Dylan Winchel and Kyle Burkhalter each won their semifinal matches Friday evening and will be the first Spartans since Matt Tourdot in 2010 to compete for a state championship. It’s also the first time since 1996 that the Spartans will send more than one wrestler to a championship match. In 1996, Troy Lietzau won his second state title at 152 pounds while Jarrod Ebert lost a close decision in the 189 pound title match.
Winchel advanced to his first state title bout with a pin in 5:19 over Oconto Falls’ Gunnar Leisner. Before the pin, Winchel was in complete control. Awaiting Winchel in the championship match will be a familiar face. For the third Saturday final in a row, Dylan will wrestle Viroqua’s JJ McClelland. The Viroqua 113-pounder advanced with a 9-2 victory over Prairie du Chien/Wauzeka-Steuben’s Clayton Beers.
At 182 pounds, Kyle Burkhalter will close out his Spartan career in the state finals against Waupun’s Brady Huenink (38-1). To get to this point, Burkhalter gave Saint Croix Falls’ Joe Rademacher (43-1) his first loss of the season in a match that was never in doubt. Burkhalter was strong on his feet, earned back points and won 11-5. Like Winchel, this will also be the first finals match for Burkhalter.
Three other Spartans started the day in the quarterfinals, but each lost their matches. At 120 pounds, John Roddick ran into a brick wall in Ellsworth’s Jens Lantz. Roddick escaped the first period down only 2-0 before falling by pin in the second in 3:05.
At 132 pounds, Brock Polhamus had a tough day losing 10-2 in his quarterfinal match against Wrightstown’s Alex Maes and then 7-1 in his consolation wrestleback against Mosinee’s Dalton Gorman. Polhamus finishes the year with a 33-12 record.
Tristan Zurfluh pushed Valders’ Stetson McCulley the entire match, but couldn’t find a takedown over the final two periods and lost 5-2. Roddick and Zurfluh will both wrestleback for 3rd place Saturday. If they win their next consolation match, they will wrestle for third. If they lose, they go for fifth. Consolation wrestling starts at 11am.
We will continue to provide updates on all Spartan wrestlers throughout the day Saturday on Sparta Wrestling’s Facebook page. Congrats to Dylan and Kyle on advancing to the finals and best of luck to all four Spartans wrestling for hardware tomorrow. Go Spartans!!!