Almond-Bancroft/Pacelli’s Warzynski finishes second at state
Senior Cole Warzynski of the Almond-Bancroft/Pacelli co-op
wrestling team came up one period short of his second consecutive State Title.
Warzynski, last season’s WIAA Division 3 State Champion at
285 pounds, advanced to the Division 2 State Championship at 285 pounds at the Kohl Center
Saturday, Feb. 27, where he carried a 3-2 lead into the third period against seventh-ranked
senior Gabe Bautz of Waukesha Catholic Memorial (45-6).
However, Bautz got an early escape to tie the match and then
used a headlock to put Warzynski on his back, which proved to be the difference
in an 8-3 win that left Warzynski (47-2) as the State Runner-up.
“I wrestled hard, he just came out on top,” said Warzynski.
“I made a couple of mistakes, I got myself out of position, he was able to turn
me, and he got a near fall on the takedown.”
“It’s disappointing, but in the long run, he’s done great
things for our program,” said Almond-Bancroft/Pacelli co-head coach Bill
Wagner. “He’s really given it a shot in the arm.
“The community’s got a lot to be proud of him for,” he said.
“I’m certainly proud of him.”
Warzynski entered the WIAA Division 2 Individual State
Tournament as the second-ranked wrestler at 285 with a 45-1 record, and as a
Sectional Champion received an opening-round bye into the State Quarterfinals
Friday, Feb. 26.
There, Warzynski took on eighth-ranked senior Brenden Lillo
(29-7) and held on for a 2-0 victory to advance to the State Semifinals Friday
“Cole just played it safe and took what was given to him and
came out on top,” said Wagner. “He did a fantastic job riding the kid out for
most of the match.”
“He was a good wrestler,” said Warzynski. “I feel I had the
hardest path to get down to the finals, going against him and then Quinton.”
That set up a showdown with top-ranked senior Quinton Reed
of Wisconsin Lutheran (51-2), who pinned 12th-ranked junior Kyle Walter of Monroe (35-9) in in the quarterfinals, as the
No.1- and No. 2-ranked wrestlers in the weight class squared off with a trip to
the State Championship on the line.
The match remained tied at 0-0 heading into the second
period, where Warzynski escaped from the bottom position to take a 1-0 lead
with left in the
It stayed that way until a minute later, when Warzynski put
a headlock on Reed and threw him to the mat with about 20 seconds to go in the
period, and secured a pin with seven seconds left in the period to advance to
the State Championship for the second year in a row.
“Quinton’s a helluva wrestler,” said Warzynski. “I’ve known
him for a long time, I played football with him my eighth-grade year.
“But I was really happy I beat him, to make it down here
again,” he said.
“Cole’s developed from a guy not willing to take chances,”
said Almond-Bancroft/Pacelli co-head coach Mike Suchocki. “To in the
semifinals, he throws a headlock move he has used only twice in his high school
career, to get him down to the finals.”
In the State Finals, Warzynski was matched up with Bautz,
who won 5-3 in the opening round over sixth-ranked junior Sam Skornicka of Two
Rivers (31-12), 7-0 over fourth-ranked junior Nick Rueth of Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal
(40-7) in the State Quarterfinals and 6-4 over third-ranked senior Skyler Kurt
of Lodi (42-3)
in the State Semifinals.
In the final match of the State Tournament Saturday night,
neither wrestler was able to score in the first period, as it remained tied at
0-0 entering the second period.
Warzynski started the second period from the bottom position
and got a reversal for two points to take a 2-0 lead just over 30 seconds into
the period, before Bautz scored on a reversal to tie the match at 2-2 with 1:08
to go in the period.
However, Warzynski came back to take the lead at 3-2 on an
escape with 34 seconds left, and held on to carry a 3-2 lead into the third
Bautz started the third period from the bottom and broke
free for an escape six seconds into the period to tie it at 3-3, and then threw
a headlock to bring Warzynski to the mat and on his back with 1:30 to go.
Warzynski worked his way to his side and then to his stomach
to avoid the pin, but Bautz got two points for the takedown and two more for the
near fall to take a 7-3 lead.
“Cole tried to throw himself through it, but just didn’t
have enough on it to make that happen,” said Wagner of the headlock. “And you
could tell that was probably the end of it right there.
“Every bit of energy he had went into that,” he said. “And
he just didn’t have anything to go after that.”
As the final 1:15 ticked off the clock, Warzynski was unable
to work his way off the mat and was called for stalling in the closing seconds
to give Bautz an 8-3 lead, and Bautz went on to an 8-3 win to claim the State
Title and end Warzynski’s season at 47-2.
“I wish I just could’ve finished it out,” said Warzynski.
“But sometimes it doesn’t fall your way.”
“It’s a tough way to lose, a tough way to end your senior
year,” said Almond-Bancroft/Pacelli assistant coach Kevin Suchocki. “But he
accomplished a lot.
“He’s a great kid to coach, a great wrestling IQ, and he had
a great career,” he said. “Right away from his freshman year, you could tell he
was going to be something pretty special.”
The loss ended a four-year run that saw Warzynski finish
with a 160-22 record overall, as he went 21-12 as a freshman, and 139-10 over
the last three seasons.
“He was in the first class we had since it’s been an Almond-Bancroft
and Pacelli combination, and he’s been just instrumental in helping the team
come along,” said Mike Suchocki. “You couldn’t ask for a better kid, you never
had to worry about him getting in trouble or picking on kids, he kept everyone
together and worked his butt off.
“Just a nice kid, and it was excellent to work with him for
those four years and see him get better and better,” he said.
“I’ve had amazing support,” said Warzynski. “I’ve got a huge
fan club that showed up to watch me, I wish I could’ve given them a better
match, but I’m happy I had all of them to back me up all the way through the
“And (senior) Taylor Kim’s been my practice partner all four
years and he’s done a lot to get me to here, and I thank all three of my
coaches for helping me get here as well,” he said. “It’s been a fun ride.”