Former OFHS wrestlers succeed in college careers

Krueger and Trepanier were 2 top Panthers

Greg Bates, Times Herald Correspondent

University of Wyoming wrestler Dewey Krueger, right, helps his team to a 28-9 victory over CSU Bakersfield in a dual this season. Krueger, an Oconto Falls graduate, just wrapped up his redshirt sophomore season at the Division 1 college. (Contributed photo)

Dewey Krueger and Nate Trepanier were exceptional high school wrestlers.

The duo combined for a 324-31 record, capturing three state titles and two runners-up finishes during their four-year careers at Oconto Falls High School.

Both guys have continued on with wrestling at the next level and are doing well. In March, Krueger wrapped up his redshirt sophomore season in Division I at the University of Wyoming by going 4-2. Trepanier closed out his true freshman campaign at Division II Lindenwood University with a 22-17 record and a trip to nationals.

Krueger proving himself at Wyoming

Krueger has started making a name for himself on the Wyoming campus as a versatile wrestler.

Krueger, who usually competes at 157 pounds, scored four victories on the season — all four coming at different weight classes.

This year was a learning experience for Krueger competing for the top-20 nationally-ranked Cowboys program.

“Just that you really don’t have anything to lose,” Krueger said. “When I wrestled up four weight classes, it takes off the pressure completely and if you wrestle under that mindset, you’re going to surprise yourself. If you can take that mindset, and it’s hard to do, wrestle with that mindset, ‘Hey, I don’t have anything to lose.’ You’re going to surprise yourself in big matches and take a lot of pressure off your shoulders. That’s what I’ve been doing.”

With a nationally-ranked wrestler, Archie Colgan, ahead of him at 157, Krueger had to move around this season. His coaches slotted him into some peculiar positions in the lineup and Krueger succeeded.

Krueger, a 2015 Oconto Falls graduate who won 161 matches and two state titles during his high school career, got his first opportunity to compete in duals at the University of North Carolina. He earned a forfeit against Duke and then scored a 9-2 victory at 157 vs. American.

“That was exhilarating,” Krueger said. “I felt a lot of pressure because it was some tough matches.”

A couple matches later, he pinned a North Dakota State wrestler at 197 and got a decision at 184 vs. Fresno State.

“It doesn’t matter what weight or anything, just to get out there and get experience and having fun,” Krueger said.

During his redshirt freshman season, Krueger went 10-3 with four falls. Krueger competed in plenty of open tournaments that season as well as this year and during his redshirt year. That first season, Krueger was a UWW Junior World Team Trials qualifier and placed seventh at UWW Junior Nationals.

After wrestling at Oconto Falls for four years, the move to college has been tough at times. Krueger isn’t competing in every match and has to sit back and watch his teammates wrestle without getting on the mat himself.

“It’s frustrating for sure,” Krueger said. “Me and the starter, we scrap in the room and he’s definitely tough and I definitely push him. But he’s come out on top for the last two years. It’s definitely frustrating to be like, OK, me and him are close and I could go out there and I could be doing the same things that he could be doing, but I’m not. Now he’s gone and it’s my turn.”

Colgan graduated, so Krueger will get his shot at 157.

“That’s what the plan is,” Krueger said. “I’m not sure if I actually want to stay at this weight or move up. I’m either going to be at ’57, ’65 or ’74 next year.”

Krueger has lofty expectations for his junior season.

“I’m going to be here all summer working, but the eventual goal is to make it to the NCAA’s and be an All-American,” Krueger said.

Trepanier gets a shot as a freshman

One of Trepanier’s major goals stepping into the Lindenwood, Missouri, wrestling program was to earn a starting spot his first season. It didn’t take long for the coaches to permanently plug him into the lineup.

Trepanier, a 2017 Oconto Falls graduate, showed that was a wise decision. He qualified for the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships by placing fourth at 149 in regionals. He was the only Lindenwood freshman to advance to nationals.

“That was a goal that I had in mind, so it was nice to do that,” Trepanier said. “Obviously, I wasn’t happy once I got there, I wanted to do a little better. I think it was a successful season.”

Trepanier went 0-2 at the national tournament, falling by a major decision 19-7 to Wisconsin-Parkside’s Frank Yattoni, who ended up finishing third in the first round. He then lost 5-2 to Adams State’s Natrelle Demison, who finished seventh, in wrestlebacks.

Getting to nationals in his first season is big for Trepanier.

“It will all have an impact on next year, just kind of tells me where I’m at and where I need to get to,” Trepanier said. “It’s definitely a boost of confidence and it gives me a chip on my shoulder for next year when I compete.”

Trepanier, who won 163 matches at Oconto Falls and captured one state title, started his freshman season at 157. At the halfway point, he moved to 149.

“My coach came up to me one day and asked about how I feel about dropping down,” Trepanier said. “It was best for the team, best for the lineup that we had going on. It allowed another guy to step in at 157. It worked out good.”

Trepanier finished second on Lindenwood, which is a top-20 nationally-ranked program, with eight pins. He was also 5-0 on technical falls. He tied for the team lead with 35 bonus points.

“It’s always good for the team to be able to go out and score big points like that,” Trepanier said. “I just think that’s kind of my style of wrestling. It’s a good feeling to be able to go out there and control a guy.”

Trepanier is already looking forward to improving this summer for his sophomore campaign. He knows exactly what he needs to work on.

“A big thing that I have to work on is getting in the weight room this summer,” Trepanier said. “Something I lacked at 157 and 149 was strength compared to the other kids. If I can build that over the summer and continue wrestling and just improving on little things, I think I’ll be good.”

Trepanier wants to get back to nationals next season. Losing his only two matches left a bad taste in his mouth.

“I think my goal for next year is to make the finals,” Trepanier said. “I think once I get there all the pressure’s off. If I can make the finals I can just go out there and wrestle and not be able to worry as much.

“I’m excited to go out and prove myself again next year and try to beat what I did this year.”