With Thursday’s 41-23 victory over rival Tomah, Sparta will finish 2nd in the MVC for the second straight year. Sparta, the second smallest school in the MVC by enrollment, will finish the year 5-1 in conference and see their seventh straight finish as either MVC champion or runner-up. In fact, in the 24 year history of the conference, Sparta has finished first four times, five if you count the official’s error in the 1999-2000 dual against Tomah ;), and second nine times. That’s 13 times in 24 year that the Spartans have finished first or second. Not bad.
It’s about as healthy as the Spartans have been all year. Joseph Benish was still out at heavyweight and the Spartans decided to move Chase Bernett up to 285 to avoid the 4th ranked wrestler in division one at 220 pounds in Lucas Stromberg-Windau. The move paid off as Bernett squeaked out a 5-4 victory despite giving up a lot of weight to Tomah’s Ryan Sutherland.
Overall, the Spartans won eight matches to Tomah’s six. Sparta picked up five pins and a technical fall while avoiding any pins and minimizing the bonus points to major decisions. They also squeaked out close wins at 182 and 285. At 126 pounds, Steven Kelly wrestled a tough match against Logan Pollack who entered the dual as an honorable mention in division one at 126 pounds. Kelly stuck around the entire match and fell 2-0.
A fast start helped the Spartans as a technical fall by Brock Polhamus and two quick pins by Tristan Zurfluh and Michael Murnane saw the Spartans jump out to a fast 17-0 lead. However, it would be over after Kyle Burkhalter’s victory at 182 put the Spartans up 26-7. Full results below…
132 – Brock Polhamus won by technical fall over Lucas Dubord (Tomah) 15-0
138 – Tristan Zurfluh pinned Skylar Roach (Tomah) in 1:14
145 – Michael Murnane pinned Dalton Pottebaum (Tomah) in 1:25
152 – Jacob DuBord (Tomah) won by major decision against Dillon Erickson 13-4
160 – Ben Lizmeier (Tomah) defeated Walker Polhamus 3-2
170 – Greg Skon pinned Ryan Neal (Tomah) in 4:29
182 – Kyle Burkhalter defeated Jordan Reisinger (Tomah) 8-4
195 – Garrett Serna (Tomah) defeated Daniel Dawley 3-2
220 – Lucas Stromberg-Windau (Tomah) won by forfeit
285 – Chase Bernett defeated Ryan Sutherland (Tomah) 5-4
106 – Patrick Adler (Tomah) won by major decision against Corey Zimmerman 9-1
113 – Dylan Winchel pinned Katen Moser (Tomah) in 0:57
120 – John Roddick pinned Simon Joseph (Tomah) in 3:35
126 – Logan Pollack (Tomah) defeated Steven Kelly 2-0
SPARTA 41 – TOMAH 23
It’s been a tough year for the Spartans. As it seems to be in many other places around the state, the Spartans have dealt with a rash of skin issues, sickness and injuries and a very tough schedule and still emerged with a winning dual record. The win boosts the Spartans’ record to 9-6 overall and 5-1 in the MVC. They will have a chance to reach double digit dual victories for the eight straight year if they can win their regional and then win one dual at team sectionals.
On paper, the Spartans should be favored to win their regional and if they do, they will likely see Lodi in the first round at team sectional. Who’s ready for another showdown with the Blue Devils? Time will tell if that happens. The Spartans have a week to heal, get right and prepare for the tournament season when they travel to Adams-Friendship for regionals on Saturday, February 9th. We’ll have a full regional preview early next week.