The singlet color is a little bit different and then there's the issue of the drive to 75th and N. Granville Road to get to practice.
But for Brown Deer wrestlers Tory Dibb, Brad Dziadosz, and Alex Russell, life with Milwaukee Vincent has definitely had its advantages.
The feeling of having a full team around you and the idea that you can go into meets and have a chance at winning, and that elusive opportunity at high-level honors are all bonuses.
The trio earned almost all of that on Saturday when Dziadosz won the 189-pound title and Dibb the 285-pound crown in leading the Vikings to a third-place team finish in the Milwaukee City Conference Tournament at Milwaukee Hamilton.
"This has been fun," said Dibb, who has signed on to play defensive end for the South Dakota State football team next fall (majoring in mechanical engineering and business administration). "We have some great leadership on this team. They've (Vincent) really helped us by giving us this opportunity and we've helped them too (in terms of better team finishes)."
This small group represents the sum and total of the athletes who make the daily trip to Vincent. Brown Deer had sponsored the sport independently and had participated in the Woodland Conference championships until last year, but ever declining numbers in the Falcon practice room created this opportunity as well as need for a co-op.
The project has been a success. The Brown Deer trio were part of an 11-person (out of 14 weight classes) Vincent contingent at the City Conference meet and led the Vikings to a 164-point total as Bradley Tech won with 278.5 and Riverside was second with 204.
Dziadosz (28-9 on the season) got a first-round bye and then pinned Tech (4:36) and Riverside (3:32) opponents for his title.
Dibb then got stoked by watching his old friend pick up a league title and then went out and earned his. He too picked up a first-round bye, and then pinned a Bay View opponent (0:55) before downing a Tech foe in an 8-4 decision.
"Brad came out and did really well," said Dibb. "He actually finished up (his title match) a lot better than I did mine (laughs)."
Meanwhile, Russell had a little harder of a day, as he took fourth, going 1-2 on the day at 152 pounds.
"It was a great feeling going home," said Dibb. "A wrestling championship is something I've been working toward my whole career. And now that I have it, it's awesome. It didn't really hit me until I got home what I'd accomplished."
"We've really put a lot of work into this."
The trio will now take aim at higher goals when they take part in the WIAA regional meet at Homestead on Saturday. The top four in each weight class will move onto the sectional at West Allis Central on Feb. 19. From there, the top two in each class will advance to the state tournament.
For Dibb and the members of the Brown Deer trio, a chance to go to state would be a dream come true.
"For me, it's going to be a lot harder," said Dibb. "I'm a little lighter heavyweight (230 pounds) so I've got to rely on my athleticism a lot, because I'm not as big, but I think Brad has an excellent chance."
"This has all been such a great learning experience. A state berth? That would be nice, but there's still a lot of work to do before we can get there. We'll see what we can do."
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