Strouf’s Preview: Day One from Madison


By Alex Strouf, The Denmark News

The twin duo are set to kick off state action.

Before I begin my two-and-a-half hour haul to the Kohl Center in Madison this afternoon, I want to make you more educated than you may already be when it comes to the trio that Denmark High School’s wrestling team has sent down to Madison. One-third of the trio, junior Brock Bergelin, earned himself a bye on Friday night by winning his sectional this past weekend.

That leaves two to wrestle on this fine Friday. Senior twins Matt and Jake Vanden Heuvel are set to wrestling somewhere in the 8-o’clock hour, hoping their respective seasons do not come to a sudden and early hault.

Let’s begin with the 5’8”, 195 lb. electrifying bull that is Matt Vanden Heuvel. Matt is called the most explosive

Matt Vanden Heuvel is crowned 2016 regional champion. (Denis Lotto Photo)
Matt Vanden Heuvel is crowned 2016 regional champion. (Denis Lotto Photo)

wrestler Tim Kapinos has coached in his three years at Denmark by many associated with the team. Although Kapinos won’t crown Matt with that title, I and anybody that watches Matt will.

With a standing record of 35-8, Vanden Heuvel enters round one against Prairie du Chein’s Peyton Hall. Hall is standing at a very similar record of 34-6. Hall, standing at 5’10”, was a member of the USA softball team in 2013. The 195-lb. match-up could be interesting, but if Vanden Heuvel can stay on his feet, a W could be pitching Matt’s way to day two.


Matt Vanden Heuvel: 35-8, Sr., Denmark, 5’8”, 195 lbs.

Peyton Hall: 34-6, Sr., Prairie du Chien, 5’11”, 195 lbs.

WINNER FACES: Bennett Paulson, 40-2, Sr. Amery, 195 lbs.

The other twin is wrestling at 220-lbs., just about 40 pounds over his actual weight. The 5’10”, 185-pound Jake Vanden Heuvel has impressed most at his weight class, standing at 34-6. Tanner Johnson had a late start to his season, now standing at a record of 26-5 for Osceola. The junior has been a bright spot for the Chieftains this winter, winning multiple individual tournaments. Both of the two are in their first state tournament.

Clearly, Vanden Heuvel’s speed and stamina are keys to victory Friday night. However, it’ll be tough to outdo the speedy running back in Johnson.


Jake Vanden Heuvel: 34-6, Sr., Denmark, 5’10”, 185 lbs.

Tanner Johnson: 26-5, Jr., Osceola, 6’0”, 210 lbs.

WINNER FACES: Brady Wetter, 26-0, Sr., Dodgeville — Took third place last year at 195 lbs.


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