Dakota putting in work to five-peat

DAKOTA, Ill. (WIFR) -- Dakota wrestling head coach Pete Alber doesn't know how he does it, but he's always been able to reload his roster with talent after his seniors exit.

He says something as simple as hard work has paved the way for four straight state titles.

The Indians are currently standing at 4-4 with some difficult duals behind them.

Dakota is led by seniors Andrew Wenger and Alex Porter, who both placed in the top five at last year's class 1A tournament.

But this season, their youngsters are the key to repeating at state in February.

Alber says the trust between the coaches and wrestlers will get them as far as they can go.

"I think the whole way the coaching staff works with them and has a relationship with them and encourages to work and I think they can see through the years what it takes to win and there's no shortcuts," Alber said. "You've got to work."

"If we just keep pushing and keep working hard, I think we'll be alright," said Porter. "That's what we're going to have to do to fill in the spots in the lineup because we have a couple first year kids coming in and that's why we need to keep working hard and get in shape."

Wenger has finished runner-up the last two years and he says he's more determined than ever to stand atop the podium this postseason.

"Seeing your name on the board with second place, you just think about that feeling and you don't want to ever feel that again," said Wenger. "It's not a good feeling at all. Knowing you're right there, wrestling with the best and knowing that you could be on top, that's the part that sucks. It's just that one more spring or one more take down or one more escape you need and that's what's driving me in practice this year."