Spartans sending six to state


After missing last year because of an injury, Logan Degenhardt is now 38-9, a sectional champion and state-bound.

The Spartans sent seven wrestlers to sectionals on Saturday and six of them will be wrestling at the Kohl Center on Thursday.  Brock Polhamus and Logan Degenhardt led the Spartans with individual championships while Christian Lamon, John Roddick, Jaden Winchel and Dylan Winchel advanced by winning their wrestlebacks.

It was the first sectional championships for Polhamus and Degenhardt and doubly sweet for Degenhardt as he missed his entire junior season after sustaining a knee injury during football.  For Polhamus, his 2-1 victory in the finals over Cuba City/Southwestern’s Josh Donar was his 40th victory–the first time he has reached the 40-win mark in season.  John Roddick was five seconds away from joining Polhamus and Degenhardt as sectional champions, but fell just short.  Down 1-0 to Cuba City/Southwestern’s JJ Donar with about seven seconds to go, Roddick picked up a takedown to go up 2-1.  The lead would only last for a second as Donar gained a quick escape and without losing contact with Roddick, picked up a takedown as time expired to win 4-2.  It was a heartbreaking loss in the finals, but like Polhamus, Roddick will be heading to the state tournament for the third time in three years.

Two years ago, Roddick and Polhamus became the first freshman since Josh Isensee in 1995 to qualify for the state tournament.  That ended a 17-year drought.  Christian Lamon made sure the next streak lasted only three years as he finished in third in a tough bracket to punch his ticket to the state tournament.  To qualify, Lamon picked up an escape in the final seconds to win 6-5 over River Valley’s Gavin Wipperfurth (33-14).  Lamon would fall to Lodi’s Jason Clapper (40-3) in the 2nd place match, but Lamon was already in and will be wrestling at least once more this year.


Brock Polhamus won his first sectional title and in the process reached 40 wins in a season for the first time in his career.

Jaden Winchel might have found himself in the toughest bracket of the tournament.  There was West Salem/Bangor’s Devin Bahr (49-0), Evansville’s Jordan Meyer (38-3), River Valley’s Elijah Alt (31-19) and Jaden Winchel at 35-13.  There were two more guys with 28 wins, another wrestler at 18-10 and then one more wrestler at 19-19.  Everyone had a .500 record or better and Bahr might be the best pound-for-pound wrestler in the state.  So you think the odds might be against a freshman making it through to the state tournament in a bracket like this.  Wrong.  Winchel dropped his first decision, but won his next two in convincing fashion with pins in 58 seconds and 5:09 to qualify for state.  Like Roddick and Polhamus three years ago, Lamon and Winchel are this year’s pair of super freshman to leave their mark in the history books.

At 138 pounds, Brock Polhamus was in control the entire day.  His first match was an 8-0 victory over Lakeside Lutheran’s Gavin Loescher.  He followed that with an 11-5 win over Richland Center’s Hunter Whitney.  In the finals, Polhamus exacted a little bit of revenge for Roddick as he defeated the other Donar from Cuba City/Southwestern–Josh Donar–2-1 in the finals to pick up his second sectional title.  The win was also Brock’s 40th of the year.

At 145, senior Dylan Winchel was not going to be denied his third trip to the state tournament.  It wasn’t easy for Winchel, but he came up big when it mattered most.  After dropping his first match and then winning his first wrestleback, Winchel found himself down 7-1 in the third period to Wisconsin Dells’ Willie Vandenlangenberg.  Riding with time running down, Winchel locked Vandenlangenberg in a cradle and pinned him in 4:46 to secure a trip to the state tournament.  Winchel would fall in the wrestleback for 2nd place, but he will be joining his brother at the Kohl Center on Thursday.  It’s the first time since 1996 when Jason and Don Semann both qualified that the Spartans have two brothers wrestling together at the state tournament.

At 160, Logan VanTassel finished 1-2 on the day and did not qualify for the state tournament.  He did pick up a big upset victory over Belleville/Monticello/New Glarus’ Young-Chul Vetterli (32-11).  VanTassel won that match by pin in 2:46.  He couldn’t keep it up though as he ran into Brodhead/Juda’s Brady Colden (43-4) in the 3rd place match and lost.  Congrats to Logan on a fine season!


Christian Lamon (top left) and Jaden Winchel (bottom left) are just the fourth and fifth freshman in the last 19 years to qualify for the state tournament for Sparta. John Roddick (top right) and Dylan Winchel (bottom right) each qualified for state for the third time Saturday.

Finally, at 220 pounds, Logan Degenhardt will be making his first trip to the state tournament after he won 5-1 in the finals over Belmont/Platteville’s Lucas Stoney.  Degenhardt’s three wins today pushes his record to 38-9.  His accomplishments this year might be one of the more pleasant surprises of the season.  It was hard to say how Logan would do after missing his junior season because of a knee injury.  I don’t think anyone would have been surprised at him reaching the 30-win mark, but 38 wins is exceptional and especially so after not wrestling regularly for two years.  Congrats Logan!

History repeated itself this year when the Spartans fell just short of the team title at regionals and then won comfortably at sectionals.  Sparta finished with 97 points on the day followed by River Valley with 89, Brodhead/Juda with 68.5 and West Salem/Bangor with 67.5.  The ridiculous number of byes at Sparta’s regional the past two years have hurt the Spartans.  You see what happens at tournaments where West Salem/Bangor and Sparta both compete in, but are devoid of numerous byes.  Still, give credit to West Salem/Bangor for getting the job done at regionals.  Let’s hope that the other teams can field full teams in the years going forward.

Sparta’s six state qualifiers are tied for the second most in team history behind last year’s seven.  The last time the Spartans qualified six was the 2011-12 season when Dylan Winchel, John Roddick, Brock Polhamus, Derek VonRuden, Toby Mosley and Kyle Burkhalter all qualified.  The last three years have now seen 19 state qualifiers for the Spartans, which is by far the most of any three year stretch in team history.  Of those 19 state berths, John Roddick, Brock Polhamus and Dylan Winchel account for nine of them.  Let’s hope the Spartans continue their run of state medalists this year as well as three medaled in 2012 and four last year.

Below are the summaries for each wrestler and then how each individual did in every match at sectionals.

126  –  John Roddick, 3-1 with a major decision, 2nd Place
132  –  Jaden Winchel, 3-1 with two pins, 3rd Place
138  –  Brock Polhamus, 3-0 with a major decision, 1st Place
145  –  Dylan Winchel, 2-2 with a pin, 3rd Place
160  –  Logan VanTassel, 1-2 with a pin, 4th Place
220  –  Logan Degenhardt, 3-0 with a pin, 1st Place

113 – Christian Lamon (32-10) placed 3rd and scored 14.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Christian Lamon (Sparta) 32-10 won by fall over Ben Counter (Edgerton) 23-13 (Fall 1:06)
Semifinal – Taylor Elliott (Prairie Du Chien/Wauzeka-Steuben) 39-1 won by major decision over Christian Lamon (Sparta) 32-10 (MD 14-1)
Cons. Semi – Christian Lamon (Sparta) 32-10 won by fall over Cohl Routson (Portage) 13-17 (Fall 1:16)
3rd Place Match – Christian Lamon (Sparta) 32-10 won by decision over Gavin Wipperfurth (River Valley) 33-14 (Dec 6-5)
2nd Place Match – Jason Clapper (Lodi) 40-3 won by tech fall over Christian Lamon (Sparta) 32-10 (TF-1.5 4:10 (15-0))

126 – John Roddick (40-8) placed 2nd and scored 15.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – John Roddick (Sparta) 40-8 won by decision over Colin Novak (Darlington/BlackHawk) 16-6 (Dec 10-4)
Semifinal – John Roddick (Sparta) 40-8 won by major decision over Jensen Langer (Marshall) 47-9 (MD 10-2)
1st Place Match – JJ Donar (Cuba City/Southwestern) 41-4 won by decision over John Roddick (Sparta) 40-8 (Dec 4-2)
2nd Place Match – John Roddick (Sparta) 40-8 won by rule over Jensen Langer (Marshall) 47-9 (RULE)

132 – Jaden Winchel (35-13) placed 3rd and scored 12.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Jordan Meyer (Evansville/Albany) 38-3 won by major decision over Jaden Winchel (Sparta) 35-13 (MD 14-4)
Cons. Semi – Jaden Winchel (Sparta) 35-13 won by fall over Tyler Wunnicke (Dodgeville) 28-16 (Fall 0:58)
3rd Place Match – Jaden Winchel (Sparta) 35-13 won by fall over Elijah Alt (River Valley) 31-19 (Fall 5:09)
2nd Place Match – Jordan Meyer (Evansville/Albany) 38-3 won by rule over Jaden Winchel (Sparta) 35-13 (RULE)

138 – Brock Polhamus (40-7) placed 1st and scored 19.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Brock Polhamus (Sparta) 40-7 won by major decision over Gavin Loescher (Lakeside Lutheran) 33-14 (MD 8-0)
Semifinal – Brock Polhamus (Sparta) 40-7 won by decision over Hunter Whitney (Richland Center) 32-14 (Dec 11-5)
1st Place Match – Brock Polhamus (Sparta) 40-7 won by decision over Josh Donar (Cuba City/Southwestern) 38-8 (Dec 2-1)

145 – Dylan Winchel (26-16) placed 3rd and scored 10.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Joe Crook (River Valley) 43-2 won by fall over Dylan Winchel (Sparta) 26-16 (Fall 1:00)
Cons. Semi – Dylan Winchel (Sparta) 26-16 won by decision over Anthony Chiarello (Belleville/Monticello/New Glarus) 34-12 (Dec 10-4)
3rd Place Match – Dylan Winchel (Sparta) 26-16 won by fall over Willie Vandenlangenberg (Wisconsin Dells) 32-10 (Fall 4:46)
2nd Place Match – Jacob Poches (Portage) 34-6 won by tech fall over Dylan Winchel (Sparta) 26-16 (TF-1.5 4:00 (18-2))

160 – Logan VanTassel (23-21) placed 4th and scored 7.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Nathan DeGroff (Lodi) 30-11 won by decision over Logan VanTassel (Sparta) 23-21 (Dec 8-4)
Cons. Semi – Logan VanTassel (Sparta) 23-21 won by fall over Young-Chul Vetterli (Belleville/Monticello/New Glarus) 32-11 (Fall 2:46)
3rd Place Match – Brady Colden (Brodhead/Juda) 43-4 won by tech fall over Logan VanTassel (Sparta) 23-21 (TF-1.5 4:56 (15-0))

220 – Logan Degenhardt (38-9) placed 1st and scored 20.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Logan Degenhardt (Sparta) 38-9 won by fall over Alex Wasechek (Prairie Du Chien/Wauzeka-Steuben) 19-9 (Fall 3:27)
Semifinal – Logan Degenhardt (Sparta) 38-9 won by decision over Stephen Voights (Brodhead/Juda) 39-8 (Dec 7-2)
1st Place Match – Logan Degenhardt (Sparta) 38-9 won by decision over Lucas Stoney (Belmont/Platteville) 25-12 (Dec 5-1)

Sparta has a short week before returning to action Thursday at the Kohl Center.  Polhamus and Degenhardt have first-round byes while everyone else will wrestle Thursday.  We will have a preview of this year’s brackets, interviews with the state-bound Spartans and more throughout the week leading up to the state tournament.  Congrats Spartans on another great sectional tournament!!


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