Card’s Turner putting the pressure on. Photo by Jon Tanberg
Card’s Turner putting the pressure on. Photo by Jon Tanberg

CLEAR LAKE, WI – For the sixth straight year the Spring Valley/Elmwood wrestling team has advanced to the team sectional tournament, this time by the slightest of margins.

The SV/E wrestlers edged out Boyceville by just one point, similarly to what happened just a few weeks ago in the conference clinching dual match in Spring Valley.

This time the winner had to be determined by criteria though, as the two teams finished with 203 points each. That sent the scorers back to the books for the first criteria - the team score based on a point schedule for wrestlers that finished in the top six spots with being 16 points for first place finishers, 12-9-7-5-and 3 for sixth place finishers. When those points were tallied first, the Cardinals outscored Boyceville 133-127, despite the Bulldogs claiming four individual champions to the Cardinals two, and Boyceville sending six wrestlers to the individual sectionals on Saturday compared to just five for SV/E.

“I think Boyceville thought they had it for about the last hour of the tournament,” said Head Coach Carter Turner. “I think everyone thought they had it won, including us.”

But as Turner knows, every single point in every single match counts, right to the very end.

“That comes with experience, knowing where all the points can be,” Turner said. “I look at every wrestler in every bracket and know that every bracket counts, even a wrestler that doesn’t win a match can still win points for us, just like it did today.”

The Cardinals came out in the first tie-breaker in criteria on top and get the opportunity to advance to the team sectionals for the sixth straight year. That dual match tournament took place this past Tuesday where the Cardinals opened up against St. Croix Falls and, if they win, get the opportunity to head to Madison for the Team State Tournament for the fourth straight year

SV/E finished in first place with 204 points after the tie breaker awarded them one point for the win. Boyceville was second with 203 points followed by Clear Lake (197), Cadott (190.5), Glenwood City (130.5) and Cornell/Gillman/Lake Holcombe (123).

Seniors Seth Schlegel and Cruze Hurlburt both finished the regional tournament as champions, taking first place overall. Also advancing to the individual sectional tournament this Saturday are second place finishers senior Dylan Bune, junior Nick Hofacker and sophomore Carter Merth.

Schlegel, wrestling at 132, made it to the finals with a bye in the first round before winning with a pin of Zak Schofield of Cadott in 1:32 to get in the finals. Schlegel defeated Glenwood City junior Carson Strong in a tight 4-3 decision for the championship. Strong advanced to individual sectionals as the second place finisher.

Hurlburt also received a first-round bye to make it to the semi-final match, where he won by fall over Glenwood City senior Marcus Ullom in the first period. The senior wasted little time in the championship match, dispatching Clear Lake junior Gabe Colbeth in just 49 seconds to take the title. Colbeth advanced to individual sectionals as the second place finisher as well.

Dylan Bune lost a tough 9-4 decision in the 126-pound championship match to Andrew Gunderson of Cadott, but retained his second place standing in the wrestleback by previously defeating the winner of the third place match.

Merth was second at 170 pounds, losing a major decision match to Boyceville’s Justin Malean in the championship. Merth had to win the wrestleback to be able to advance to sectionals, which he did with a technical fall win over Cadott junior Bennett Bowe, 18-0.

Hofacker was also defeated in the 182 championship by fall to Boyceville’s James Palmer with a loss by fall in the first period. Hofacker didn’t have to wrestle in the wrestleback as he had already defeated the winner of the third place match.

While team sectionals were this past Tuesday in Boyceville, individual sectionals are Saturday at Independence High School with first round wrestling beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The Cardinal wrestlers will be competing for one of the top three spots at sectionals to be able to advance to the individual state tournament in Madison. Wrestlers from the following teams will be competing: Cameron, Cumberland, Saint Croix Falls, Shell Lake, Turtle Lake/Clayton, Unity, Bayfield/Washburn, Bruce, Chequamegon, Flambeau, Ladysmith, Phillips, Boyceville, Cadott, Clear Lake, Glenwood City, Cornell/Gillman/Lake Holcombe, Arcadia, Blair-Taylor, Cochrane-Fountain City, Durand, Indpendence/Gilmanton, Mondovi and Whitehall.

The individual state tournament begins on Thursday, February 23, and runs through Saturday, February 25.