Tonight is finally the night of The Rumble at the Rocketorium! The Neenah Rockets will take on the Kimberly Papermakers at 6:30 pm. I’ve been waiting for this event for a couple of weeks now and we are finally here. There has been concern that a winter storm is coming, so let me be the first to say, if there is wrestling WIwrestle will be there. I got four wheel drive, a shovel, a laptop, and a camera. So, if you or anyone cannot make it tonight, just tune in live on Rokfin (WIwrestle) and we will have the whole thing live streamed with commentary for you!
Now, let’s get down to tonight’s dual. This is a cross town rivalry that has historically had very close duals, coming down to the last match. In the last 3 years the final scores have been 39-34, 39-30, 33-32. Tonight I expect nothing less. Coach Kyle Kleuskens of Neenah is fired up for this one. I’ve spoken to him multiple times and this might be his favorite event they put on all year. Tonight is not only Senior night, it’s also Alumni night, there will be a band playing, and to top it off all the action will be taking place on a STAGE in the Pickard Auditorium.
Coach Kleuskens may be pulling out all the stops for a loud and exciting atmosphere tonight, but it doesn’t guarantee his team a win. Coach Ben Engelland of the Kimberly Papermakers currently has his squad tied for first place in the conference. He has a well rounded squad led by senior and currently #6 in the state Karsen Otiis. Kimberly is also ranked 8th at 106 and 10th at 220. Both of these individuals will need wins tonight for the team to come away with a W.
In dual meets a lot of time there will be a handful of ranked wrestlers, but often they are at different weight classes. Tonight we are privileged to see not one but two head to head ranked matchups. At 220 we will see #9 Eric Schaufelberger of Neenah vs #10 Blake Barry of Kimberly. This is a swing match, no doubt about it. A match both teams are likely use to winning, but tonight one of them won’t get those team points. Our second ranked match is between two seniors; #12 Nick Novak of Neenah vs #6 Karsen Otis of Kimberly. It’s Senior night for Neenah, so let’s see if Novak can put on one more show and get a big win for himself and for the team and come away with the upset in his final act on stage.
Coach Engelland needs to have his team prepared to come into a hostile environment and to weather the storm. Especially as they hit Neenah’s 3 piece combo with #6 Koch (120), #4 Herm (126), and #3 Sheppard (132). If his team stays relaxed and calm through a stretch that on paper won’t go their way then they can bounce back after. On paper there are a lot of toss up matches that both teams will be fighting for. Giving up and earning bonus points in this dual will be crucial. So let’s see who wants to be the winter hero in tonight’s dual meet in a competitive conference matchup featuring two of the top teams.
Neenah vs Kimberly
120: #6 Declan Koch vs Garret Semenuk
126: #4 Jacob Herm vs Aiden Fonder
132: #3 Jayden Sheppard vs Christian Dollevoet
138: Preston Hella vs Andrew Weborg
145: Jaden Reay vs Tanner Hart
152: #12 Nick Novak vs #6 Karsen Otis
160: Joey Dringoli vs Cade Buchinger
170: Zach Kramp vs Hudson Stevens
182: Eli Gast vs Brody Beck
195: Dalton Liebhauser vs Owen Ott
220: #9 Eric Schaufelberger vs #10 Blake Barry 285: Nate Cleveland vs Jack Jorgenson