Declining enrollment has dropped Sparta into Division Two for the upcoming school year. Sparta will wrestle in the Viroqua regional next year with Adams-Friendship, Mauston, Richland Center, Viroqua, Westfield Area and Wisconsin Dells.
The team winner of that Regional will face the winner of the Regional that includes Columbus, Evansville/Albany, Jefferson, Lake Mills, Lakeside Lutheran, Lodi and Marshall.
On paper, Sparta looks to be one of the top teams in the entire section. Top competition will include Lodi, Viroqua and Adams-Friendship. Lodi is a perennial powerhouse in Wisconsin Division Two wrestling having qualified for the state team tournament every year since 2002 while taking home two state team titles and three runner-up titles in that span.
While Sparta has moved to Divison Two, don't expect them to be any less competitive. They enter the season with the advantage of being one of the largest Division Two schools in the state. One of Lodi's top returning wrestlers is at the 215 weight class, where Matt Tourdot may end up wrestling next year. There are a lot of good things about this move. Even if Sparta can't dethrone Tomah from taking home another team sectional title, they can still remove the stranglehold the Timberwolves have on the MVC crown and do so as a school from a smaller division.
This drop from Division One to Division Two was not unexpected. The past two seasons have seen a general enrollment drop of around 80 students. About the same amount have made their way over to the charter schools High Point and Sails over the last few years and students there cannot compete in sports. That's a drop of over 150 students in just a couple years time.
There will be a lot of changes come tournament time in February, but I can guarantee that it will be just as exciting as ever.