurston Schuster (49-1, ranked 4th).  If he wins his opening match, Ragan will face the winner of Lodi’s Jordan Worthing (28-12) and Brodhead/Juda’s Kramer Lewis (34-6).  On Tuesday, Ragan pinned Worthing in 3:30 in one of Sparta’s biggest victories of the night.
  • 182  —  Kyle Burkhalter  —  33-13  —  Kyle Burkhalter will enter Saturday’s sectional trying to earn another state tournament appearance.  Burkhalter made it in last year by finishing third.  This year finds Burkhalter on the favorable side of the bracket.  His opening match is against Marshall’s Gavan Langer (28-19).  If Burkhalter wins his first match, he’ll likely face Evansville/Albany’s Alex Yoerger who pinned Burkhalter in 1:58 on Tuesday.  Don’t be misled by Yoerger’s quick pin of Burkhalter.  Kyle was winning when Yoerger caught Burkhalter in a spladle and pinned him.  If these two meet, it’s a match that Burkhalter can definitely win.  On the other side of the bracket are Lodi’s Jessie Ziegler (36-1, ranked 7th), Wisconsin Dells’ Billy Percival (18-19), Belmont/Platteville’s Dusty Jentz (34-1, ranked 2nd) and Monroe’s Dusty Burkhalter (29-14).  Ziegler defeated Burkhalter 19-6 on Tuesday while Jentz is one of the top wrestlers at 182 in all of Wisconsin wrestling.
  • 195  —  Dan Dawley  —  22-16  —  Dan Dawley enters this weekend’s section tournament as a regional champion, which if you read the La Crosse Tribune article that talked about Dawley’s improbable win, is a surprise to him, but don’t tell him that.  Dawley is a man on a mission and wrestled exceptionally in West Salem, pinned the top two seeds in his weight class, and won his first tournament of the year in the process.  It doesn’t get any easier Saturday.  In his first match, Dawley wrestles Richland Center’s Jace Simonson (31-11).  If Dawley wins that match, he’ll likely face Lodi’s Michael Watters (38-3, ranked 7th).  Dawley lost to Watters 17-4 on Tuesday.  On the other end of the bracket is River Valley’s Zach Koch (22-16), Dan Dawley victim Tom Luethe (West Salem/Bangor, 35-10), Edgerton’s Adam Carlson (24-4, ranked 6th) and Portage’s Josh Kowalk (11-16).
  • 285  —  Chris Beeler  —  27-9  —  Chris Beeler might have the toughest opening round match of any Spartan at sectionals.  In his first match, he draws Lakeside Lutheran’s Ben Ewings (42-1, ranked 3rd).  Also on Beeler’s side of the bracket is Richland Center’s Logan Schmidt (35-2, ranked 8th).  The top half of Beeler’s bracket will likely go to West Salem/Bangor’s Alex Arentz (42-6, honorable mention) or Brodhead/Juda’s Logan Maurer (31-9, honorable mention).  If Beeler can get by Ewings, he’ll likely wrestle Schmidt.  In the finals of the Lancaster Invite earlier this year, Schmidt defeated Beeler 4-1.

And there you have it.  Sparta has qualified wrestlers for the state tournament every year since 2002.  Last year, Derek VonRuden and Kyle Burkhalter were Sparta’s representatives.  The last time the team qualified for the team state tournament?  That was in 2004 and they qualified four wrestlers with two, Kody Seekamp and Remi Michael, ending up on the podium.  Let’s hope for another year with at least that many qualifiers.

We’ll have updates throughout the day on Saturday.  Best of luck to all the Spartans wrestling Saturday, safe travels to all the parents, coaches and fans traveling to Richland Center and GO SPARTANS!!!

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