SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW) - You'll be hard pressed to find a team better represented at this weekend's WIAA wrestling tournament than the Sparta Spartans.
In fact, you won't find any team in Division 2 sending more than Sparta's seven wrestlers. You also won't find another team from the Coulee Region with more wrestlers heading down to the Kohl Center.
The Spartans hope to bring big results back from the state's biggest stage, but aren't really changing anything in their preparation. Business as usual at Sparta High School means hard work on the mat--both physical and mental.
"It's almost like a chess game," said senior Kyle Burkhalter (182). "You have to kind of see what your opponent is going to do next and then work off that. Then it's about telling yourself you're not tired when you're out on the mat and going after it."
Sparta showed no signs of fatigue at last weekend's sectional. After a successful meet at Richland Center, including three first place finishers, expectations could not be higher.
Junior Dylan Winchel (113) said, "My expectations are to win it this year. That's what I'm going to do."
"I do want to go into the championship round. I think that would be awesome and I think it can happen. No matter what happens, [I want to] just know that I had fun and know that I had a good four years of wrestling," added Burkhalter.
The WIAA state meet gets underway with preliminary competition Thursday afternoon. Champions will be crowned on Saturday.