It was a match for the ages Tuesday night in Wisconsin Dells, but in the end it was Lodi who came out victorious in a tight 31-25 victory over Sparta. The loss tonight was Sparta’s first in 18 matches this year and they finish the season with one of the highest winning percentages in program history. In other words, it was a great year.
Both teams won seven matches on the night and in the end it was the bonus points that decided the dual. Lodi picked up bonus points in four matches while Sparta picked up bonus points in just two. The difference meant six points, but in any dual you can go back and forth and look here and there and say if this and that happened, it would have all been different.
The dual started out at 152 pounds and saw the top-ranked wrestler in division two in Lodi’s Tony Zeman wrestle Nick Anderson. Anderson was putting up a fight until Zeman deployed a three-quarter nelson and quickly ended the match by pin in 3:26. Tom Tourdot moved up to 160 pounds and beat Lodi’s Michael Watters 5-4 before the Blue Devil’s Dakota Cable gained those three points back with a hard-fought 5-2 victory over Brandon Brueggen.
Then came the second switch of the night. Steve Stevenson dropped down to 215 pounds to wrestle Cody Endres of Lodi and fell by pin in 3:16. Tourdot moved up to 285 and countered with a 47 second pin of his own. Seeing as how Endres and Tourdot split matches this summer, it was probably in the best interest of Sparta to make the switch. If Tourdot loses to Endres and Stevenson then falls to Lodi’s heavyweight Ryan Quick, you end up with a total loss of nine points. Sparta needed Tourdot to pick up a win somewhere and the most likely place that would happen would be at 285 by making a switch and putting the lighter Stevenson at 215 pounds. The heavyweight from Lodi weighed in at 260 pounds and with Stevenson weighing less than Tourdot, it made more sense for Tourdot to take on the heavier guy.
At 103, Bryce Nowaczyk came out on fire taking down John Joutras in the opening seconds and then rode him out for the rest of the first period. The second period started with them in neutral and saw Nowaczyk pick up a quick takedown again before Joutras gained a reversal. At the start of the third period it was 4-2 with Joutras down, but Nowaczyk rode him well and the match ended with the same score.
At 112 pounds, Sparta’s Adam Wiedl got caught in a cradle and pinned in 43 seconds in a match that was pivotal for Lodi. I think looking back that is a match Wiedl would win 95 times out of 100, but that’s why they wrestle them and hats off to Lodi’s Michael Clapper who came up big. The team score after Wiedl’s match was 21-16 in favor of Lodi.
Brandon Rickert picked up a 14-8 decision at 119 pounds before Sparta’s Toby Mosely and Lodi’s Getasew Shimshak met at 125 pounds in a match up of the sixth ranked wrestler in division two at 125 in Shimshak and an honorable mention in the same class in Mosely. It was all Shimshak in the first period, but Mosely kept off his back and kept the score close at 0-2. From the second period on, Mosely fought back. Shimshak gave away a point to Mosely with three straight cautions for false starts. After that, Mosely ran off six points in the third period to upset Shimshak 9-6. The score swung back in Sparta’s favor at 22-21.
At 130 pounds, Lodi’s Ryan Lehr shut out Derek VonRuden 6-0 to take back the lead and they would not give it up. Sparta needed a win at 135 pounds to force a final match to decide the dual, but Lodi’s Clint Heimbecker fought off Nick Winchel for a 6-2 victory to stretch the lead to 27-22. At 140 pounds, Justin Miller overcame a big effort from Jesse Amundson to seal the dual for the Blue Demons with a 21-9 major decision victory. At 145 pounds, Morgan Leis ended the dual on a high note for the Spartans controlling Lodi’s Jesse Ziegler for the entire match until surrendering a meaningless takedown in the final seconds. Leis won that match 4-3 and saw his effort bring the final score to 31-25 in favor of Lodi.
It was about as expected. Close, tight matches where bonus points ruled. Lodi picked up a big upset at 112, but Sparta countered with a big upset at 125. Despite Sparta’s great season this year, Lodi was still the favorite. The Spartans have the ability to beat Lodi, but the margin for error was razor thin and tonight it simply was not in the cards for Sparta.
Wrestling their last matches for Sparta tonight were Jesse Amundson, Nick Anderson and Steve Stevenson. Congrats to them on their efforts in contributing to one of the greatest seasons in Spartan wrestling history. While we may not see them on the mat wrestling anymore this year, they will still be contributing by pushing their teammates in practice and supporting them at the tournaments as they prepare for the sectional and state tournaments.
Below is a breakdown of how tonight’s matches went…
152 — Tony Zeman (Lodi) pinned Nick Anderson 3:26
160 — Tom Tourdot decisioned Michael Watters (Lodi) 5-4
171 — Dakota Cable (Lodi) decisioned Brandon Brueggen 5-2
189 — Jordan Stanek major decisioned Jamison Adler (Lodi) 8-0
215 — Cody Endres (Lodi) pinned Steve Stevenson 3:16
285 — Matt Tourdot pinned Ryan Quick (Lodi) 0:47
103 — Bryce Nowaczyk decisioned John Joutras (Lodi) 4-2
112 — Michael Clapper (Lodi) pinned Adam Wiedl 0:43
119 — Brandon Rickert decisioned Alex Ibinger (Lodi) 14-8
125 — Toby Mosely decisioned Getasew Shimshak (Lodi) 9-6
130 — Ryan Lehr (Lodi) decisioned Derek VonRuden 6-0
135 — Clint Heimbecker (Lodi) decisioned Nick Winchel 6-2
140 — Justin Miller (Lodi) major decisioned Jesse Amundson 21-9
145 — Morgan Leis decisioned Jesse Ziegler (Lodi) 4-3
FINAL: Lodi 31 – Sparta 25
After Lodi slipped by Sparta, they defeated River Valley 49-22 to advance to the state team tournament. Over in division one, Holmen defeated DeForest 49-21 to advance to the state team tournament. Sparta defeated Holmen earlier this year 38-21. Most years you would think the path to the state team tournament would be more difficult through D1, but welcome to the world of Lodi where the Spartans will now have to face one of the state’s perennial powers every year.
I took a bunch of photos from tonight and hopefully I’ll get those posted up here in the next few days so keep checking back for that.
Congrats to Sparta on a stellar dual season. It was one to remember. However, the season is not yet over. Sparta still has 10 wrestlers going at the sectional tournament Saturday in Richland Center and then any who advance to the state tournament will wrestle the week after. There is lots more to come.