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Each week we ask local prep athletes questions about themselves and their teams. This week:

Barta, competing this year at 112 pounds, won his weight class at the Bozeman Invitational last weekend by beating a pair of defending state champions - Havre's Chris Ricio and Frenchtown's Tyler Stedman. It was Barta's second Bozeman Invite win and his third career invitational title. Barta placed second at 105 pounds at last year's state wrestling tournament.

School: Billings Skyview

Sport: Wrestling

Year: Senior

Q: Last weekend's Bozeman Invitational went very well for you. Talk about the victory and what it means for you early in the year.

A: It was a big victory for me because of all the hard work I've put in to get a big win like that. It feels really good. I'm looking forward to the next tournament we have.

Q: You had to overcome some strong wrestlers along the way, particularly Stedman and Ricio. Did that make it sweeter?

A: It was a really cool win. That's a great tournament and a really tough tournament. Probably the toughest in the state. It feels really good to beat those two kids because they're outstanding wrestlers.

Q: That was the third invitational title you have won in your career. What makes you successful in those tournaments?

A: We have a lot of kids in our wrestling room and everyone just pushes each other really hard. We know we have a shot at the state title this year, and that makes everyone better.

Q: You went all the way to the state finals last year before losing an 8-5 decision to Jake Dallaserra. How did it feel to reach that stage?

A: It was a big deal to me to finally make the state finals. I always wanted to make the state finals. Losing by a couple points was heartbreaking, but it made me work that much harder in the off-season.

Q: Do you feel like you can take the next step in 2009?

A: Yeah I do, especially with all the good wrestlers that we have at practice. Everybody's going 100 percent all the time. Everyone's pushing each other and everyone's getting better.

Q: Skyview hasn't won the team state title since 2005. What are your expectations for this season?

A: This season I think we have a really good chance at winning the state title. Everyone realized that when we beat Kalispell and when we beat Havre this last weekend. We know we can get it so we're going harder than ever before.

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