On Friday, they were smiling. On Monday, they were all business.
After completing a school record 9-0 duals record against UW-Stevens Point, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse wrestling team is back to focusing on what has been the main goal all along: bringing a WIAC title, and then national title, back to Mitchell Hall.
"It's going to take all 10 weights. In the past we'd have six guys wrestle really well. We've got to have everybody wrestling well this weekend, and to the best of their ability," head coach Dave Malecek said. "We're not expecting miracles at any certain weight, we're just expecting every guy to put forth and do their best, and they know that, they understand that. That's probably the beauty of it."
The Eagles have not won the conference tournament since 2011, finishing second the last five years to UW-Whitewater.
UW-L cleared a big hurdle earlier this season when they defeated the Warhawks in a dual at Mitchell Hall, snapping a six-dual losing streak to the WIAC's top team.
Winning a WIAC title this weekend will likely require beating Whitewater again. Senior Alex Friedman said the team just needs to stick to its own brand of wrestling that's gotten them this far.
"The team that's behind us is what pushes us forward. We've wrestled that way all season, and I think that can continue into this weekend," he said. "The people that are behind us are going to push us forward."
This year's tournament will be held at UW-Platteville beginning Friday. La Crosse will host the NCAA Division III Championships of March 10-11.