Warzynski looking for second title
By Greg Seubert
Cian Fischer and Cole Warzynski are on a roll.
The Weyauwega-Fremont freshman and Almond-Bancroft senior are two of 12 area wrestlers heading to the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Meet, set for Thursday to Saturday, Feb. 25-27, at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Both wrestlers won championships Feb. 20 at their respective sectional meets. Fischer handed Stratford’s Macey Kilty an 11-6 defeat in the 106-pound title match at the Division 3 sectional in Shawano, while Warzynski pinned Two Rivers’ Sam Skornicka in 2:31 in the 285-pound finals at a Division 2 sectional in Oconto Falls.
Fischer entered the sectional with a 37-1 mark and added three more wins. He opened the meet by pinning Marathon’s Nathan Franke in 3:57 and Wabeno/Laona’s Derek Moravec in 1:32 before beating Kilty in the finals.
“Fischer is 40-1 for the season and has won eight tournaments in a row going into state,” coach Tim Potratz said.
He has a bye in the first round at state and will face Princeton’s Luke Pulvermacher (30-11) or Mineral Point’s Danny Pittz (34-8) in the state quarterfinals, which get underway at 11:15 a.m. Friday, Feb. 26.
“Cian wrestled a tremendous tournament against some very tough kids,” Potratz said. “He is a very talented wrestler who has worked very hard to be a champion. We are all very excited for him as he prepares for a trip to state as a freshman.
“Cian is an excellent technician, is very strong and is well-conditioned,” he added. “He will be tough to beat at state.”
Three other W-F wrestlers also advanced to the sectional. Justin Kempf fell to Oconto’s Aiden Wusterbarth 3-2 at 113, Tyler Wetzel lost to Crivitz’s Mike Retza 11-3 at 138 and Dylen Kicherer dropped a 3-2 decision to Stratford’s Jon Aquirre at 220. Neither wrestler received a wrestleback match.
“Kicherer finished 32-8 for the season and was our team leader wrestling at 195, 220 and 285,” Potratz said.
Meanwhile, two Amherst wrestlers will join Fischer at state.
Bryce Holderman lost his opening match to eventual 170-pound champion Alex Lemanski of Edgar, but came back through the wrestleback round. He picked up an 18-2 technical fall over Marshall Westfall of Athens to finish second.
Shiocton’s Henry Fielding pinned Max Villnow in 5:34 in the 195-pound championship match.
Holderman (42-6) will face Hunter Anderson (28-15) in a preliminary round at state, while Villnow (40-8) is matched up against Mineral Point’s Kyle Juedes (29-13).
Waupaca’s two wrestlers – Tanner Johnson at 120 and Mitchell Rotta at 160 – came up short in their opening matches and didn’t get a chance to come back in the wrestleback.
Johnson had the tougher draw of the two, as he went up against two-time defending state champion Paul Bianchi of Two Rivers. Bianchi pinned Johnson in 1:54 and went on to win the championship.
Rotta, who won a regional championship in Mosinee, faced Wrightstown’s Bryce Herlache and fell 4-3 in overtime.
“He needed to get off the bottom,” coach Robert Forseth said. “That’s all he needed to do in that second period and he just couldn’t do it. We knew Herlache was going to be tough on top. We knew he was going to be a tough match and we knew we were going to have to beat him at one point or another.”
Rotta had a chance to come back through the wrestleback if Herlache won his semifinal match, but Herlache fell to eventual champion Seth Vosters of Freedom and Rotta’s season came to end at 31-8.
“You won’t find a harder worker in the room,” Forseth said. “I’ve coached state champions and I’ve never had a kid that actually worked as hard as he has. He hasn’t been wrestling his whole life. To come from where he started and get to where he’s at, that’s a special kind of kid.”
Late-season injuries took their toll on the Comets at the end of the season, according to Forseth.
“Mitch’s brother, Derrick, tore his meniscus and we didn’t know that was torn until too late,” he said. “Not having him in the room kind of hurt us.”
The Comets also lost Logan Bernhardt, a state qualifier two years ago as a freshman, to a hand injury in late January.
“Not having Logan obviously hurt us,” Forseth said. “I just found out today that one of the guys ranked higher than Logan isn’t here because of grades. I knew the top three guys in that bracket were tough, but I thought he could have taken it all.”
Warzynski pinned Peshtigo’s Drake Koenings in 4:35 in the quarterfinals before advancing to the finals with a 3-1 win over Ripon’s Cody Jacobson. He then pinned Skornicka in the finals.
Warzynski, who won the Division 3 285-pound state championship last year, has a bye in the first round at state and will put his 45-1 record on the line against Brendan Lillo of Columbus (26-5) or Ellsworth’s Mike Freund (31-10) in the quarterfinals at 11:15 a.m. Feb. 26.
Hortonville High School’s most successful wrestling season is still going strong, as the Polar Bears are sending seven wrestlers to state, including six sectional champions.
Eric Barnett (106), Nathan Lichtfuss (138), Joe Cliver (152), Elliott Luker (170), Jack Huebner (220) and Jacob Stein (285) won titles Feb. 20 at the Ashwaubenon Sectional, while Jacob Barnett (126) placed second.
All seven wrestlers will also return to Madison March 4-5, as the Polar Bears compete for the program’s first-ever state team championship.
Meanwhile, New London’s Scott Cook is heading back for the third time in a row after winning the 132-pound championship.