It was more of the same last night as injuries and sickness played a pivotal role in Sparta’s 34-28 defeat at the hands of Holmen. Brock Polhamus and Joseph Benish had to sit for this pivotal dual that saw the Vikings defeat the Spartans for the second year in a row. Holmen’s margin of victory in the two conference duals since the start of last year is nine points.
The Spartans jumped out to a 10-6 lead following wins by Dylan Winchel and John Roddick and led 10-9 after Steven Kelly fell at 126, but that would be the last lead the Spartans would see as the Vikings won six of the next seven matches to open up a 28-13 lead before the Spartans began to crawl back.
It started with a win at 182 by Kyle Burkhalter over Holmen’s Duncan McKinney that cut the lead to 28-16. Daniel Dawley and Chase Bernett followed with pins to even things up at 28 apiece, but Sparta’s Joseph Benish was unable to go at 285 and Sparta was forced to forfeit to Holmen’s Hunter Hauser. With that, the Vikings all-but-wrapped-up the 2012-13 MVC title.
Sparta needed to get a win somewhere between 126 and 138 and they were very close. Steven Kelly held a 2-1 lead midway through the match before fading and Tristan Zurfluh wrestled Holmen’s highly ranked Ryan Stalsberg (4th, D1) very tough. Stalsberg’s earned all three of his points in a bang-bang sequence of moves that quickly changed the match from a scoreless tie to a 3-0 advantage for Stalsberg.
Having Polhamus out at 132 pounds was also a key difference in the match. Last year, Polhamus and Wright split in their meetings. It had the potential to be a nine-point swing or a three-point swing at the least, but that alone wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the match. Sparta still needed a win somewhere else. at 170, Sparta’s Greg Skon wrestled Tyler Westpfahl tough and was close to pulling out a victory, but ultimately fell 7-4.
As it is every year, there are so many what-ifs that happen in these close duals and this year was no different. In the loss, Dylan Winchel, John Roddick, Michael Murnane, Kyle Burkhalter, Dan Dawley and Chase Bernett all had impressive wins. Despite winning just six matches to Holmen’s eight, the Spartans kept it close by picking up bonus points in four of those matches. Here’s how things went down from start to finish…
106 – Ryan Bennett (Holmen) pins Corey Zimmerman in 3:12
113 – Dylan Winchel pins Fue Yang (Holmen) in 2:35
120 – John Roddick wins by major decision over Jonah Rieber (Holmen) 14-5
126 – Wyatt Anderson (Holmen) defeats Steven Kelly 6-2
132 – Darius Wright (Holmen) pins Justin Marx in 1:44
138 – Ryan Stalsberg (Holmen) defeats Tristan Zurfluh 3-1
145 – Michael Murnane defeats Avery Hackett (Holmen) 10-6
152 – Zeik Hellerude (Holmen) defeats Dillon Erickson 8-2
160 – Nick Frana (Holmen) wins by major decision over Walker Polhamus 13-5
170 – Tyler Westpfahl (Holmen) defeats Greg Skon 7-4
182 – Kyle Burkhalter defeats Duncan McKinney (Holmen) 8-3
195 – Dan Dawley pins Blythe Phillips (Holmen) in 4:36
220 – Chase Bernett pins Ryan Hesselberg (Holmen) in 1:35
285 – Hunter Hauser (Holmen) wins by forfeit
FINAL: Holmen 34 – Sparta 28
With the loss, the Spartans fall to 5-3 on the year and 2-1 in the MVC. The Spartans practice today before hosting the 14 teams at the Sparta Invite on Saturday. Stay tuned for a large photo gallery from Thursday night’s dual.