EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) When the WIAA State Wrestling tournament starts on Thursday, Eau Claire Regis' Payton Kostka will be the first Rambler since 1993 to make the trip to state and Kostka is very familiar with the last wrestler to qualify, his father Ryan.
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"My dad was the last one to get down there, so that is very cool. It's a family thing everyday. Dad is my biggest supporter and all my little siblings are supporting at the tournaments. It is pretty cool. My family has wrestled since they have been around"
"It's great that he is getting down there, says Payton's father Ryan Kostka. It's great to see the Regis and Altoona really support a sport that in one way is starting to die a little bit but builds character and family outside of family."
Last year, an injury derailed Kostka's opportunity to make it to Madison, but this year he came back and put in the hard work to make his first trip to state.
"It hasn't completely hit me yet. It has been pretty crazy. It is what we work for all year and to finally be able to complete a season and to get all the way down there is pretty sweet.
While Kostka is looking to have a successful trip to as an individual in Madison, it's what his trip to means to the Regis/Altoona wrestling program that is my important in his eyes.
"Just to start something for this program. When I was a 6th grader I was the only middle school athlete in this program. It's pretty cool to see what we are coming to and now maybe this can start something and we can have somebody down there every year."
Ryan Kostka likes the example his son is setting for future wrestlers.
"They get to see him work hard in school, outside of school so it is really a fun thing to celebrate the success of hard work.
The WIAA tournament starts Thursday, with the Division two preliminaries start at 7pm.