Corbin Hauser (left), Gabe Dearman (center) and Madden Connelly (right) all had impressive days at the Dells Duals and Ellsworth tournaments.

While the varsity has been all across the state wrestling some of the state’s best teams, the junior varsity squad has been doing some wrestling of their own and are off to a great start.

The JV had a strong showing at the Dells Duals JV individual tournament with all five wrestlers finishing in the top three and Corbin Hauser and Madden Connelly capturing individual titles.  Hauser’s day included two first period pins and a 16-0 technical fall victory while Connelly picked up two pins and an 8-1 victory in his other match.  Samuel Matias-Escalante finished second while Gavin Haldeman and Nick Gann finished third.

At Marshfield, Gavin Haldeman, Kyle Erickson and Corbin Hauser picked up victories in their only matches of the night while at the Ellsworth Invitational, Gabe Dearman and Corbin Hauser both finished the day undefeated while Gavin Haldeman went 1-1, Nick Dicicco and Esteban Rodriguez went 1-2.

Full results below…

JV at Marshfield

126  –  Riley Willer (Marshfield) pinned Samuel Matias-Escalante in 1:04
138  –  Gavin Haldeman pinned Ethan Herman (Marshfield) in 1:33
145  –  Kyle Erickson pinned Dustin Altman (Marshfield) in 6:32
152  –  Corbin Hauser pinned Jayden Willhelm (Marshfield) in 0:49
182  –  Isaac Slark (Marshfield) pinned Nick Gann in 1:12
220  –  Sam Haesly (Marshfield) pinned Madden Connelly in 0:47
285  –  AJ Leonhardt (Marshfield) defeated Gabe Dearman 6-0

JV at Ellsworth Invitational

Gabe Dearman pinned Dylan Boyd (Benilde St. Margaret’s) in 0:26
Gabe Dearman pinned Alex Godlett (Northwestern) in 0:29
Gabe Dearman pinned Nick Diccico in 0:45
Gabe Dearman pinned Trent Olwaski (Northwestern) in 4:28

Gavin Haldeman was pinned by Avery Birden (Ellsworth) in 2:50
Gavin Haldeman pinned Adams (Mora) in 1:39

Nick Diccico pinned Alex Godlett (Northwestern) in 0:45
Trent Olowski (Northwestern) pinned Nick Diccico in 2:26
Nick Diccico lost to Gabe Dearman by pin in 0:45

Esteban Rodriguez pinned Logan Bogas (Benilde St. Margaret’s) in 5:27
Tuma (Dover-Eyota) pinned Esteban Rodriguez in 1:05
Esteban Rodriguez lost 5-4 to ?????

Corbin Hauser pinned Michael Pecha (Northwestern) in 3:00
Corbin Hauser defeated Tyler Shea (Dover-Eyota) 8-0

Dells Duals JV Individual Tournament

Samuel Matias-Escalante’s place is 2nd and has scored 12.00 team points.

  • Round 1 – Samuel Matias-Escalante (Sparta) won by decision over Hunter Knitt (Mauston) (Dec 8-5)
  • Round 2 – Devin Roff (Cumberland) won by decision over Samuel Matias-Escalante (Sparta) (Dec 7-3)
  • Round 3 – Samuel Matias-Escalante (Sparta) won by fall over Matt Spangenburg (Whitnall) (Fall 0:46)
Gavin Haldeman’s place is 3rd and has scored 9.00 team points.

  • Round 1 – Gavin Haldeman (Sparta) won by fall over Colton Ritchie (Cumberland) (Fall 3:23)
  • Round 2 – Lucas Oldham (Viroqua) won by fall over Gavin Haldeman (Sparta) (Fall 0:44)
  • Round 3 – Max Marley (Melrose-Mindora/GET) won in sudden victory – 1 over Gavin Haldeman (Sparta) (SV-1 8-6)
Corbin Hauser’s place is 1st and has scored 19.50 team points.

  • Round 1 – Corbin Hauser (Sparta) won by tech fall over Will Schreiner (Whitnall) (TF 16-0)
  • Round 2 – Corbin Hauser (Sparta) won by fall over Charlie Cassady (Lake Mills) (Fall 0:52)
  • Round 3 – Corbin Hauser (Sparta) won by fall over Trevor Anderson (Freedom) (Fall 0:31)
Nick Gann’s place is 3rd and has scored 9.00 team points.

  • Round 1 – Nick Gann (Sparta) won by fall over Gorden Anderson (River Valley) (Fall 3:43)
  • Round 2 – Ross Ehurfurth (Wautoma/Wild Rose) won by fall over Nick Gann (Sparta) (Fall 1:06)
  • Round 3 – Ethan Erickson (Mauston) won by major decision over Nick Gann (Sparta) (Maj 13-0)
Madden Connelly’s place is 1st and has scored 18.00 team points.

  • Round 1 – Madden Connelly (Sparta) won by decision over Trevor Warner (St. Croix Falls) (Dec 8-1)
  • Round 2 – Madden Connelly (Sparta) won by fall over Hayden VanCamp (Freedom) (Fall 2:34)
  • Round 3 – Madden Connelly (Sparta) won by fall over Anthony Fellows (Plymouth) (Fall 1:55)

Wrestling without a full team, the Spartans finished in 8th place with 295 points at the 25-team Battle on the Bay in Bayport, Wisc.  Leading the way were champions Jon Bailey and Hayden Krein.  Brett Von Ruden finished 2nd while David Hayes was 4th to round out the Spartans who finished in the top 10.

Hayden Krein was absolutely dominant Saturday with three first period pins in his first three matches including two in under a minute.  His semifinal match was another victory by pin in 3:19 while the championship match was a 9-0 major decision victory.  At 126 pounds, Jon Bailey avenged a second-place finish last year by defeating Ashwaubenon’s Fernando Coronado in the championship.  Bailey was up four points before the match was ended due to blood time.

At 152 pounds, Brett Von Ruden lost a close 3-2 match in the finals to Rhinelander’s Jacob DeMeyer who is currently ranked 4th in division one at 160 pounds.

It was a strong finish in a loaded tournament for the Spartans despite wrestling without anyone at 106 and 113 and without a couple guys who are still recovering from injury or waiting until they can drop down due to new weight rules.

It has not been an easy three weeks of competition for the Spartans.  In the first three weeks of the season, Sparta has crossed paths with 10 of the top 16 teams from the 2017 WIAA Team State Tournament and that number will reach 16 by the end of the year.  The Spartans could travel to easier tournaments, but it’s this difficult competition that will get the Spartans ready for the important matches in February.

Significant wins on the day included…

  • Jon Bailey’s victory over Fernando Coronado who is currently ranked 7th at 132 in D1
  • Jon Bailey’s victory over Lucas Benn who is currently an honorable mention at 126 in D1
  • David Hayes’ 7-2 victory over Mukwonago’s Jake Schulte who is currently an honorable mention at 145 in D1
  • Brett Von Ruden’s pin in 5:19 over Muskego’s Evan Sinda who is currently ranked 5th at 152 in D1
  • Hayden Krein’s 9-0 victory in the finals over Luxemburg-Casco’s Devan Vandenbush is currently ranked 3rd at 170 in D2
  • Mathias Krein’s 13-4 major decision victory over Mukwonago’s Jacob Stachowski who is currently ranked 7th at 182 in D1

Full summarized individual and team results are below…

120  –  Vince Polhamus, 15th Place, 1-3 with a major decision
126  –  Jon Bailey, 1st Place, 5-0 with a pin and major decision
132  –  Thomas Treu, 14th Place, 1-3
138  –  Seth Boland, 18th Place, 0-3
145  –  David Hayes, 4th Place, 3-2
152  –  Brett Von Ruden, 2nd Place, 4-1 with three pins and a major decision
160  –  Hayden Krein, 1st Place, 5-0 with four pins and a major decision
170  –  Mathias Krein, 9th Place, 4-1 with two pins and two major decision
182  –  Kelten Pfaff, 21st Place, 1-3
195  –  Marcus Cox, 18th Place, 1-3 with a pin
220  –  Garet Pfaff, 11th Place, 2-2 with two pins
285  –  Gabe Dearman, 12th Place, 1-3 with a pin

Team Scores

1. Luxemburg-Casco 468.5
2.  Mukwonago 441.5
3.  Depere 370
4. Wrightstown 360
5.  Denmark
6. Rhinelander 329
7. Ashwaubenon 316.5
8. Sparta 295
9. Appleton North 294
10. Muskego 293.5
11. Oshkosh West 280.5
12. Hortonville 278.5
13. Bay Port 277
14. Pewaukee 271.5
15. Green Bay Preble 265
16. East Troy 219
17. Green Bay West/East/Southwest 216
18. West De Pere 191.5
19. Oconto Falls 180
20. Oak Creek 173.5
21. Escanaba 151
22. Southern Door 129
23. Franklin 113
24. Mishicot 104
25. St. Johns’ NW Military Academy 55


Full individual results below…

120 – Vince Polhamus (8-6) placed 15th and scored 10.00 team points.
Round 2 – Vince Polhamus (Sparta) 8-6 won by major decision over Fahad Aziz (Franklin) 0-4 (MD 13-1)
Round 3 – Eric Barnett (Hortonville) 50-0 won by tech fall over Vince Polhamus (Sparta) 8-6 (TF-1.5 3:45 (26-9))
Cons. Round 1 – Trent Francois (West De Pere) 27-16 won by decision over Vince Polhamus (Sparta) 8-6 (Dec 7-3)
Cons. Round 2 – Tyler Budz (Oconto Falls) 34-19 won by fall over Vince Polhamus (Sparta) 8-6 (Fall 3:11)
15th Place Match – Vince Polhamus (Sparta) 8-6 received a bye () (Bye)

126 – Jon Bailey (45-6) placed 1st and scored 52.00 team points.
Round 1 – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 45-6 won by decision over Quincy Klister (Wrightstown) 4-1 (Dec 11-5)
Round 3 – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 45-6 won by fall over Joshua Finerty (Franklin) 15-23 (Fall 1:15)
Quarterfinal – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 45-6 won by major decision over Collin Derenne (Green Bay Preble) 28-18 (MD 18-6)
Semifinal – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 45-6 won by decision over Lucas Benn (Mukwonago) 16-5 (Dec 8-4)
1st Place Match – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 45-6 won by injury default over Fernando Coronado (Ashwaubenon) 45-8 (Inj. 5:15)

132 – Thomas Treu (4-17) placed 14th and scored 11.00 team points.
Round 2 – Thomas Treu (Sparta) 4-17 received a bye () (Bye)
Round 3 – Austin Heim (Bay Port) 26-17 won by major decision over Thomas Treu (Sparta) 4-17 (MD 16-3)
Cons. Round 1 – Grant Englebert (Southern Door) 2-3 won by decision over Thomas Treu (Sparta) 4-17 (Dec 9-2)
Cons. Round 2 – Thomas Treu (Sparta) 4-17 won by decision over Noah Huckins (Green Bay Preble) 11-27 (Dec 13-9)
13th Place Match – Alex Lai (Muskego) 8-8 won by decision over Thomas Treu (Sparta) 4-17 (Dec 3-2)

138 – Seth Boland (0-3) placed 18th and scored 2.00 team points.
Round 1 – Hunter Larson (Escanaba) 41-8 won by fall over Seth Boland (Sparta) 0-3 (Fall 1:26)
Round 2 – Bryce Gerner (Hortonville) 4-8 won by fall over Seth Boland (Sparta) 0-3 (Fall 0:13)
Cons. Round 1 – Seth Boland (Sparta) 0-3 received a bye () (Bye)
Cons. Round 2 – Seth Boland (Sparta) 0-3 received a bye () (Bye)
17th Place Match – Drew Price (Southern Door) 3-2 won by fall over Seth Boland (Sparta) 0-3 (Fall 1:22)

145 – David Hayes (27-14) placed 4th and scored 38.00 team points.
Round 1 – David Hayes (Sparta) 27-14 received a bye () (Bye)
Round 3 – David Hayes (Sparta) 27-14 won in sudden victory – 1 over Wyatt Borkovec (Oconto Falls) 27-16 (SV-1 6-4)
Quarterfinal – David Hayes (Sparta) 27-14 won by decision over Jake Schulte (Mukwonago) 28-19 (Dec 7-2)
Semifinal – Max Bruss (DePere) 41-9 won by decision over David Hayes (Sparta) 27-14 (Dec 6-0)
3rd Place Match – Walker VandeHey (Wrightstown) 32-13 won by fall over David Hayes (Sparta) 27-14 (Fall 3:30)

152 – Brett Von Ruden (32-15) placed 2nd and scored 50.00 team points.
Round 1 – Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 32-15 won by fall over Ethan Brossard (Mishicot) 1-4 (Fall 0:33)
Round 3 – Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 32-15 won by fall over Tyler Mudd (West De Pere) 8-19 (Fall 0:57)
Quarterfinal – Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 32-15 won by major decision over Marty Kiernan (Ashwaubenon) 25-17 (MD 16-5)
Semifinal – Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 32-15 won by fall over Evan Sinda (Muskego) 30-10 (Fall 5:19)
1st Place Match – Jacob DeMeyer (Rhinelander) 48-2 won by decision over Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 32-15 (Dec 3-2)

160 – Hayden Krein (40-2) placed 1st and scored 56.00 team points.
Round 1 – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 40-2 won by fall over Brady Kinjerski (Mishicot) 0-3 (Fall 0:48)
Round 3 – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 40-2 won by fall over Zach Olbrantz (Ashwaubenon) 1-4 (Fall 1:49)
Quarterfinal – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 40-2 won by fall over Ben Terlion (Muskego) 15-12 (Fall 0:51)
Semifinal – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 40-2 won by fall over Colin Schuler (Hortonville) 33-14 (Fall 3:19)
1st Place Match – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 40-2 won by major decision over Devan Vandenbush (Luxemburg-Casco) 40-13 (MD 9-0)

170 – Mathias Krein (12-3) placed 9th and scored 27.00 team points.
Round 2 – Mathias Krein (Sparta) 12-3 won by fall over Jake Dessart (East Troy) 3-2 (Fall 1:00)
Round 3 – Edgar Heredia (Oshkosh West) 37-15 won by major decision over Mathias Krein (Sparta) 12-3 (MD 12-4)
Cons. Round 1 – Mathias Krein (Sparta) 12-3 won by fall over Noah Rugaber (Franklin) 16-14 (Fall 0:20)
Cons. Round 2 – Mathias Krein (Sparta) 12-3 won by major decision over Scout Wunder (Escanaba) 3-2 (MD 11-1)
9th Place Match – Mathias Krein (Sparta) 12-3 won by major decision over Jacob Stachowski (Mukwonago) 25-19 (MD 13-4)

182 – Kelten Pfaff (2-3) placed 21st and scored 4.00 team points.
Round 1 – Tim VandeVoort (Wrightstown) 9-8 won by decision over Kelten Pfaff (Sparta) 2-3 (Dec 8-5)
Round 2 – Isreal Gayle (Oak Creek) 5-5 won by decision over Kelten Pfaff (Sparta) 2-3 (Dec 9-5)
Cons. Round 1 – Quinton Schuyler Jr. (West De Pere) 8-10 won by fall over Kelten Pfaff (Sparta) 2-3 (Fall 5:42)
Cons. Round 2 – Kelten Pfaff (Sparta) 2-3 received a bye () (Bye)
21st Place Match – Kelten Pfaff (Sparta) 2-3 won by injury default over Mike Fedder (Pewaukee) 6-9 (Inj. 2:00)

195 – Marcus Cox (2-3) placed 18th and scored 6.00 team points.
Round 2 – Devyn Boehler (Muskego) 1-4 won by decision over Marcus Cox (Sparta) 2-3 (Dec 6-1)
Round 3 – Brock Danielski (Appleton North) 42-14 won by fall over Marcus Cox (Sparta) 2-3 (Fall 3:21)
Cons. Round 1 – Marcus Cox (Sparta) 2-3 received a bye () (Bye)
Cons. Round 2 – Marcus Cox (Sparta) 2-3 won by fall over Joey Selke (Mishicot) 1-3 (Fall 0:54)
17th Place Match – Jacob Peterson (Oconto Falls) 3-2 won by decision over Marcus Cox (Sparta) 2-3 (Dec 4-1)

220 – Garet Pfaff (15-18) placed 11th and scored 22.00 team points.
Round 2 – Garet Pfaff (Sparta) 15-18 received a bye () (Bye)
Round 3 – Ethan Witcpalek (Wrightstown) 22-22 won by decision over Garet Pfaff (Sparta) 15-18 (Dec 8-1)
Cons. Round 1 – Garet Pfaff (Sparta) 15-18 won by fall over John Pekar (Franklin) 1-4 (Fall 2:42)
Cons. Round 2 – Brady Buchman (Hortonville) 14-23 won by fall over Garet Pfaff (Sparta) 15-18 (Fall 4:46)
11th Place Match – Garet Pfaff (Sparta) 15-18 won by fall over David Sanchez (Oak Creek) 5-5 (Fall 1:46)

285 – Gabe Dearman (6-11) placed 12th and scored 17.00 team points.
Round 2 – Gabe Dearman (Sparta) 6-11 received a bye () (Bye)
Round 3 – Jacob Mast (East Troy) 21-17 won by fall over Gabe Dearman (Sparta) 6-11 (Fall 1:36)
Cons. Round 1 – Gabe Dearman (Sparta) 6-11 won by fall over Abel Savage (Pewaukee) 2-3 (Fall 6:00)
Cons. Round 2 – William Townley (Bay Port) 11-15 won by fall over Gabe Dearman (Sparta) 6-11 (Fall 2:34)
11th Place Match – Cole Kraynik (Mishicot) 19-22 won by fall over Gabe Dearman (Sparta) 6-11 (Fall 0:45)

Senior Brett Von Ruden improved upon last year’s runner-up finish to capture the 152-pound championship at the 2017 Ellsworth Invitational.

For the second year in a row, the Spartans captured second place at the Ellsworth Invitational finishing 77.5 points behind host and champion Ellsworth and 28.5 points ahead of third place Mora, Minn.

Winning individual titles for the Spartans were Jon Bailey, Brett Von Ruden, Hayden Krein and Garet Pfaff.  David Hayes and Mathias Krein both reached the championship matches, but placed second.  Vince Polhamus and Noah Benish finished the day 2-2 and with fourth place finishes.

Sparta’s four champions all improved from last year’s tournament.  Bailey, Von Ruden and Krein all lost their championship matches last year while Pfaff finished 7th in 2016.  David Hayes was a 4th place finisher in 2016 while this year’s tournament marked the first time Mathias Krein has wrestled at the Ellsworth Invitational.  Bailey, Von Ruden and Krein all captured championships during the 2015 edition of the tournament.

Full and summarized results are below…

120  –  Vince Polhamus, 4th Place, 2-2 with two pins
126  –  Jon Bailey, 1st Place, 4-0 with three pins
132  –  Thomas Treu, Did Not Place, 0-2
138  –  Seth Boland, 8th Place, 1-3
145  –  David Hayes, 2nd Place, 3-1 with a major decision
152  –  Brett Von Ruden, 1st Place, 4-0 with two pins and a technical fall
160  –  Hayden Krein, 1st Place, 3-0 with two pins
170  –  Mathias Krein, 2nd Place, 2-1 with a pin
182  –  Kelten Pfaff, 8th Place, 1-3
195  –  Marcus Cox, 8th Place, 1-3 with a pin
220  –  Garet Pfaff, 1st Place, 3-0 with two pins
285  –  Noah Benish, 4th Place, 2-2 with two pins

Team scores

  1. Ellsworth 255
  2. Sparta 172.5
  3. Mora 144
  4. Medford 121
  5. Prescott 118.5
  6. Cadott 97
  7. Northwestern 96
  8. Dover-Eyota 94
  9. Spring Valley/Elmwood 47
  10. Unity 43
  11. Benilde St.-Margarets 36
  12. Eau Claire North 32

120 – Vince Polhamus (8-5) placed 4th and scored 14.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Vince Polhamus (Sparta) 8-5 won by fall over Carlos Guzman (Eau Claire North) 15-14 (Fall 1:12)
Semifinal – Charlie Stuhl (Ellsworth) 38-5 won by tech fall over Vince Polhamus (Sparta) 8-5 (TF-1.5 0:00 (15-0))
Cons. Semi – Vince Polhamus (Sparta) 8-5 won by fall over Braden Trautt (Northwestern) 2-2 (Fall 3:42)
3rd Place Match – Taylor Defrang (Dover-Eyota) 36-9 won by decision over Vince Polhamus (Sparta) 8-5 (Dec 7-4)

126 – Jon Bailey (44-6) placed 1st and scored 28.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 44-6 won by fall over Jon Cain ELLS (Alternates) 1-2 (Fall 3:14)
Quarterfinal – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 44-6 won by fall over Nelson Wahl (Cadott) 3-2 (Fall 1:54)
Semifinal – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 44-6 won by fall over Walker Ewan (Medford) 17-7 (Fall 5:44)
1st Place Match – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 44-6 won by decision over Ryan Nosbush (Mora) 39-9 (Dec 2-0)

132 – Thomas Treu (2-16) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Thomas Treu (Sparta) 2-16 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal – Carter Duerkop (Eau Claire North) 36-8 won by major decision over Thomas Treu (Sparta) 2-16 (MD 17-3)
Cons. Round 2 – Emett Grunwald (Medford) 3-1 won by decision over Thomas Treu (Sparta) 2-16 (Dec 5-3)

138 – Seth Boland (1-3) placed 8th and scored 1.00 team points.
Prelim – Seth Boland (Sparta) 1-3 won by decision over Theodore Hall (Benilde St.-Margarets) 0-2 (Dec 7-6)
Quarterfinal – Sam Stuhl (Ellsworth) 51-0 won by fall over Seth Boland (Sparta) 1-3 (Fall 0:48)
Cons. Round 1 – Jordan Lindquist (Mora) 15-10 won by fall over Seth Boland (Sparta) 1-3 (Fall 1:58)
7th Place Match – Clayton Neisinger (Spring Valley/Elmwood) 13-21 won by fall over Seth Boland (Sparta) 1-3 (Fall 3:14)

145 – David Hayes (26-13) placed 2nd and scored 19.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – David Hayes (Sparta) 26-13 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal – David Hayes (Sparta) 26-13 won by major decision over Blake Lehnertz (Dover-Eyota) 20-14 (MD 16-3)
Semifinal – David Hayes (Sparta) 26-13 won by decision over Sawyer Hamilton ELLS (Alternates) 26-9 (Dec 2-1)
1st Place Match – Jared Lansing (Ellsworth) 37-14 won by major decision over David Hayes (Sparta) 26-13 (MD 12-2)

152 – Brett Von Ruden (32-14) placed 1st and scored 27.50 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 32-14 won by fall over Andrew Krone (Unity) 0-2 (Fall 1:55)
Quarterfinal – Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 32-14 won by tech fall over Isaiah Tulip (Prescott) 9-16 (TF-1.5 0:00 (21-6))
Semifinal – Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 32-14 won by fall over Hunter Fredrickson (Mora) 22-21 (Fall 1:31)
1st Place Match – Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 32-14 won by decision over Brady Spaeth (Cadott) 42-5 (Dec 6-5)

160 – Hayden Krein (38-2) placed 1st and scored 24.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 38-2 won by fall over Andrew Shelstad (Prescott) 13-14 (Fall 1:01)
Semifinal – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 38-2 won by fall over Jon Smith (Mora) 30-16 (Fall 2:29)
1st Place Match – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 38-2 won by decision over James Pfeiffer (Cadott) 41-6 (Dec 11-5)

170 – Mathias Krein (10-3) placed 2nd and scored 18.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Mathias Krein (Sparta) 10-3 won by decision over Dalton George (Ellsworth) 27-12 (Dec 10-5)
Semifinal – Mathias Krein (Sparta) 10-3 won by fall over Danny Schroeder (Mora) 21-22 (Fall 5:19)
1st Place Match – Kolten Hanson (Medford) 46-4 won by fall over Mathias Krein (Sparta) 10-3 (Fall 1:30)

182 – Kelten Pfaff (1-3) placed 8th and scored 1.00 team points.
Prelim – Jaydon Nyeggen (Spring Valley/Elmwood) 2-2 won by decision over Kelten Pfaff (Sparta) 1-3 (Dec 4-1)
Prelim – Kelten Pfaff (Sparta) 1-3 won by decision over Dalton Krug (Medford) 0-2 (Dec 5-4)
Cons. Round 1 – Andrew Hanson (Northwestern) 26-14 won by fall over Kelten Pfaff (Sparta) 1-3 (Fall 1:54)
7th Place Match – Jaydon Nyeggen (Spring Valley/Elmwood) 2-2 won by decision over Kelten Pfaff (Sparta) 1-3 (Dec 8-7)

195 – Marcus Cox (1-3) placed 8th and scored 3.00 team points.
Prelim – Tristan Knutson (Unity) 5-5 won by decision over Marcus Cox (Sparta) 1-3 (Dec 10-3)
Prelim – Marcus Cox (Sparta) 1-3 won by fall over Ikenna Ujuagu (Benilde St.-Margarets) 9-19 (Fall 4:16)
Cons. Round 1 – Mike Hines (Ellsworth) 3-6 won by decision over Marcus Cox (Sparta) 1-3 (Dec 13-7)
7th Place Match – Tristan Knutson (Unity) 5-5 won by decision over Marcus Cox (Sparta) 1-3 (Dec 1-0)

220 – Garet Pfaff (15-16) placed 1st and scored 24.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Garet Pfaff (Sparta) 15-16 won by fall over Collin McCarthy MORA (Alternates) 1-3 (Fall 3:05)
Semifinal – Garet Pfaff (Sparta) 15-16 won in overtime over Logan Peterson (Ellsworth) 8-4 (OT 2-1)
1st Place Match – Garet Pfaff (Sparta) 15-16 won by fall over Tanner Grangruth (Mora) 12-14 (Fall 2:50)

285 – Noah Benish (4-10) placed 4th and scored 13.00 team points.
Quarterfinal – Caleb Linder (Ellsworth) 24-19 won by fall over Noah Benish (Sparta) 4-10 (Fall 1:55)
Cons. Round 1 – Noah Benish (Sparta) 4-10 won by fall over Dean Nash (Eau Claire North) 9-12 (Fall 3:21)
Cons. Semi – Noah Benish (Sparta) 4-10 won by fall over Carson Johnson (Unity) 7-21 (Fall 2:20)
3rd Place Match – Caleb Linder (Ellsworth) 24-19 won by fall over Noah Benish (Sparta) 4-10 (Fall 2:26)

Three Spartans are ranked in the top three of the first Wisconsin Wrestling Online rankings released on Thursday while the Spartans are ranked eight as a team in division one.

At 126 pounds, junior Jon Bailey is the top-ranked wrestler in the state in division one.  It’s his first time atop the rankings and he is one spot ahead of Arrowhead’s Dominic Dentino.  Bailey defeated Dentino in the division one 120-pound third place match at the state tournament last year.  Jessie Tijerina (9th) and Dylan Herbrand (10th) are two other ranked wrestlers in the section at 126-pounds.

At 152 pounds, Brett Von Ruden finds himself with his highest ranking ever at third.  Spartan alum Joel Dutton’s son, Reese Dutton of Kenosha Tremper, is ranked 8th.  The top-ranked wrestler at 152 pounds is Middleton’s Kevin Meicher.  No other wrestlers in the section are ranked besides Meicher.

At 160 pounds, Hayden Krein debuts at second behind West Allis Hale’s Peyton Mocco.  Holmen’s Reed Williams (HM) and DeForest’s Austin Rauls (HM) are the only other ranked wrestlers in the section.

Spartan team in top 10

For the second year in a row, the Spartans debuted in the top ten of the first Wisconsin Wrestling Online rankings.  Sparta is ranked 8th while conference rival Holmen checks in at third.  The first two dual meets of the year for the Spartans were against teams in the rankings.  Marshfield is currently ranked 10th in division one while Fennimore is ranked 2nd in division three.

To see the full Wisconsin Wrestling Online TEAM rankings, click here.

To see the full Wisconsin Wrestling Online INDIVIDUAL rankings, click here.

Senior Brett Von Ruden picked up a last second 3-2 victory over the 10th-ranked wrestler at 160 pounds in division one.

Marshfield won 9 of 14 matches including the final five to defeat Sparta 41-24 Thursday evening in the first ever dual meeting between the Spartans and Tigers.  Marshfield’s strongest part of their lineup is their upper weights, which feature four ranked wrestlers.

The match started out with each team forfeiting a match.  Sparta’s Louis Cruz won by forfeit at 106 while Marshfield picked up a forfeit at 113 before Vince Polhamus and Marshfield’s Simon Baity wrestled the first actual match of the night.  That went in favor of Polhamus who was dominant picking up a second period pin in 3:17.

At 126, Jon Bailey, the top-ranked wrestler at 126 in division one, won by technical fall over Marshfield’s Caden Dennee.  The wins by Polhamus and Bailey put the Spartans up 17-6 in the early going, but Marshfield would rattle off three consecutive wins–one by major decision and another by pin to take a 19-17 lead.

That lead would be short-lived as the Spartans won the next two matches to take a 24-19 lead.  In a matchup of the third-ranked wrestler at 152 pounds in division one in Brett Von Ruden and the 10th-ranked wrestler in division one at 160, it was Von Ruden who emerged with a 3-2 victory scoring a takedown in the final seconds to pick up three points for the Spartans.  At 160, second-ranked Hayden Krein won 19-7 to put the Spartans up 24-19.

The Tigers would win the final five matches–two by pin and two by major decision–to win the dual 41-24.

Here is the summary for last night’s dual…

106  –  Louis Cruz wins by forfeit
113  –  Gabe Pugh (Marshfield) wins by forfeit
120  –  Vince Polhamus pinned Simon Baity (Marshfield) in 3:17
126  –  Jon Bailey won by 15-0 technical fall over Caden Dennee (Marshfield)
132  –  Tanner Kanable (Marshfield) won by major decision over Thomas Treu 14-5
138  –  Spencer Wirthlin (Marshfield) pinned Seth Boland in 1:41
145  –  Caden Pearce (Marshfield) defeats David Hayes 3-1
152  –  Brett Von Ruden defeats Nolan Hertel (Marshfield) 3-2
160  –  Hayden Krein won by major decision against Payton Young (Marshfield) 19-7
170  –  Bentley Schwanebeck-Ostermann (Marshfield) won by major decision against Mathias Krein 14-6
182  –  Ben Gust (Marshfield) defeated Kelten Pfaff 8-1
195  –  Sam Mitchell (Marshfield) pinned Marcus Cox in 0:32
220  –  Alex Brost (Marshfield) defeated Garet Pfaff 9-4
285  –  Connor Berry (Marshfield) pinned Noah Benish in 5:58

Sparta is not entirely healthy or at full strength yet.  New weight rules mean some guys who typically wrestle varsity won’t see action until later this month while others are recovering from various ailments.  Not to mention, Marshfield is a solid team up and down the lineup.  With the loss, the Spartans fall to 1-1 on the year.  There is little time to rest as the Spartans had to Bayport High School tomorrow for the Battle on the Bay.

Benish’s last second takedown was critical in Sparta’s victory over Fennimore.

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

JV Results
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!

Monday marked the beginning of the 2017-18 season as practices kicked off at the high school.  Sparta will be looking to improve upon their second place finish in conference and prevent Holmen from making it three conference championships in a row.  Below, we will briefly look at each competition date on the calendar.  If you want to keep track of the schedule and how the Spartans are doing, keep visiting, but you can also bookmark the following page to see the schedule and follow the results…

2017-18 Schedule & Results

Returning wrestlers with varsity experience include Blake Brooks, Vince Polhamus, Thomas Treu, Jon Bailey, Kyle Erickson, David Hayes, Brett Von Ruden, Mathias Krein, Hayden Krein, Cole Wisniewski, Garet Pfaff, Gabe Dearman and Noah Benish.

Vince Polhamus (106), Jon Bailey (126), Brett Von Ruden (152) and Hayden Krein (160) all earned first team MVC honors during the 2016-17 season.  Blake Brooks earned 2nd team honors last season while Kyle Erickson and David Hayes were honorable mention.

Onto the preview…

Thursday, November 30th at Fennimore
The Spartans were dominant last season defeating the defending division three state team champions 46-21 in Sparta.  This year they travel to Fennimore to host the 2016-17 state team runner-ups.  It will be a tough dual for the Spartans as Fennimore is a perennial power and will feature five returning state qualifiers including defending 126-pound D3 state champion Trevor Wanek.  The lower and middle weights in this dual will be critical.

Saturday, December 2nd at Ellsworth Invitational
Both the varsity and JV will travel to Ellsworth to kick off December wrestling.  Last year, the Spartans finished 2nd at Ellsworth with Jaden Winchel Sparta’s lone champion.  Jon Bailey, Brett Von Ruden, Hayden Krein and Austin Zwiefel all placed second.  Ellsworth ran away with the tournament scoring 255.5 points to second-place Sparta’s 182.5.

Ellsworth has been among the D2 titans for over a decade now and they will feature another stacked squad.  They edged Luxemburg-Casco 27-26 in the state team finals last season.  Between the Fennimore dual and the Ellsworth invitational, the Spartans will not wait long before running into some top-level competition.

Thursday, December 7 at Marshfield
This is a new dual for the Spartans and it will be against a tough Marshfield squad.  Marshfield started out the 2016-17 season unranked in division one, but rose to as high as 5th before falling to Hudson 36-33 at team sectionals.

Saturday, December 9th at Battle on the Bay
Sparta will head back to Bayport High School for the Battle on the Bay tournament.  Last year, the Spartans finished second to D2 state team runner-up Luxemburg-Casco in the 24-team tournament.  The Spartans will get right into it the first month of the season as this is another tough tournament.  Last year, Jaden Winchel and Hayden Krein emerged as Sparta’s only champions.  Returning Spartans with experience at this tournament include Blake Brooks (4th at 106), Jon Bailey (2nd at 120), Thomas Treu (17th at 126), Kyle Erickson (10th at 132), David Hayes (8th at 138), Brett Von Ruden (5th at 152), James Gann (12th at 182) and Garet Pfaff (17th at 220).

Thursday, December 14th vs. La Crosse Aquinas
Sparta’s home and conference opener will feature the 29th meeting of the Spartans and Blugolds.  It’s been all Sparta in this history with the good guys owning a 24-4 all-time record against Aquinas.  This year, Sparta will look to make it 13 in a row after defeating the Blugolds 67-6 last season.

Saturday, December 16th at Willard Schmidt Scramble
Another new addition to the schedule, the Spartans will head all the way back to the east side of the state to Green Bay Preble High School to participate in the Willard Schmidt Scramble.  Last year’s 14 teams included division one state team champion Kaukauna, division two state team runner-up Luxemburg-Casco and Lomira (finished as the 4th-ranked team in D2 in the final Wisconsin Wrestling Online rankings).

Thursday, December 21st vs. Onalaska
The Spartans will host the combined team of Onalaska and Onalaska Luther in their final dual of 2017.  Last year, the Spartans dominated Onalaska 62-15 to improve to 30-0 all-time against the Hilltoppers.

Friday, December 29th and Saturday, December 30th at the Bi-State Classic
The Spartans finished as the top team in division one and third overall at the 60-team tournament.  Jon Bailey captured his second Bi-State title in as many years to join Hayden Krein as Sparta’s champions at this event.  Jaden Winchel was a finalist, but placed second.  Top teams at last year’s tournament included overall champion Stratford, Ellsworth, Luxemburg-Casco, River Valley and Hudson.  Marshfield, who the Spartans will see three weeks before Bi-State, finished 8th overall and 4th in division one at last year’s tournament.

Thursday, January 4th at Logan/Central
The combined wrestling programs of La Crosse Logan and La Crosse Central will host Sparta at Central High School to kick off wrestling action in 2017.  The Spartans hold a combined record of 47-16 against the programs of Logan and Central, which will now form one program after years of declining participation lead to many dual meets with multiple forfeits.  Last year, the Spartans defeated Logan 63-9 and Central 60-17.

The combined team will be without standouts Jaden Van Maanen and Connor Williams who were lost to graduation.  There were no ranked wrestlers from La Crosse Logan in the final Wisconsin Wrestling Online rankings of 2016-17.  Van Maanen and Williams were the top-ranked wrestlers in D1 at their respective weight classes before the state tournament with Van Maanen capturing a state title and Williams finishing third.

Saturday, January 6th at Lancaster Invitational
The varsity will head back to Lancaster for their first tournament action of 2018.  Last year, the Spartans won the tournament by 49.5 points over second place Iowa-Grant/Highland.  Jaden Winchel, Hayden Krein and Austin Zwiefel left as champions.  Teams at Lancaster last year included Iowa-Grant/Highland, Darlington, Cashton, Dubuque Wahlert, Brodhead and Lancaster, obviously.

Saturday, January 13th at Brookfield Scramble
The Spartans finished second to Oak Creek at the Brookfield Scramble last year with David Hayes, Jaden Winchel and Hayden Krein emerging as champions.  Blake Brooks finished second, Jon Bailey third, Kyle Erickson 6th, Brett Von Ruden 2nd and Noah Benish 7th place.  Top teams at this tournament last year included Oak Creek, Muskego, Fort Atkinson, Beaver Dam, Whitnall, Kenosha Tremper and Catholic Memorial.

Thursday, January 18th vs. Tomah
Sparta will host Tomah in the 63rd meeting between these rivals.  Tomah holds the all-time advantage with a 37-25 record over the Spartans, but the Timberwolves came up short last year losing at home 42-21.  Sparta won nine of 14 matches against a young Tomah squad that should be a tougher matchup for the Spartans this year.  Tomah returns junior Dawson Lambert (2nd place at sectionals, state qualifier at 106, 17-3 overall), junior Cody Zimmerman (19-5 overall at 113), sophomore Owen Walters (23-13 overall at 120), senior Bobby Bemis (17-8 overall at 132) and junior Angel Burkhalter (15-8 at 195).

Gone are Tommy Repka (36-8 at 126), Hunter Pierce (35-10 at 138), Casey Curran (30-11 at 152) and Justice Blackhawk (27-16 at 182).

Saturday, January 20th at Sparta Invitational
The Spartans will host the 45th Sparta Invitational Saturday, January 20th at Meadowview Middle School.  Last year, the Spartans edged out Marshfield for the team title winning by seven points.  The team title was in question until the final two matches of the day.  Jaden Winchel was Sparta’s only individual champion last year.  Blake Brooks and Jon Bailey finished second while Kyle Erickson, Brett Von Ruden and Austin Zwiefel all finished third.  David Hayes was 5th while Mathias Krein finished in 6th place filling in for his injured brother Hayden.

Top teams at last year’s tournament include the aforementioned Marshfield, Reedsburg, West Salem and Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal.  Mason Phillips of Eau Claire North will be one of the top visiting wrestlers having three state tournament appearances on his resume and multiple podium finishes.  After going 15 years without a team title at their own invitational, the Spartans brought home the gold in 2012 and since then have won it four out of the past six years.

Thursday, February 1st at Holmen
The Spartans fell to Holmen 41-24 last year in a dual that determined who would win the MVC.  The Spartans were without Hayden Krein and lost two matches by less than three points.  It was the 12th time in the 27-year history of the MVC that Sparta and Holmen had occupied the top two spots.  We may be in for more of the same this year as Holmen brings back a solid squad that will be a challenge for the Spartans.

Returning for Holmen is sophomore Alex Pellowski (27-16 at 106), junior Rylee Rensberry (25-10 at 113, 3rd at sectionals), senior Trevor Plomedahl (20-10 at 120, 3rd at sectionals), senior Tanner Schultz (35-6, sectional champion and state qualifier at 132), senior Zach Gordon (14-6 at 145), senior Reed Williams (30-13 at 152), junior Kalyn Jahn (44-10 at 160, 5th at state), senior Isaac Lahr (31-9 at 170, state qualifier), senior Jack Westscott (39-12 at 195, state qualifier) and junior Jesse Fiers (19-9 at 285).

Gone for the Vikings are Noah Steinhoff (9-3 at 182, 3rd place at sectionals) and Brett Davis (29-9 at 220).

Get to Holmen early for this one as it will be a packed gym.

Saturday, February 10th at WIAA Regionals at Baraboo
Saturday, February 17th at WIAA Sectionals at Waunakee
Tournament season begins!  Last year, the Spartans were lucky with regional and sectional stops in Holmen and Tomah so travel was short.  This year, the Spartans will be putting on some miles with regionals at Baraboo and Sectionals at Waunakee.  Last season, the Spartans finished second to Holmen at regionals and saw eight wrestlers advance to sectionals.  Jon Bailey and Hayden Krein were Sparta’s champions while David Hayes, Jaden Wichel and Brett Von Ruden all placed second.  Blake Brooks, Kyle Erickson and Matt Fahning finished third.

At sectionals, four Spartans advanced to the state tournament.  Making his second trip to state was sophomore Jon Bailey, juniors Brett Von Ruden and Hayden Krein each made their third trip to state while senior Jaden Winchel made his fourth.  Kyle Erickson finished third while Blake Brooks, David Hayes and Matt Fahning were one and done.

February 22-24, 2017 at WIAA State Individual Tournament
The last time the Spartans did not have a state tournament qualifier was 2001 and the Spartans have failed to send a wrestler to the state tournament only twice since 1985.  Seniors Brett Von Ruden and Hayden Krein have each qualified three times while junior Jon Bailey has qualified twice.  There has also been a Spartan on the podium every year since 2012.

From left: Vince Polhamus, Jon Bailey, Brett Von Ruden and Hayden Krein

Ten Spartan wrestlers earned All-MVC honors for the 2016-17 season.  Vince Polhamus, Jon Bailey, Brett Von Ruden and Hayden Krein all earned first team honors while Blake Brooks, Jaden Winchel, Matt Fahning and Austin Zwiefel earned second team honors.  Kyle Erickson and David Hayes were honorable mention All-MVC.

For Jon Bailey, Brett Von Ruden and Hayden Krein, this is the second time each have earned first team honors.

Senior Jaden Winchel finished his high school career 23-0 with 15 pins in MVC action yet was only a three-time 1st team award winner.  He was 1st Team All-MVC his first three years and finished second as a senior.  Central’s Jaden Van Maanen earned the 145-pound 1st team honor this season despite wrestling five of six matches at 152 pounds.  His one other match was at 145.  Likewise, Winchel wrestled every match at 145 except for one at 152 pounds.  Conference bylaws dictate that a wrestler need only wrestle one match at one weight class to earn consideration at that weight class.  Always tough to see a guy go 23-0 over four years without much competition and not earn all-conference all four years, but the rules are the rules.

Click here to see the full list of 2016-17 MVC All-Conference award winners.

From left: Justin Schroeder, Chris Buckley, Steve Kimpel, Rob Kimpel and Joel Dutton

Wisconsin wrestling lost a legendary coach and even better man last month with the passing of former UW-Parkside wrestling coach Jim Koch.  The Rangers coach from 1970 until his retirement in 2011 was hit by a car while running between sessions at the division one wrestling tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.  Koch was the first wrestling coach at Parkside.  He coached 68 wrestlers to the national tournament and accumulated 277 dual meet victories in his 41 seasons.

Jim Koch

His wrestlers earned 128 All-American honors, 80 Academic All-American honors and 14 times his wrestlers won national championships.  His teams finished ranked in the top 10 at the end of 23 seasons.  He was inducted into the Wisconsin-Parkside Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012 and he is also a member of the NCAA division two wrestling hall of fame, the NAIA wrestling hall of fame and many others.

During his time at Parkside, Koch coached a number of Spartan wrestlers who have great memories of the coach.  Steve Kimpel, Rob Kimpel, Justin Schroeder, Chris Buckley and Joel Dutton all wrestled for Coach Koch.  Four of them–Steve Kimpel (25th), Joel Dutton (56th), Rob Kimpel (96th) and Justin Schroeder (134th) were named to the program’s top 150 wrestlers in 2008.

Below, the five Spartan alumni who wrestled for Coach Koch share their thoughts on their time at Parkside and what Koch meant to them.

Steve Kimpel
Former head wrestling coach at Colorado School of Mines and Wabash College.  He currently teaches in the Exercise and Sports Science department at Brigham Young University-Idaho.  As an athlete, he was a three-time collegiate All-American and trained briefly with athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  In 2007, he received the Coaching Excellence Award from the National Wrestling Coaches Association.  He wrote the book Wrestle and Win: The Wrestler’s Guide to Strength, Conditioning, Nutrition and College Preparation.

As a Spartan, Kimpel was a two-time MVC first team wrestler and three-time state qualifier.  At the collegiate level, Kimpel was a two-time All-American at UW-Parkside finishing 4th in the nation at 158 pounds in 1994 and 5th in the nation at 150 pounds in 1993.  In 1995, Kimpel earned his third All-American honor finishing 4th in the nation in division two at 158 pounds for the University of Southern Colorado.

My name is Steve Kimpel and I wrestled at 158 lbs for Coach Koch between 1988 and 1994. As I have thought about Coach almost continually over the last week and particularly in the last 48 hours, the thing that comes to my mind most frequently is his character ethic. Obviously those who know him observed that he lived it to a fault.  In fact, it was one of the idiosyncrasies that I think prevented us from appreciating him fully during our time as student-athletes.

His diligence in never missing a day of running, a weekly celebration of Mass, and other regular devotions was something that stood out to me and was inspirational.  Because of some things I have adopted, I’ve benefited from doing several of what I call “minute miracles” the effects of which have been great after several years.

Among Coach’s spoken gems were two that have been written on my mind, the first of which came when I felt I was in a personal crisis.  He listened somewhat distractedly, which was his typical body language, and then said, “Ya know Steve, I’ve kind of learned over the years that things are rarely as bad as they seem and rarely as good as they seem.” And there it was.  Nothing had changed with regard to the situation plaguing me, but I walked away with a little more hope, and in the end he was right.  I have thought of that many times in the years since then and it has always helped me to start thinking a little more rationally.

The second bit of wisdom he imparted that imprinted on me came at the beginning of the 1993-94 school year when our team entered wrestling season ranked number one in the country and were picked to win the national tournament.  During one of our early season meetings Coach presented us with a document detailing what the acronym WIN was to mean for us going forward.  It stood for “What’s Important Now?” What was intriguing to me was that most of the document outlined things we should be doing off the mat more than on the mat.  Coach truly was interested in our development as people not just athletes.

Kimpel at one of his wrestling camps in Sparta.

in attending that initiated discussions of a wrestling scholarship.  However, I planned to serve a church mission for two years between my freshmen and sophomore years and all but a few programs said they would not scholarship me if I would be leaving.  However, I think Coach was kind of intrigued by the idea and offered the scholarship. This is not remarkable until one understands his next investment in me.

The second investment he made in me was one for which he would get no return.  At the end of my junior year, I was a two-time All-American and the highest returning national place winner in the country at my weight class. However, I also had a chance to move to Colorado Springs to train with the Resident Athlete Program, which was a new program for Greco-Roman wrestlers at the Olympic Training Center. Originally, I planned to forgo my last year of collegiate eligibility and focus on Greco-Roman, but ultimately decided to wrestle my last year in college while I was training for Greco.

I asked for an appointment with Coach and outlined my plan along with a request for a release university so I could talk with the University of Southern Colorado (now Colorado State).  We talked for an hour or so, and although I had been nervous to approach him he mostly had a lot of questions and some encouragement.  There were so many things he could have said, such as the fact that he funded me before and after a two-year mission and included a red-shirt year, or that he was one of only a handful of coaches who didn’t withdraw the scholarship offer when they learned of my mission.   He also could have brought up many dumb things I did my freshman year, but he didn’t.  I learned later that he took some criticism from members of the team, a few alumni, and some administrators for giving me the release to accept a scholarship with USC.

I still don’t know what made him willing to do that, but ironically that was a major turning point in my athletic career and changed how I began to view Coach and my relationship with him. I began to think about the various character attributes and wisdom in life he possessed.  A few years later I tore my ACL at the Olympic Training Center and began into coaching myself, first as an assistant for a program and then as head coach for two other universities.  In my new role, I found myself once again looking to Coach for advice on everything from how to run an event to how to handle problem athletes or high-pressure administrators.

He was certainly not a gifted conversationalist and more than once he might actually doze off in the middle of a conversation.  Notwithstanding those quirks his outlook on life and how to react to things was predictable, steady, and often right, when viewed in the big picture.

I might take a moment and speak about how I’ve been treated by the wrestling program after I left.  Given that I spent the next dozen years either competing or coaching against  Wisconsin-Parkside, mostly at larger events such as the National Duals, the Midwest Classic, or the NCAA Championships, one would think that the athletes and coaches would have turned a cold shoulder to me.  However, it has been quite the contrary.  I have been welcomed with gracious hospitality to any wrestling program event over the last twenty-three years.  That speaks to me of the great culture of family in that program, which I think owes itself to the way Coach ran the program.  There were definitely frustrating experiences, but I cannot think of a more perfect set of experiences (the good and the bad) to bond people together in a way that endures.

Learning of Coach Koch’s accident and passing was much more difficult for me than I would have expected, but even in this there has come a lesson for me about what I can learn from the untimely death of a great person.  Had Coach Koch live another twenty years I doubt I would have spent as much time thinking about the life lessons he has taught me.  I seldom reflect much on the passing of someone for whom a goodly age tolls the bell.  With the passing of Coach, I have spent many hours thinking not only about things I learned from him (and easily an equal number of silly things he did) but I’ve also thought about how he was basically an ordinary man who leaves such a legacy because his job and his habits allowed him to do such great service for many athletes who might have had much less direction at that time in their lives.  I was one of them in spite of all having good parents and excellent mentors in my high school program.  This gives me an example to follow in my various roles.

For the last 20 years or so I have hoped that my actions would bring honor to those who have invested in me–a list people which includes Coach Koch.  Even the possibility that he and a few others who have passed away might be aware of my decisions at various points in the future is motivating and something I take seriously.


Steve Kimpel
Rexburg, Idaho
(formerly of Sparta, Wisconsin)


Joel Dutton
Elementary school teacher in the Kenosha, Wisc. school district.  Head wrestling coach at Kenosha Tremper High School.  After graduating from Parkside, Dutton stayed on for one season as a grad assistant in the wrestling program.  He spent two years as an assistant wrestling coach at Racine Horlick, was an assistant coach for two years at Parkside and just finished his 14th season as head coach at Kenosha Tremper.  He is now in his 19th year of teaching.

At Parkside, Dutton finished 4th in the nation at 126 pounds in 1993.  As a Spartan, he was a two-time MVC first team wrestler, a two-time state qualifier with a third place finish at 125 pounds in 1989.  He ranks 13th all-time in Spartan history with 114 career victories.

Not sure where to start; I’m deeply saddened. Coach recruited me and Steve, Buck, Justin and Rob because he believed in us, he saw in us potential and not just because of our wrestling abilities but our character.  Our coaches, Zurf, Mont, and Mr Smith prepared us well and he recognized that. Coach then filled the void when we left our families and came to college; he became our family.  He always was there to help with anything we had going on that was important to us and just being a friend.  Most importantly, he made me see the importance of graduating.

I thought when I stepped on campus that wrestling was the degree I was pursuing; I still had goals I wanted to reach and that was my priority.  He made me see the big picture that I can reach my goals and set myself up for life after wrestling…and it wasn’t easy, we had lots of discussions and I still think about the impact those conversations had on where I’m at today.  Conversations were what made Coach such a unique and great person.  He could talk with anyone and often did…I remember countless times when we’d finish weighing in and we’re ready to go eat but couldn’t because Coach was still talking with someone…”Come on Coach, we’re hungry,” someone would yell.  It seemed most times I’d stop in to see him there was people already talking with him or a waiting line to chat with him. Incredibly, he was also the master of falling asleep during a conversation wrestling trips and a little while later waking up and not missing a beat about the topic of discussion…but as I think back, he probably never slept because people were always calling on him and he was always there for them regardless the time or place.

Coach definitely left us with a lot of great experiences in wrestling as well.  I was part of teams that were ranked number 1 in the country and also became and ALL American in the process. We traveled across the country and wrestled in 15 different states and like a family stopped and visited all the big attractions while on the road.  We also wrestled many tournaments with the D1 powerhouses like Iowas, UW, Okie State, Missouri, etc…that always made us feel our worth even if we got beat up a little bit.  And even when it was all over, Coach was still there for me when I started my own journey after Parkside.  He supported me as a coach, father and husband.

I still can’t believe he is gone and I wish we could have one more talk, but I will always appreciate everything he did for me and never forget him.  Love ya Coach!

Joel Dutton
Gr. 5 Teacher – Jefferson Elem.
Wrestling Coach – Kenosha Tremper HS
Wrestling Coach – Kenosha Wrestling Club


Dutton (left) and Schroeder (right) after Dutton’s Kenosha Tremper team won team sectionals in 2011.

Justin Schroeder
Justin is a certified nurse anesthetist at Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin.  As a Spartan, he was the program’s first state champion and first two-time state champion.

Coach gave me an opportunity to wrestle with 4 other alum at the college level.  That’s an experience I wouldn’t trade.  When I think about it, so many great memories.  I earned a scholarship that really provided me a future, as I’m not sure how my family could’ve afforded my college education at the time. That was a direct result of my previous teammates, and coach listening and taking the time to recruit me. My kids have benefited greatly from that extension, and if/when they choose to continue their education at the higher level, I’ll be able to provide for them.

I’d like to thank coach for allowing me to participate as a student assistant for two seasons after I was done competing. It gave me an opportunity to coach at the university level, and really start me where I am today.  Still hanging around the wrestling room, influencing young wrestlers, encouraging them to reach their goals, and compete at the next level.  Like I said, I have many great memories, and that’s what life is all about. Coach was a trivia savant, and always had the answer.  His itinerary on road trips was incredible too say the least.  Somehow he found himself in the middle of our pranks more than once.  Does anyone remember the hotel mattress switch on Koch?  Or the Mexican place in the basement of an Italian place in Canada. I recall the spicy rice, followed up with vinegar in the water glass, yikes!  Coach was never going to pass up leftovers on the table.  Although I agree with him, that was “dang dirty pool.”

Gotta thank Coach for so many things I have now, that I didn’t necessarily appreciate at the time.  Wish I could have seen him one more time, so close being at the same venue and just didn’t meet up yet.


Chris Buckley
Facilities Shop Supervisor at UW-Eau Claire.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UW-Parkside.  As a Spartan, Buckley was a two-time MVC first team wrestler and made his only trip to the state tournament count with a runner-up finish at 152 pounds in 1989.

You know I just really appreciate the help he gave me in getting a college degree.   He really stressed to me the importance of leaving UW-Parkside with a degree.  Every Christmas he would send me and I am sure a great deal of his former wrestlers a letter to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and he would also update everyone on what he had been up to in the last year.  I really enjoyed hearing about his extensive traveling with his girlfriend Donna, his dogs, etc.  I am really going to miss those letters.


Rob Kimpel
Rob currently lives in the Phoenix, Arizona area and is a licensed, public insurance adjuster with the Arizona Department of Insurance.  As a Spartan, Rob was an MVC first team selection in 1989, a two-time state qualifier with a 4th place finish at 152 pounds in 1990 and a runner-up finish at 152 in 1991.  He finished 5th in the nation at 150 pounds at UW-Parkside in 1993.

Coach Koch was a great man who had a profound influence on so many lives.  He invested in me and believed in me when I didn’t really believe in myself.

Although we did not communicate regularly, we had spoken by phone several times over the past 20+ years.  He was always glad to hear from me and sincerely interested in my family and my career and seems so  surprised that I didn’t end up homeless.

Coach will definitely be missed.  My thought and prayers go out to all of his family, friends and UW Parkside family alike.

After losses in the quarterfinals and semifinals, 3rd place finishes were the best that sophomore Jon Bailey and junior Hayden Krein could hope for and that’s exactly what they battled back to earn after decisive and cathartic victories Saturday afternoon.

For sophomore Bailey, it was the second straight year he ended his state tournament in the third place match.  Last year, he lost in the third place bout 6-4 to Hortonville’s Eric Barnett.  This year, Barnett went 45-0 at 106 pounds and won the division one state championship.  Bailey lost in last year’s semifinal to Arrowhead’s Dominic Dentino 3-2 in overtime.  His opponent in this year’s division one 113-pound third place match?  Dentino.  This year it was Bailey coming away with an overtime victory–this time by a 3-1 score.

For Bailey, this is two podium appearances in two years.  His only loss at state this year was an overtime defeat to Stevens Point’s Dylan Koontz who ended up losing in the finals, but hadn’t lost since 2015 before that.  It was an incredibly strong tournament by Bailey and one he should be proud of.  Congrats, Jon, on an outstanding season.  Bailey finishes the season with a 40-6 record to follow up his 43-6 freshman campaign.

At 160 pounds, Hayden Krein stormed back from his loss in the semifinals to win two matches in decisive fashion to capture third place. His first wrestleback was against Holmen’s Kalyn Jahn. It was the fourth time these two had met this year and the third time in three weeks.  It’s always tough to beat a wrestler of Jahn’s caliber and even tougher to do it three times in as many weeks, but Krein emerged victorious with a 9-2 decision.  That brought Krein to the third place bout, which was a rematch of the opening round of the tournament and little would change.  Krein pinned Kenosha Bradford/Reuther’s Jake Deates in 3:52 to earn a spot on the podium for the third time in three years.

Hayden Krein has ended each of his first three seasons on the podium at the state tournament.  His first year was Sparta’s last year in division two and that ended with a third place finish at 152 pounds.  Last year, he won the division one 152-pound state championship.  The three podium finishes matches a program record held by John Roddick.  It’s hard enough to make it to state, harder yet to win a match once you get there, but to place three times in three years–that’s an incredible accomplishment.  Congrats, Hayden on a great season.  Krein finishes the year with a 36-2 record.

Full match-by-match results from the entire state tournament are below…

D1-113 – Jon Bailey (40-6) placed 3rd and scored 16.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 40-6 won by fall over Cole Ramos (Kenosha Bradford/Reuther) 44-5 (Fall 0:35)
Quarterfinal – Brady Koontz (Stevens Point) 36-1 won in sudden victory – 1 over Jon Bailey (Sparta) 40-6 (SV-1 7-5)
Cons. Round 1 – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 40-6 won by decision over John Diener (Kaukauna) 29-12 (Dec 5-2)
Cons. Round 2 – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 40-6 won by decision over Jalen Spuhler (Hartford Union) 44-9 (Dec 6-1)
Cons. Semi – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 40-6 won by decision over Cole Gille (Pulaski) 38-5 (Dec 5-0)
3rd Place Match – Jon Bailey (Sparta) 40-6 won in sudden victory – 1 over Dominic Dentino (Arrowhead) 36-5 (SV-1 3-1)

D1-145 – Jaden Winchel (40-5) place is unknown and scored 4.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Jaden Winchel (Sparta) 40-5 won by major decision over Waymon McNeal (Germantown) 43-3 (MD 15-6)
Quarterfinal – Garrett Model (Stoughton) 46-6 won by fall over Jaden Winchel (Sparta) 40-5 (Fall 3:34)
Cons. Round 1 – Jaden Winchel (Sparta) 40-5 won by decision over Keenan Graef (West De Pere) 33-9 (Dec 7-2)
Cons. Round 2 – Austin Thomas (Waterford) 24-7 won by decision over Jaden Winchel (Sparta) 40-5 (Dec 2-1)

D1-152 – Brett Von Ruden (29-14) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Shane Gantz (Waukesha West) 41-2 won by decision over Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 29-14 (Dec 8-3)
Cons. Round 1 – Adam Beine (Slinger) 52-4 won by fall over Brett Von Ruden (Sparta) 29-14 (Fall 4:43)

D1-160 – Hayden Krein (36-2) placed 3rd and scored 19.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 36-2 won by fall over Jake Deates (Kenosha Bradford/Reuther) 38-5 (Fall 3:31)
Quarterfinal – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 36-2 won by major decision over Alec Bess (Rhinelander) 37-5 (MD 12-0)
Semifinal – Tyler Dow (Stoughton) 52-2 won by decision over Hayden Krein (Sparta) 36-2 (Dec 9-2)
Cons. Semi – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 36-2 won by decision over Kalyn Jahn (Holmen) 44-10 (Dec 8-3)
3rd Place Match – Hayden Krein (Sparta) 36-2 won by fall over Jake Deates (Kenosha Bradford/Reuther) 38-5 (Fall 3:52)

Hello, alumni!  We hope you have enjoyed following the 2016-17 Spartan Wrestling team. Their success this season has continued a tradition of excellence and high expectations for our program. 4 wrestlers qualified for the State Tournament and two came home with 3rd place medals. The team finished 8-1 in duals and were the Division 1 Champions at Bi-State.

We are looking for our alumni to be an active part of our program in the upcoming seasons and would like to begin by offering you the opportunity to help support our team by sponsoring a wrestler at this year’s banquet.

Cost of sponsoring a wrestler is as follows:

1 wrestler dinner – $10.00
3 wrestler’s dinners – $25.00
6 wrestler’s dinners – $50.00
12 wrestler’s dinners – $100.00

(Payment and donation can be made online through Paypal at (Click the “Donate” button on the home page)

Make checks payable to: Sparta Wrestling Club. Please support by March 12th to assure recognition.

If this is something you are interested in, please download the donation form below…

Sponsor a Spartan Wrestler!!!

Thank you, alumni!