WEST SALEM - The last thing Sparta High School's Daniel Dawley expected Saturday morning was a WIAA Division 2 regional wrestling championship.
Well, he was hoping for a team title, but an individual one never even crossed his mind.
"I hadn't won a tournament all season," the junior said after scoring a 195-pound championship pin over West Salem/Bangor's Tom Luethe. "I'm an underdog here, and I guess I just had a really good day."
Dawley (21-15), John Roddick (36-9, 113 pounds), Michael Murnane (33-13, 145), Toby Mosley (39-7, 152) and Kyle Burkhalter (33-11, 182) all won individual championships for the Spartans at West Salem High School, and that added up to a team title.
Sparta's score of 270½ was comfortably ahead of second-place Viroqua (167) and gives it a team sectional semifinal dual against Evansville/Albany at Wisconsin Dells, Wis., on Tuesday night.
The championship dual, against either Lodi or River Valley, will also be wrestled on Tuesday.
"We got more guys through (the regional) this year than we did last year," said Sparta coach Jake Larson, who will take 10 qualifiers to next week's Richland Center sectional. "That shows what kind of team we have and how well we wrestled today."
Roddick scored an impressive victory in the 113 final by pinning Viroqua's Ryan Vesbach (32-11) in 3 minutes, 15 seconds. Burkhalter won both of his matches by pin.
The Spartans even received a boost from senior Chris Beeler (25-9), who wrestled at 285 for the first time since injuring his knee in a dual loss to Holmen on Jan. 19. He qualified with a second-place finish.
McCLELLAND IMPRESSIVE AGAIN: Viroqua sophomore J.J. McClelland already had a big victory over Sparta's Dylan Winchel under his belt before they met for the championship at 106 on Saturday.
But he also knew an important fact about their second meeting of the season.
"He hadn't lost since that match," McClelland (41-4) said of Winchel (40-4). "That probably meant he was wrestling pretty well, like me, so I had to be ready for him."
McClelland jumped on Winchel early and built a 7-0 lead after the first period. He wound up with an 11-2 decision to follow up the 11-0 win from the previous meeting.
McClelland is one of five Blackhawks headed to the sectional and one of four champions from Saturday. Erik Vesbach (33-6, 132), Clay Fitzpatrick (35-10, 170) and Trent Vesbach (41-2, 220) also won.
PETERS BACK IN THE FLOW: Alex Peters aid on Saturday that transitioning from football to wrestling is always a difficult process.
And with the length of recent Bangor High School seasons, that's especially true for him.
A shoulder injury also slowed Peters (34-6) down, but he's been back in the lineup for two weeks now and was impressive in winning at 160 with two pins.
"I didn't feel right when I came back, but I wanted to wrestle through it," Peters said of the Bi-State Classic injury. "At some point, the pain went away, and now I feel great."
Peters pinned his semifinal opponent in 3:24 and took care of Sparta senior Robert Ragan in 1:23 to win the title.
Peters is one of five West Salem/ Bangor wrestlers headed to the sectional. Senior Alex Arentz (42-6) pinned his way to a 285-pound championship, and both Scott Craig (32-14, 145) and Tyler Shrake (32-13, 185) wrestled their way in by winning true-second matches.