Chippewa Falls and Colfax, Wis. (WEAU) -- Two big pep rallies were held today for the Chippewa Falls McDonell Macks and Colfax Vikings boy’s basketball teams. Both teams are on their way to compete in the state tournament in Madison on Thursday.
"I don't think it hit us until right now. It's all starting to hit us. Wow, were actually going down there," says Ryan Baier who plays on the McDonell team.
Fans were loud and proud at Wednesday’s assembly. This is the first time the Macks have made it to the WIAA tournament at the Kohl Center.
"Everyone's been cheering for us. I hear people from chi high cheering for us and different schools around the county cheering for us, and it's just great to feel that sense of support from them," says senior Kyle Cody. He says he knows the other team is good but they aren't letting any nerves get to them. "I think I’m ready. I think everyone on the team is worried. We've been through this position before in other sports so we know what it feels like, but I think everyone is ready to go."
Here in Colfax it's been 35 years since the Viking boys have been to Madison, and for two players on the team there is a special connection to that 1978 team. Their dad’s played for that championship team."
Bob Fehr’s son Hayden is a senior for the Vikings and says watching his son play is far more nerve wracking than being on the court himself. "Qualifying as a player was really a special time for us, but to have a son on this team and be able to watch him all season long and accomplish the same goals that we got...it's just a an indescribable feeling."
Mike Kiekhafer says he's had many talks with his son Ethin about what it means going to state. He hopes the whole team soaks it all in and enjoys every second they are there.
Something that hasn't changed in 35 years is the overwhelming support from the Colfax community. "I’ve gotten emails and calls all week long congratulating the team and how special it must be," says Kiekhafer. "You'd be hard pressed to find a better place to play basketball. Our fans are totally amazing," explains Fehr.