Another state trip, another title
Krueger repeats as champion
By Greg Seubert
Hailie Krueger turned a lot of heads last year by winning a girls’ state wrestling championship as a freshman.
The New London High School sophomore turned even more heads at this year’s WIAA State Individual Wrestling Meet, as she returned home with another 145-pound state championship.
Krueger made it two in a row Feb. 25 with a 13-9 decision over Cuba City/Benton/Southwestern’s Chloe LaRue at the Kohl Center in Madison.
She wasn’t the only area wrestler to make it to a state championship match, as another sophomore, Clintonville’s Keela Deering, made it to the 185-pound final and fell to Badger’s Ella Creighton. Hortonville’s MacKenzie Schiedermayer also won two of her 145-pound matches, but did not place.
Two for two
Krueger headed to state with a 25-1 record and entered her second season of wrestling as a defending state champion.
“For sure, I was a little more scared, but as the year went on, I gained a lot of confidence just seeing that I was good,” she said. “It’s been a really good season.”
Krueger opened the tournament by pinning Janesville Parker’s Victoria-Anne Kampmann in 1:11 before advancing to the semifinal round by pinning Badger’s Cameran Jansen in 3:39. Jansen led 4-0 at one point in the match.
“Occasionally, I’ll go and do something and get caught,” she said.
She then advanced to her second final by pinning Milwaukee Ronald Reagan’s Natalie Maceau in 1:49.
Krueger said this year’s state meet, which featured boys and girls for the first time, is different than last year’s girls’ state meet, which was held in La Crosse.
“There are a lot more people and it’s different having the guys around,” she said. “It’s nice for my teammates to be able to watch me.”
Krueger’s father, Nate, coaches New London’s team.
“She’s just a natural leader,” he said. “Even as a sophomore girl, she’s a leader in our room, even with the junior boys and senior boys. She has no quit, she works hard, she definitely has a great work ethic and is always willing to keep learning.”
Repeating as a state champion was a goal for the Kruegers.
“She’s had a lot more competition this year with other girls, which has helped,” Nate said. “She’s gotten stronger. She’s the same weight as she was last year, but she has dropped her body fat percentage almost 5%. She’s a technician, so she focuses on her technique. She’s good at a couple of things that she does really well.
“We knew that we would have some success (last year),” he added. “When all of the things fell into place and she wrestled really, really well, we thought she had a chance. This year, we’ve been taking it one match at a time. The end goal is to be on top of the podium on Saturday night.”
Wins with pins
Deering pinned her first three opponents – Sparta’s Kylie Hanson (1:44), Milwaukee Ronald Reagan’s Kayla Craig (2:21) and Bloomer/Colfax’s Kendra Hamman (1:36) – before Creighton pinned her with six seconds remaining in the second period.
“Keela did a great job representing Clintonville, our high school and our wrestling program this weekend,” coach Nick Winkler said. “To have a performance like hers and to see the support from her teammates, teachers and our community was great to see.”
Deering also qualified for last year’s girls’ state tournament as a freshman, but did not wrestle.
“To compete three days straight is demanding and her ability to respond to that challenge showed why she is one of the best in the state,”
Winkler said. “I know she is excited about her finish to this season and is looking forward to making it back to the podium next season.”
Schiedermayer opened the tournament by pinning Watertown’s Alison Busler in 4:42. Holmen’s Evelyn Vetsch then pinned her in 54 seconds, which sent Schiedermayer to the wrestleback round. She then pinned Cadott’s Alaina Kempen in 33 seconds, but her season ended with an 11-4 loss to Antigo’s Olivia Hofrichter.