LUXEMBURG - When you win 5 state championships between 2001 and 2006, you garner quite a fan following. Luxemburg-Casco wrestlers realized they arrived this season … in the cafeteria.
"The lunch lady gave me a high five for winning my match the other night," said Spartans wrestler Newton Smerchek.
"Getting my food and even the lunch ladies said good luck," said wrestler Mitch Berceau.
The lunch ladies aren't alone: the Spartans get a huge amount of community support, evidenced by their standing-room-only season finale win over Oconto Falls. Luxemburg-Casco appears poised to add another title to their trophy case.
"It is a well, well balanced team," said head coach Bob Berceau.
Berceau's top-ranked team, according to WIWrestling.com, has plenty of motivation to go around. They can look at the walls, with plaques of former team champions and the names of individual champions painted on walls. They can also look across their wrestling practice room, where Luxemburg-Casco's youth program sometimes shares the room.
"In Kindergarten, Pre-K we're starting them wrestling," said Berceau. "They see the older kids wrestling, they come into the room, see their uncle's names, maybe their brother's name on the wall, see pictures of past state champions. I think the kids see that and realize, that's what I want to do, that's what I want."
The current Spartans remember looking up to high school wrestlers when they were kids, and hope to be role models themselves.
"Wanted to strive to be there and be the inspiration for the younger kids coming up through the program," said wrestler Mike Uliana.
That inspiration, the wrestlers hope, will include another state title and a new decoration for their walls.
"None of us have ever won a team state championship," said Smerchek. "It would be really sweet to get one of them and be on the wall with everyone else."
High school wrestling regional competition starts this weekend.
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