From fourth grade, to the state tournament

Published: Feb. 28, 2021 at 11:09 PM CST
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EDGAR, Wis. (WSAW) -Every year, a few schools seem to have that extra special senior class. Without a doubt, Edgar has one of them this year.

They didn’t get the chance to win a state tournament in football, but now they’ve taken the basketball program somewhere they haven’t been in almost a quarter century.

“I mean, it’s unbelievable, the feeling,” said Edgar senior guard Drew Guden.

The Edgar Wildcats first trip to state since 1997 has been in the works for nearly a decade by their upperclassmen, and they all seem to recognize a common starting point.

“We’ve been working so hard since fourth, fifth grade,” said Guden. “And now we’re finally here, and we’re going to state.”

“Us seniors, we’ve been working since we were in fourth, fifth, sixth grade,” said Brayden Baumgartner, a senior forward for the Wildcats. “Putting in countless hours, countless practices, playing with each other dang near every day. It means a ton.”

The Wildcats faced a double-digit deficit to Clear Lake in Saturday’s sectional final, but the adversity of early exits the last few years allowed them to rise up when the moment called for it.

“We’ve been close the last couple of years, making it to regional finals, but could never really get past that breaking point,” said Konnor Wolf, a senior guard for Edgar. “When things get tough, people just step up.”

“It feels great,” Guden said. “We had some regional final losses, and we knew we weren’t going out like that this year.”

Now that the task of making state for the first time since 1997 is out the way, the focus turns to winning the first gold ball for the program since 1997.

The group that started together as fourth graders draws inspiration from a certain legendary hooper.

“I mean, we’ve been calling this our ‘Last Dance” for a while now,” said Guden, referencing the ESPN documentary about NBA legend Michael Jordan.

“We’ve always felt that we were a pretty special group growing up,” Wolf said. “We’ve had pretty lofty goals for ourselves, setting high standards.

“We knew that if we just kept working toward them from a young age on that we can accomplish anything, and that’s what we’re out here trying to do.”

The Wildcats will play in the Division Four semifinal game on Friday at 12:25 P.M. against Lourdes Academy in La Crosse.

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