It was a great season for the Spartan wrestling squad. 17 dual victories. 7 All-Conference Selections. 3 State Qualifiers. 2 State Placewinners. All of this added up to one of the most successful seasons in recent memory. Overall, Sparta finished with a 17-3 dual record and just one loss in conference action.
Seniors Jenna Ahnen, Aaron Kast, Quincy Degenhardt, Colin Burns-Gilbert, Jeff Dolan and Jared Rickert led this year’s team. Below will be a short summary of each wrestlers four years as a Spartan.
Rickert finished his career at Sparta with a 153-37 record while earning three trips to the state tournament and finally breaking through this year by bringing home a third place medal. He is the first Spartan ever to win 30 or more matches all four years. In 2007, he set a single season record with 48 victories. If it weren’t for teammate Jeff Dolan, Rickert would hold the Spartan record for career takedowns but he finishes his time at Sparta second on that list with 315 takedowns.
Dolan, a two-time state qualifier, finished with a 133-40 record with 47 pins. Along with Rickert, he is the only Spartan to win 40 or more matches in a season more than once. In his senior season, Dolan captured 5th place and smashed both the Sparta single season and career takedown record. This past year Dolan took down his opponents 152 times to finish with a Spartan record 391 for his career.
Ahnen was Sparta’s first female wrestle to win a varsity spot. Arguably the highlight most people will remember from her career was the dual meet against Holmen in 2003-04. The score was tight and Jenna’s weight class was the last match of the night. The winner would determine who won the dual and conference. The match was close throughout but Jenna escaped with a victory and Sparta would go on to win the conference title. In 2007, she became the first female to place at the tough West Allis Invitational, first to place at the Spartan Invitational and first female in MVC history to bring home all-conference honors. She finished with a 40-60 career record and 14 pins. In 2005-06, she took home the MVC Sportsmanship Award.
Burns-Gilbert finished his four years at Sparta with a 63-60 record. In his senior season, Colin dropped to 135 pounds for the tournament season and went 10-4 in the process to finish with a 25-15 record on the year. By the end of the year, Burns-Gilbert almost looked like he had been to hell and back. After battling sickness midway through the year, he came back and promptly split his chin during the MVC/Coulee tournament requiring stitches and a bandage for the remainder of the tournament that was wrapped from the top of his head to under his chin. I don’t have the numbers on this, but I doubt anyone on the team came close to the number of times Colin went into overtime. During the tournament season I think that number was at least four.
Degenhardt finished his career at Sparta with a 42-30 record after going 12-11 during his junior season and qualifying for state. Degenhardt was almost unstoppable from the top as he would routinely throw in the legs and turn his opponents sometimes just seconds after. It also was common sight to see opponents holding their now fragile and beaten heads after wrestling Degenhardt. At the Reedsburg Invitational, Degenhardt’s opponent from Monroe was seen after the match holding his head for the next hour–and he defeated Quincy.
Aaron Kast finished his career at Sparta with a 21-41 record in two full years of varsity action. Injuries and other obstacles slowed Kast a bit this year but he was able to come back strong for the tournament season.
END OF THE SEASON AWARDS, RICKERT BUMPED TO 1ST TEAM
At the end of the year banquet, the following awards were handed out:
Most Valuable Wrestler – Jared Rickert
Rookie of the Year – Matt Tourdot
Most Improved – Derek McDonald
Coaches Award – Jeff Dolan
Takedown Award – Jeff Dolan (152)
Headhunter Award – Jared Rickert (24)
Also, the MVC decided that giving honorable mention status to their wrestler of the year and too a guy who hadn’t lost in conference action in two years was nothing short of lunacy. As such, they rescinded their original award and gave Rickert first-team honors. Also, Jeff Dolan took home this year’s MVC Sportsmanship Award.
Do keep checking back here for photos from sectionals and other information about camps, the new mat coming home and more.
A special thanks to Pat Stevenson and Rick Brohmer for their many efforts in alerting alumni and friends about the program’s need for a new mat and the call for donations. It would not have been possible to get the mat as quickly as we did without their help.