Wrestling falls

Story by Taylor Kuether, Managing Editor

The Blugold wrestling team faced a tough meet Saturday at Mitchell Hall in La Crosse, where the team competed in the Candlewood Suites UW-La Crosse Wrestling Duals.
The Blugolds lost 37-9 in the first round against Cornell College (Iowa). Freshman Nathaniel Behnke won his match in the 141-pound weight category, and junior Mat Rieckhoff also won his matchup in the 184-pound weight category.

The team fared slightly better in their second round against Waldorf College (Iowa), when Behnke again won his match as well as teammates freshman Matt Koch and junior Luke Ortscheid. The three wins gave the Blugolds a score of 15 against Waldorf’s 39.

Behnke and Ortscheid both picked up wins in the third round against Loras College (Iowa), but the team lost 39-9.

In the final round, the Blugolds lost to no. 25 Saint John’s University, (Minn.), but Behnke and Ortscheid again picked up wins for the team.

Behnke, who won all four of his matches Saturday, said he wants the team to keep pushing themselves
to improve.

“I didn’t think the team wrestled like they could have or should have,” Behnke said. “I tried to do my best to get the rest of the team pumped up, I felt like I did my best.”

Ortscheid said he thinks the team could work on their mentality and that they still have room to grow moving forward on the young season.

Ortscheid said one asset to the team this year is Head Coach Jon Ames.

“He’s gives a different perspective, he’s a younger coach than I’ve ever had in my wrestling career,” Ortscheid said. “He’s pretty relatable because he’s
similar in age.”

Ames said the youthful coaching staff may be an asset.

“We have a really young coaching staff and a really young team, and I think that helps us bring a lot of intensity onto the mat,” Ames said.

Still, Ames said he hopes last weekend’s performance is not the high point of the season.

“We have to build our confidence,” Ames said.” “We didn’t get much first shots in. I hope to change that this weekend.”

Behnke said the most challenging meets lie ahead.

“Concordia and Wheaton will be hard. From what I hear, there hasn’t been a guy who’s placed there,” Behnke said. “I feel like we could for once have some kids come out and place at that tournament.

On a more individual note, Behnke said that he wants to continue wrestling at a high level for a chance at nationals.

“I honestly just want to keep this intensity going so I have a shot at the end of the year to become a national qualifier, that’s what I want to do,” Behnke said. “As a team, we need to keep pushing each other so that we can pull out in the end.”
UW-Eau Claire will face UW-Platteville, Carroll University and St. Olaf College (Minn.) at 1 p.m. Saturday at McPhee Physical Education Center.