Big senior class carries SVE to state tourneyIt's often said a collegiate or high school squad is only as good as its senior class. Well that's certainly the case for the Spring Valley/Elmwood wrestling squad and Redbird seniors have provided the muscle which led SVE to first ever WIAA State Team Tournament this Saturday.
SPRING VALLEY - It's often said a collegiate or high school squad is only as good as its senior class.
Well that's certainly the case for the Spring Valley/Elmwood wrestling squad and Redbird seniors have provided the muscle which led SVE to first ever WIAA State Team Tournament this Saturday.
Spring Valley/Elmwood has nine seniors in its starting line-up with Brady Webb at 120 pounds, Conner Sieracki at 138, Jon Newton at 152, Brian Fesenmaier at 160, Steve Von Haden at 171, Andy Bune at 182, Tyler Hunter at 195 and Cody Shafer at heavyweight.
Seven of them have been in the program for a long time from their days as youth wrestlers and this core which has raised the SVE program from last to first in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference along with winning the regional and team sectional title.
"They have high expectations of themselves because they know what they're trying to accomplish together for the whole team," SVE head coach Carter Turner said. "And as they've grow up they've gotten physically tougher and mentally tougher, fundamentally better on their feet. But they've never lost their cohesiveness or sense of mission. They've been focused on bringing our program success and that's what they've done."
All six Spring Valley/Elmwood individual state meet place winners (Webb, Bune and Fesenmaier) were seniors as were all the state qualifiers (Berg, Sieracki and Hunter. Two more, Newton and Von Haden both placed in the individual sectional.
Webb himself can't wait to take part after spending most of his time in Madison wrestling individually.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," Webb said. "It's been fun wrestling growing up and now we get the reward of not just our hard work but our teamwork as well."
While Webb has the best record of the group at 43-4, all them have won over or near 30 matches. Berg is 27-10; Sieracki 25-12; Newton 29-16; Fesenmaier 42-10; Von Haden 28-16; Bune 38-16; Hunter 39-8 and Shafer 8-20.
Shafer is newcomer to the sport, having just after the season started, switching over from basketball. He helped to fill and open spot in the Redbird line-up along with Hunter, a transfer from Ellsworth who has the lone team state experience of the whole team.
"It's atmosphere to be sure but when you wrestle it's just like any other match," Hunter said. "The wrestling doesn't change and you can't lose sight of that."
Turner this number of wrestlers with well above .500 records shows a key difference with past squads.
"We've had good teams here, even just on our own as Spring Valley," Turner said. "But where we might had five really good wrestlers, we didn't have the kids around with the good records who could also score points. We just never had the depth. Now we do."
Indeed, in one of the biggest dual meets of the season at St. Croix Central, SVE's seniors stepped up for wins, including key ones for Newton and Fesenmaier which proved decisive. Bune also won a decisive match in the team sectional final against Derek Barrier which helped Webb and Berg close the dual with wins that sent the Redbirds to its first title. Hunter and Shafer shored up the team's upper weights and all of them have provided the balance which has made SVE Division 3's No. 2 ranked team.
"You see we have better work ethic and and better technique," Sieracki said. "We know we're going to do well because of it."