MADISON – A perfect end to a perfect season.
Two Rivers’ Paul Bianchi capped an undefeated, 51-0 campaign with a Division 2 state championship at the Kohl Center on Saturday night.
Bianchi topped Clay Lieber (41-4) of Nekoosa/Assumption/Port Edwards 3-2 for the crown at 113 pounds.
The win gave the junior his second straight state championship.
Bianchi said that having experienced a title bout helped ease his mind heading into the big match.
“It kind of took a little bit of pressure off,” Bianchi said. “Thanks to last year, I was kind of used to it.”
Lieber’s strategy was to keep a square stance as to not offer up a leg that Bianchi could target for a takedown. But what Lieber gained in security he gave up in potential scoring opportunities.
“The guy wasn’t very offensive,” Two Rivers head coach Paul Gehrke said. “So I knew Paul had to take some shots and I was assuming he was going to get him eventually and he did.”
Bianchi was ready. The two had met in Oconto Falls a week prior and Bianchi emerged victorious by a 7-4 margin.
“I wrestled him at sectionals, so I knew what he did,” Bianchi said. “I was ready for him.”
Though he carried an unblemished record through an entire season, Bianchi was relieved to finally cap off his run.
“It was a sigh of relief. I was kind of nervous,” Bianchi said. “Sometimes dreams are broken. I was pretty happy to fulfill my dream.”
With one year remaining in his prep career, Bianchi is an astounding 152-6. He owns three state medals and two of them are gold.
Gehrke believes it is possible that Bianchi will eclipse the 200-win plateau.
“It is. I mean, he probably will,” Gehrke said. “It’s crazy and I never would have thought that, but yeah, he’ll probably get 48 wins next year. It’s amazing.”
Bianchi hopes to get there.
“I hope so. That would be great,” Bianchi said. “It’s definitely possible. I’m pretty sure I’ll have a little bit more matches next year. I think it can be done.”