The Spartans won a number of close matches and came up with timely pins to defeat the defending division three state team runner-ups Fennimore 31-30 on criteria. The Spartans and Golden Eagles finished the match tied at 30 apiece, but the Spartans won because they had the most number of individual wins.
There were six matches decided by three points or less and another decided by four points. Sparta prevailed in five of those and that proved to be the difference. There was Noah Benish at 285 scoring a takedown as time expired to win 3-2. There were one-point victories by Vince Polhamus and Mathias Krein that went down to the wire. The Spartans came up big when they needed to and showed serious resolve in close matches throughout the night.
The action kicked off at 195 with freshman Marcus Cox winning 3-1 against Fennimore’s Aaron Ragels. Garet Pfaff pounded his way to a 9-2 victory in the next match before Noah Benish showed his flare for the dramatic with a last-second takedown to win 4-3 and put the Spartans up 9-0. Sparta forfeited matches at 106 and 113 before Vince Polhamus eeked out a 3-2 victory at 120. Jon Bailey’s first period pin at 126 put the Spartans up 18-12 at the halfway point.
Fennimore would rattle off three straight wins to take a 24-18 lead before Brett Von Ruden won a wild match over Fennimore’s Riley Blair. Blair is a two-time state placewinner capturing 3rd place in D3 at 106 as a freshman in 2015 and 2nd place in D3 at 120 as a sophomore in 2016. It appears he did not wrestle last season, but none of that mattered Thursday evening. Both Blair and Von Ruden wrestled aggressively and it was close throughout until Von Ruden took over in the third period en route to a 7-4 victory over one of the state’s best wrestlers.
The Krein brothers followed Brett’s victory with two victories of their own. Hayden pinned his kid in 1:28 while Mathias came up big with a 3-2 victory at 170. That put Sparta up 30-24 entering the final match where Fennimore’s Will Ahnen came up with a pin in 0:52 over Kelton Pfaff. The Spartans and Golden Eagles were tied at 30 apiece, but criteria favored the Spartans giving Sparta the 31-30 victory.
At 126, Bailey defeated a tough wrestler in Alex Birchman who finished 4th in D3 at 126 in last year’s state tournament. Birchman’s 2016-17 season record was 32-10. At 132, Thomas Treu wrestled Fennimore’s Aiden Nutter extremely tough almost tying the score at 6-6 in the match’s final seconds before succumbing a takedown and losing 8-4. Treu wrestled extremely tough from the bottom and on his feet, but came up just short. At 138 pounds, Seth Boland lost 6-5 but was inches and maybe just a second away from a takedown as time expired. At 145, David Hayes was wrestling extremely close with the defending 126-pound D3 state champion in Trevor Wanek, but was caught early in the third period and pinned.
Full match results below…
195 – Marcus Cox defeats Aaron Ragels (Fennimore) 3-1
220 – Garet Pfaff defeats Brayden Leffler (Fennimore) 9-2
285 – Noah Benish defeats Dylan Kehoe (Fennimore) 4-3
106 – Brody Lee (Fennimore) wins by forfeit
113 – Luke Blair (Fenniomre) wins by forfeit
120 – Vince Polhamus defeats TJ Kenney (Fennimore) 3-2
126 – Jon Bailey pinned Alex Birchman (Fennimore) in 1:54
132 – Aidan Nutter (Fennimore) defeats Thomas Treu 8-4
138 – Kohl Wardell (Fennimore) defeats Seth Boland 6-5
145 – Trevor Wanek (Fennimore) pins David Hayes in 5:04
152 – Brett Von Ruden defeats Riley Blair (Fennimore) 7-4
160 – Hayden Krein pins Nick Blaschke (Fennimore) in 1:28
170 – Mathias Krein defeats Tyler Klaas (Fennimore) 3-2
182 – Will Ahnen (Fennimore) pins Kelton Pfaff in 1:
FINAL: Sparta 30 – Fennimore 30
SPARTA WINS ON CRITERIA (most matches won)
Sparta 31 – Fennimore 30
138 – Trent Helms (Fennimore) pinned Gavin Haldeman in 3:24
145 – Kyle Erickson pinned Taggan Gommel (Fennimore) in 2:19
152 – Corbin Hauser pinned Kristian Cervienka (Fennimore) in 0:29
220 – Madden Connelly pinned Braxton Wilson (Fennimore) in 1:45
Trent Helms (Fennimore) pinned Esteban Rodrigues in 3:55
Corbin Hauser pinned Mason Miles (Fennimore) in 1:20
With the victory, the Spartans improved to 3-1 all-time against Fennimore. The Spartans are not off for long as they go back home to prepare for the Ellsworth Invitational on Saturday. It was a good first dual for the Spartans with a lot of new faces coming up with big wins. Congrats, Spartans!