Newman Catholic boys basketball ready for first ever state apperaence

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 5:42 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - For Head Coach Jeff Waldvogel, this year’s Cardinals squad has earned their trip to state.

“We’re a very talented team, a very focused team, a team that plays well together,” says Waldvogel. “A team that’s well prepared and one that’s really competitive and does a great job preparing for the game and then playing the game.”

A squad that’s eager to make a long-time dream come true.

“It’s a goal that we’ve all worked towards since, I don’t even know, forth grade probably?” says Eli Gustafson, Senior Forward. “And just to think that we’re going to Madison tomorrow is going to be such a fun experience and I hope that the final goal can be accomplished of getting that gold ball.”

While the Kohl Center can be an intimidating sight, the Cardinals are ready to bring it on.

“We’ve played games before,” says Owen Sullivan, Senior Forward. “Like a game in Pacelli, there’s a bunch of people, gym’s packed, it was loud, same with Columbus. So we don’t think it’ll be much of a difference, apart from the court length, so I think we’ll be fine with the pressure.”

“The backdrop’s obviously going to be a lot different shooting. Luckily, I’m not a shooter, I don’t have to worry about that too much,” says Gustafson. “It’s just staying in the game, staying focused, and not getting distracted by all the things around us.”

No matter how they face the pressure of state basketball, the team can lean on each other thanks to their outstanding chemistry.

”We’re always together, we’re always having fun, joking around the hallway,” says Gustafson. “Even outside of school, we’re going to Walmart hanging out on the weekends and that kind of thing. We’re doing just everything outside of school. I mean a lot of people don’t see that, but it’s really how close our group is that’s what makes us special.”

“We have all the same classes together, so we’re always with each other,” says Sullivan. “Even at nights, Friday, Saturday nights, we’re all hanging out or just messing around and having fun as kids.”