Greenfield — Beaten physically as he was in his 14-2 WIAA Division 1 Individual State Tournament 215-pound finals loss to Beloit Memorial's Alex Polizzi, Greenfield wrestler Patrick Bruyette was nothing but victorious in his reactions and thoughts afterwards.
He reached out and pulled Polizzi to his feet after the final buzzer and slapped him on the back. After shaking hands and accepting the warm consolation greetings from his coaches, including long-time Hustlin' Hawks mentor Keith Morin, he looked around and made sure he found the Memorial coaches so he could congratulate them too.
And he was only getting started. Bruyette, the first Greenfield finalist since 1989 152-pound state champ Billy Kumprey, wanted to spread the joy of his great state experience.
"I think, strength-wise, (Polizzi) and I are about 50/50," Bruyette said, "but he has so much more experience in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling, while I'm all folkstyle (high school wrestling). He used that experience against me, because I don't see a lot of that.
"But it was an honor to be here. In fact, it's an honor for the team and for everyone in the middle school program. For that matter, it was a Woodland Conference effort, too."
With an attitude like that, it's no small wonder that Morin was so pleased for his senior wrestler, despite the loss.
"Just a wonderful kid, an absolute pleasure to coach," Morin said. "He's a product of our middle school program, and it was just a great thrill to see him out there."
Bruyette got the initial takedown in the match early in the first period, but before he could capitalize on the momentum, a small cut above his eye he had been nursing since the start of the tournament opened up again and caused a delay.
It was clear after the re-set Bruyette had caught Polizzi's attention. Before the end of the first period, the unbeaten state champ hit him with a powerful upper-body throw for five points that put him in control of the match for good.
Bruyette didn't think the delay made all that much difference.
"I think we were actually pretty close toward going out of bounds (on my takedown)," he said.
According to Morin, Bruyette was the sixth Greenfield wrestler to make the finals. Bruyette hopes he made an impression.
"(The finals) is what you work for, why we practice hard everyday," he said. "Just a great experience. I hope Alex (Polizzi) doesn't forget my name soon (laughs). …We wanted to give everyone a show out there and I think that's what we did."
Greenfield's other three state qualifiers - senior Steve Fisher (125) and juniors Taylor Wirtz (130) and Kevin Vazquez (145) - went a combined 0-4 at the tournament.
Fisher finished the season 38-7 and in a three-way tie for second place on the school's all-time career victory board with 112.
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