Two Rivers wrestler Paul Bianchi made quite a splash during his freshman season this past winter.
The young wrestler posted a record of 49-4 and placed fifth in Division 2 at 106 pounds at the WIAA Individual State Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison.
But Bianchi’s wrestling prowess spans beyond the world of Folkstyle wrestling, the style used in WIAA sanctioned competitions. He is also well-versed in the Olympic styles of Freestyle and Greco-Roman.
Though he has only wrestled Freestyle and Greco for a handful of years, it is clear that his talents on the mat translate well across the board and have yielded the type of results that are about to open some doors.
After a second place finish in Greco at 46 kilograms at the FILA Cadet Nationals in Akron, Ohio, Bianchi was selected to represent the United States in the 2013 FILA Cadet Pan-American Games in Medellin, Colombia.
Bianchi will be a Team USA representative in both Greco-Roman and Freestyle classes. Competition gets underway in Greco on Aug. 9 and Freestyle Aug. 11.
“It sounded pretty great. I’ve never had the chance to do something like this before,” Bianchi said. “It’s an honor.”
Scott Pelot, Bianchi’s coach at X-Factor Elite, a local club that gives wrestlers the opportunity to gain experience outside of their high school teams, is thrilled to see one of his athletes get the chance to compete internationally.
“What Paul is going to get an opportunity to do is awesome,” Pelot said. “He’s had a great year as a freshman.”
It may be Bianchi’s first taste of international competition, but that does not mean that he will be in over his head. Bianchi’s accolades at the state and national levels are quickly beginning to speak for themselves.
Wrestling up an age division in his first crack at the USAW Junior Greco Nationals, in Fargo, N. D. earlier this week, Bianchi recorded a fifth-place finish at 106 pounds, earning him All-American honors.
Even with a growing list of superlatives, Bianchi remains all-business while on the mat.
“You know how they always say that when Barry Sanders scored a touchdown, he just handed the ball off? If (Paul) wins, he won’t jump for joy or run around the mat,” Pelot said. “He just shakes the other guy’s hand, the referee raises his hand and he walks off the mat. That’s the type of kid he is.”
But, should Bianchi find success in Colombia, Pelot hopes that the soon-to-be sophomore takes the time to enjoy the moment.
“I think if he goes out there and wins, I hope he’s jumping for joy,” Pelot said.
“It feels kind of like the next step,” Bianchi said. “It’s another step up from wrestling kids in the U.S.”
While Bianchi is well aware of the magnitude of the upcoming event, he also knows that his mental approach to the matches must remain consistent with what he has done in the past.
“I’m just going to try my best and see what I can come up with,” Bianchi said. “I just need to wrestle like it’s a normal match.”
Pelot is confident that his wrestler is sufficiently equipped to handle the challenges ahead.
“I don’t think he does realize how good he is,” Pelot said. “He puts in a lot of work.”