PULASKI - After more than two decades, the Pulaski boys are now in Madison and will face Onalaska Friday. But before the team left Thursday, the village gave them quite a sendoff.
The morning sun over Pulaski shined light on the village's support for the boys basketball team. Signs of support could be seen throughout Pulaski.
At the high school, chants soon filled the air.
"Yup, yup, yup, yup-yup," chanted the hundreds of students at the pep rally at the request of head coach Dave Shaw.
"Now where that came from, I don't know," remarked Shaw.
Some students say this run at state is a dream come true.
"Never expected it, it's awesome that they're going!" said Pulaski senior Christopher Vomastic, who will be heading to Madison Friday for the game. "(I've) never been this excited in my life! I mean, it's a once in a lifetime deal that you get to go to state your senior year."
After much pomp and circumstance at the high school, it was time to leave.
"Thank you everyone!" said senior Cody Wichmann to the crowd. "We'll see you in Madison!"
But they weren't going there, yet.
Riding in several Pulaski Tri-County Fire Department fire trucks, the players stopped off at a few Pulaski elementary and middle schools, running up and down the halls to cheers and high fives from other students and staff.
For many parents in tow, as happy and joyous as the day is, it's also a sad one.
"They've been playing together since second and third grade," said Mary Wichmann of her son Cody and a handful of other players on the senior-laden team. "We've been traveling with these parents (for years)."
"It's real emotional for all of us and you know, to see your kid," said Wichmann, starting to cry, "To see your kid live his dream; and all of our kids live their dream. It's really cool."
After one last stop at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic school – and Reverend Finian giving some last minute spiritual words of encouragement to players piled into the fire trucks, it was finally time for the team to turn their attention to the task at hand.
"Now we'll take 20 minutes on the bus and gather ourselves and really think about what we need to do against Onalaska," said Shaw.
So as the team makes its way to Madison, players hope the momentum that they gained from the community – and the spirit – will carry on through the rest of the state tournament.
"Now it's a business trip," said senior point guard Jordan Stiede. "This was great – great for the community. It shows all of the community came together and now it's time for us to play basketball and get ready to go."
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