Sparta put together some of their best wrestling of the year and found contributions across the board as they ended a two-year team state absence with convincing wins over second-ranked Evansville/Albany and honorable mention Lodi. The win over the second-ranked Evansville/Albany team represents the highest ranked team the Spartans have ever beat.
In both duals, the Spartans battled back from early forfeits. Against Evansville/Albany, the Spartans did not take the lead until the seventh match, but once they had the lead, they never looked back. Sparta’s surge started one match earlier when senior John Roddick won by major decision over the 7th ranked wrestler in D2 at 126 in Chase Katzenmeyer. The dominant 9-1 victory was the start of six straight wins the put the match out of reach. Sparta earned 31 points in those six matches that turned a 16-9 deficit into a 42-16 advantage. There were some big wins during those six matches. Roddick defeated the seventh-ranked wrestler, Winchel defeated the 9th-ranked wrestler and Brett VonRuden won by injury default over the 5th-ranked wrestler. VonRuden’s match seemed like a turning point for the Spartans, but it wasn’t the difference. After Meyer’s slam of VonRuden, the Spartan freshman couldn’t continue and the Spartans saw them on the positive side of a match that Evansville/Albany probably thought they were going to win. Even if they had won it, they still would have needed at least one other match to go their way.
The loss of Brett VonRuden made the dual with Lodi closer than some may have expected. Again, the Spartans had to battle back from an early deficit. After four matches, Sparta was down 15-6 and it wasn’t until seven matches in at 138 pounds that the Spartans finally took the lead on the back of a 41-second pin by Jaden Winchel. After that, the Spartans won four of the final seven matches to close out the Blue Devils. It wasn’t easy though. Lodi pulled to within 30-22 with matches that could go either way on paper, but Logan VanTassel and Walker Polhamus both came up with big wins to put the dual away. Spartan fans should be familiar with very emotional matches against Lodi. In 2009-10, the Spartans lost 31-25 for a chance to go to team state. One year later, they lost 34-28 in another agonizingly close dual. The Spartans broke through on their third try during the 2011-12 season with a 41-14 victory. This dual was closer to the first two times Sparta wrestled Lodi, but this time the Spartans were just too deep against a younger Lodi team.
After tonight’s two duals, three Spartan wrestlers now have 40 or more wins. Jaden Winchel leads the team at 42-0 followed by Brock Polhamus at 41-3 and John Roddick at 40-4. Roddick becomes the only Spartan wrestler to ever win 40 or more matches all four years.
The two wins push Sparta’s dual meet record to 13-6 on the year. Sparta will now have a few days off before heading to Richland Center for sectionals. That’s followed five days later by the individual state tournament at the Kohl Center. After that, the Spartans will compete at team state on Saturday, March 7th. This team has been nothing but resilient all year. Many teams would crumble after an 0-5 performance like the Spartans put on at the Chula Vista Duals back in December, but this team has only gotten stronger and a lot of that is owed to the job that the coaching staff has done. Big congrats to Mike Roddick and all the assistants on preparing this team to wrestle at their best tonight.
Congrats Spartans on a great team sectional performance!!
Sparta 43 – Evansville/Albany 26
220 – Dustin Bjugstad (Evansville/Albany) wins by forfeit
285 – Ryan Meehan (Evansville/Albany) pins Keyshawn Stewart in 0:45
106 – Corey Zimmerman pins Taylor Milz (Evansville/Albany) in 2:35
113 – David Hayes defeats Ben Barmore (Evansville/Albany) 6-0
120 – Brandon Robinson (Evansville/Albany) defeats Christian Lamon 10-6
126 – John Roddick wins by major decision over Chase Katzenmeyer (Evansville/Albany) 9-1
132 – Jaden Winchel defeats Nolan Kicmol (Evansville/Albany) 5-0
138 – Brett VonRuden wins by injury default against Jordan Meyer (Evansville/Albany)
145 – Brock Polhamus pins Zac Wille (Evansville/Albany) in 1:21
152 – Hayden Krein pins Miles Liesse (Evansville/Albany) in 0:58
160 – Ryan Wisniewski pins Tyler Schmidt (Evansville/Albany) in 4:45
170 – Tyler Grant (Evansville/Albany) wins by technical fall against Austin Zweifel 16-1
182 – Logan VanTassel defeats Jake Carpenter (Evansville/Albany) 5-2
195 – Lucius Rinehart (Evansville/Albany) pinned Walker Polhamus in 2:32
Sparta 37 – Lodi 28
285 – Skler Kurt (Lodi) wins by forfeit
106 – Corey Zimmerman pins Devin Robertson (Lodi) in 1:07
113 – Bryant Ziegler (Lodi) defeats David Hayes 7-1
120 – Jacob Busser (Lodi) pins Sam Forbes in 0:20
126 – Christian Lamon wins by major decision against Branden Errthum (Lodi) 22-8
132 – John Roddick wins by major decision against Max Barreau (Lodi) 12-4
138 – Jaden Winchel pins Hunter Grams (Lodi) in 0:41
145 – Brock Polhamus wins by major decision over Jacob Heyroth (Lodi) 15-5
152 – Hayden Krein pins Cole Endres (Lodi) in 1:05
160 – Casey Persike (Lodi) wins by major decision over Ryan Wisniewski 10-0
170 – Tristan McDonald (Lodi) defeats Austin Zweifel 13-6
182 – Logan VanTassel defeats Logan Gordon (Lodi) 9-3
195 – Walker Polhamus wins by major decision over Wayne Karls (Lodi) 9-0
220 – JP Walterscheit (Lodi) wins by forfeit