By Michaela Baker, Madison Metts, Mendy Harris

The wrestling team has traveled a long road to state through infections and suspensions but has come out on top as multiple players placed in the state championship.

“It’s honestly an honor to make it to state,” senior Josh Davis said. “So many great wrestlers have been through that building so being in the same facility felt amazing.”

Making it to state was not only an accomplishment but also an objective.

“It was a great feeling, after all the work I put in, I thought of it as validation that it was all worth it,” senior Kelly Kircher said.

For Kelly, all the work he put in truly did pay off.

“At the beginning of the season, Coach Rivers had us write down our goals.  Mine were to go undefeated at home, place in every tournament, and qualify for state.  I accomplished all of those goals, so I’m pretty proud of my senior season,” Kelly said.

Placing in the state championship is done by each wrestler, not the team as a whole. Josh came in third.

“I was proud to have upset the current #2 in the state who had beat me twice in the past 2 weeks.  Finally beating him was a big accomplishment.  I don’t really think there is anything I could’ve done better,” Josh said. “I’m ultimately happy with the outcome.”

Preparation for the tournament was crucial to the desired outcome.

I trained rigorously, ate healthy, kept my body in shape by doing lots of cardio, and cut out spending time with my friends to help stay focused,” Josh said.

With goals set, some were met and some were not however; the outcome from the state championship is still worthy of praise.

“My goal was to become top 3 in the state, but I ended up coming in 5th.  Looking back, I could have won my last match if I had been more aware of the time left in the mat.  I am happy about how I fought through some tough matches, though,” Kelly said.

With high pressure and the ending of the season, state championships can be nerve wracking.

“I just thought of it as another tournament but with better competition,” Kelly said. “I did feel pressure, though, knowing any match could be my last.”

In total, 5 wrestlers from Dutch Fork places in the state championship.

“I’m really proud of the 5 wrestlers that worked hard to get to state.  It shows how driven Dutch Fork sports are as a whole with football, basketball, and wrestling all making it to state championships,” spectator Natalie White said. “Our school is filled with hard working students and I’m honored to go to school with them.”

The bonds formed during the season have a lasting impact on the players and their performance.

“I’m definitely going to miss my teammates the most,”  Kelly said.  “Pretty much all of us have been together for 6 years, so we’re a pretty close group.”

Memories of games and fun times with friends will be cherished for years to come.

“All of the state games have made my senior year one to remember,” Natalie said.  “They’re all exciting and bring out school spirit in everyone.  My best memories from senior year are definitely going to the state games and tournaments.”