Joe Ziolkowski is on a quest to be better than himself. Last year, the Everest wrestler made it to the state tournament. And that experience only fueled the flame within our Athlete of the Week.
"When you start getting good, that's when you can like it more," Ziolkowski said. "You set your goals high and you want to reach them."
Ziolkowski was one win shy of earning a medal at last year's state championships. Now the Everest junior looks to stay in Madison a little longer this time around.
"Just my mindset too, I always get focused for every match. I'm determined to win," Ziolkowski said.
His journey to what he hopes is another Kohl Center appearance has had more ups and fewer downs. Ziolkowski is 34-4 this season and is coming off a four-pin performance last weekend at SPASH.
"I like coming in thinking that I'm the one to beat," Ziolkowski said. "This is my year. I want it to be my year and I'm going to win."
Ziolkowski is ranked second in the state at 145 pounds. But the rankings won't matter unless he wins a medal at state.
"That's when it starts getting kind of fun. When a kid starts saying 'this is what I'm going to do,'" D.C. Everest head coach Eric Lehrke said.
"It's not a matter anymore of 'can I do it?' Now it's 'how am I gonna get there? I definitely think Joe has a different attitude. Anything less than a high place at state would be a disappointment."
Ziolkowski hopes to not only finish on the podium, but finish first.
"I'm going in with a target on my back," Ziolkowski said.
A target that he's placed on himself. Joe Ziolkowski, your Newsline 9 Athlete of the Week.