Bulldogs beat Menasha on Senior Night
By Erik Buchinger
The New London wrestling team won a share of the Bay Conference title with a home win against Menasha 59-9 on Thursday, Feb. 1.
The Bulldogs split the conference championship with Seymour.
“It was definitely a goal,” New London head coach Nathan Krueger said of winning a conference championship. “It was a goal last year, and we were so close but just missed it. Coming into this year, we knew we had a chance and they strung together and made it happen.”
New London senior wrestler Garrett Ruckdashel said the possibility of winning a conference title became clearer throughout the season.
“I think coming into this year we didn’t really know what to expect, but I think once we got through the year it was definitely a real expectation, and we got it done,” Ruckdashel said.
With 10 forfeits in the event, there were just four wrestling matches.
Ruckdashel won 16-1 in a technical fall in the 138-pound weight class, and New London’s Mason Kloehn earned a pin at 120 pounds.
Bulldog wrestler Travis Kuhnke was pinned in the 285-pound division, and Adam Armour lost in a 1-0 decision at 132 pounds.
“They wrestled well,” Krueger said. “It’s hard to determine when there’s only four matches, but they’ve been wrestling well the last couple of weeks so I’ve been pretty happy.”
The seniors were announced prior to the game for Senior Night, including Ruckdashel, Julian Polanco, Kaine Herter, Jacob Hoier and Montana Ernst.
“We’re led by Garrett Ruckdashel – he’s been a leader in the room for four years from the moment he stepped into the room,” Krueger said. “It’s going to be hard to replace that, but just like last year losing our seniors, we’re going to have kids step up and have kids step into that role. We’ve got some good young talent on our team, so while we are going to miss our seniors, we’ll be alright.”
Ruckdashel said it was nice to finish the regular season with a home victory on Senior Night.
“It always feels great to get a win, but especially to end it in front of your home crowd with your last match is always great,” Ruckdashel said.
While winning the Bay Conference is important, Krueger said New London is getting ready for the postseason.
“It feels great, but now we’ve got to get ready for regionals,” Krueger said.
The Bulldogs will compete in the Seymour regional on Saturday, Feb. 10, starting at 10:30 a.m.