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Prep wrestling: Superior’s Connor Krueger reaches milestone win

The Spartans’ junior won his 100th match in a meet against Somerset Jan. 12 and said he tries to find “fun in the challenge” of wrestling.

Superior’s Connor Krueger gets his hand raised by referee Steve Antzcak after his win at 138 pounds
Superior’s Connor Krueger gets his hand raised by referee Steve Antzcak after his win at 138 pounds in his final home match under the spotlight at Superior High School on Thursday evening, Jan. 19. The Spartans defeated Spooner 52-24. Krueger recently notched his 100th career win.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — When Superior’s Connor Kreuger took to the mat last week against a wrestler from Cameron Jan. 12, he was a little more nervous than usual.

The Spartan senior knew he was sitting on 99 career wins and the next victory would be his 100th win, the wrestling equivalent of 1,000 career points in basketball.

“Going into it I was pretty excited,” Krueger said. “I knew I just had to end it quick. All my teammates were around watching the match and when I pinned him, we all went crazy — it was really cool.”

Superior’s Connor Krueger, top, controls Proctor Hermantown’s Thomas Barnstorf
Superior’s Connor Krueger, top, controls Proctor/Hermantown’s Thomas Barnstorf during their match at 138 pounds in December. Krueger recently won his 100th match for the Spartans.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Spartan coach Bob Coleman said Krueger wrestles year-round, traveling to camps and tournaments across the Midwest.

“He just loves wrestling,” Coleman said. “He has fun with it, which is hard to do in wrestling because it’s a pretty grueling sport — mentally and physically.”

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Krueger agreed that wrestling could be tough, but he tries to embrace the challenge his sport offers.

“In wrestling, you really have to find the fun with the challenge,” Krueger said. “You’re really pushing yourself every single day at practice, making weight and when it comes to match time, it’s only you out there…You can’t blame your teammates or anything, it’s just you, so it’s really finding fun in the challenge.”

Superior’s Connor Krueger, top, controls Proctor Hermantown’s Thomas Barnstorf during his win at 138 pounds
Superior’s Connor Krueger, top, controls Proctor Hermantown’s Thomas Barnstorf during his win at 138 pounds in December. Krueger won his 100th match for the Spartans recently.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Coleman said Krueger is a quick, strong competitor who can “grind kids down” on the mat, but his growth-focused approach is what sets him apart.

“He’s just a good kid that makes good decisions and that all adds up,” Coleman said. “One reason he makes it fun is because he understands it’s growth. He focuses on the growth and not the results — growing as an athlete, as a person and a wrestler. He looks at it that way, it’s growth to him win, lose or draw.”

More from Jamey Malcomb
The Tigers’ all-time leading scorer has already started giving back to the program by coaching the seventh-grade travel team.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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