Just got back from three days at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisc. for the 2017 WIAA State Wrestling Tournament.  It’s my favorite sporting event of the year with plenty of action, upsets and emotion.  Each year I work for the Eau Claire Leader Telegram and cover guys from my hometown of Sparta, Wisc. when I can.  I’m already counting down to the 2018 tournament.

While I shoot a lot of weddings, news, commercial work and other types of photography, sports photography and especially wrestling photography have always been close to my heart.  The sport is in my blood, it shows in my crooked nose and it was a big part in shaping the person I am today.

Since 1996 when I signed up for a Geocities account, I’ve run a blog and website dedicated to the wrestling team in my hometown of Sparta, Wisconsin.  My goal has been to provide coverage of the team via updates after each match with information that you can’t find in newspapers like stats and quotes from the coaches and people surrounding the program.

When I first picked up a camera in 2003, I’ve made it a point to have strong visual documentation of the program.  That has extended to implementing live streams, hiring freelancers for important duals or tournaments that I cannot attend and doing everything we can to give the ESPN treatment to the Sparta Wrestling program.  For me, it’s all about uniting alumni, parents, fan and supporters of the program to something that has always been a big part of my life since as long as I can remember.

And in the middle of all of this, there is probably no greater weekend than the Wisconsin state wrestling tournament.  And there is no greater joy than to see our Spartan wrestlers qualify for state and find success at the Kohl Center.  With the state tournament less than 48 hours from kicking off, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite photos of Spartan wrestlers, coaches and parents from the last five state tournaments I have covered–2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

So much fun on this day.  The preceding two days before Shammi and Gary were married at the Glensheen were rainy, windy and cloudy.  The rain and the wind disappeared on the wedding day and it was a beautiful afternoon for a wedding at the mansion.  Big shout out to Clint Austin for second shooting with me and Northland Special Events for helping the day go smoothly.  I had a really fun day following these two around.  Congrats!!

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I apologize.  I’ve been terrible at blogging this year.  My year has been as busy as ever with weddings, work for MPR News and a wide variety of things that most freelance photographers can relate to.  For me, that includes shooting athletics for the College of St. Scholastica.  With the fall comes soccer, football and volleyball.  Below is a small sample of some of my work covering the Saints’ football and fútbol teams over the past couple of weeks.

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Hard to beat the views at the Summit Chalet at Lutsen.  And the ride up there, via gondola, is probably my favorite way to get to any ceremony site.  Going back down in pitch black darkness via gondola is a really cool and calming experience as well.  Throw in Lake Superior, the amazing views and how great Andrew and Sony were and you have a recipe for a really fun day.  They did not disappoint.  Congrats!!

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