On the mats this past week, the Geneseo wrestling team finished seventh at the conference meet and suffered a loss in non-conference action to Mercer County.
Geneseo vs. Mercer County
In non-conference action Jan. 24, the Geneseo wrestling team fell 36-24 to host Mercer County.
“For the most part, I am proud of our kids,” said head coach Jon Murray. “They fought tough, came out with a couple of close wins and showed some guts out there.”
Receiving wins for the Leafs were Jacob DePauw (106-pounds), pinning his opponent in 1 minute and 1 second; Tristan Thies (120-lbs.), pinning his opponent in 2:34; Joey Medina (145-lbs.), won in a 3-2 decision; Tyler Puls (160-lbs.) with a 13-7 major decision win; Bryce Zanfes (182-lbs.), an 8-3 decision victory; and Cameron Panicucci (285-lbs.), a 7-0 decision win.
Those falling short of victory were Josh Dodge (126-lbs.), who lost in a 15-1 major decision; Sean Lillis (132-lbs.), fell in a 9-2 decision and Jarred Bruce (138-lbs.) was pinned in :55.
Ryan?Pitra (152-lbs.) fell in a 12-4 major decision, followed by Mitch Miller (170-lbs.), who was pinned in 1:44; Lane Akre (195-lbs.), lost in an 8-6 decision; and Blake Rusk (220-lbs.) fell in an 11-2 major decision.
“I was expecting to have our hands full (with Mercer County),” said Murray. “I know they have a solid program and a good thing going over there. I knew they would be solid.”
Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Meet
Geneseo senior Oliver Newton earned runner-up honors in the conference at 195-lbs. Jan. 21 at the NIB 12 Conference Meet.
The Leafs had six place finishers total as the squad took seventh in the conference with finishes from Miller, third place; Medina, fourth place; Pitra, Puls and Zanfes, fifth places.
“Of course, I would have liked a higher finish, but when you look at what we are up against on the other side of the conference, it is a huge ladder to climb,” said Murray. “The other side is just solid. The one positive I try to bring out of it was we were second on our side of the conference.”
Newton pinned his way to the championship match as he took down Streator’s Isalas Macias in 1:39 and Ottawa’s Alex Fuentes in 4:15. Newton was defeated in the championship bout by Sycamore’s Jake Davis in a 13-4 major decision to take second.
“I think Oliver was on a mission to be conference champ his senior year, and he pinned his way to the finals,” said Murray. “In the third period (of the title bout), Oliver was coming on tough and was taking it to his opponent. He fought hard all the way through the match.?I am proud of him. He did what he could and fought for it.”
Miller (170-lbs.) nabbed a third-place finish in his division with a 4-1 record. Miller opened with a 13-5 major decision win over Kaneland’s Austin Brummel, but was pinned in the next round by Yorkville’s Steven Pozeg in 2:33. He went on to win his next two matches over DeKalb’s Caleb Deweese by pin in 3:04 and LaSalle-Peru’s Ryan Galletti in a 20-5 technical fall. He won the third-place bout over Kaneland’s Brummel by pin in 3:16.
“Mitch had his offense going, his confidence was up and his take downs were on,” said Murray. “He really turned things around and was really clicking.”
Medina (145-lbs.) took fourth in his first conference meet with a record of 2-2. Medina won his first match in a 9-3 decision over DeKalb’s Collin Adkins, but was pinned in :47 in the next round by Sycamore’s Steven Lalowski. Medina rebounded with a 17-4 major decision win over Dixon’s Brenan Chacon, but fell in the third-place bout to Ottawa’s jared Jones in a 16-0 technical fall for fourth.
“Joey is a scrapper and fights tough every match,” said Murray. “We have some fine-tuning to do, but he has a huge heart and that is the biggest thing. He will give us everything he has. He got his nose cracked Saturday, and the trainer thought it was broken, but it wasn’t and he kept fighting. I really like this kid, and I am excited about the future.”
Pitra (152-lbs.), also in his first conference meet, finished in fifth place with a 2-2 record. Pitra defeated Streator’s Edgar Hulchaps in a 12-3 major decision in the opener, but lost in a 17-2 technical fall to Sycamore’s Austin Culton. Pitra later fell to DeKalb’s Matt Macanus in a close 7-6 decision before he beat Morris’ Trevor Albert in the fifth-place bout, 7-2.
Puls (160-lbs.) brought home a fifth-place finish for the Leafs with a 2-2 record. Puls won his opener over Streator’s Jake Harcar in a 17-6 major decision, but later fell in an 8-3 decision to Yorkville’s Tyler Wilkinson. He also was pinned in 3:06 by Sycamore’s Logan Klein before he defeated Streator’s Harcar for the second time in a 20-5 technical fall for fifth.
Zanfes (182-lbs.) took home fifth place with a 2-2 record. Zanfes lost his first match in a 4-3 decision to Sycamore’s Tyler Barton, but rebounded with a 6-4 decision win over Dixon’s Emillio Gonzalez. He suffered a 4-0 loss in his next match to Sterling’s Josh Villarreal, but came back to take fifth with a 5-1 decision win over DeKalb’s Jacob Watson.
“You have to keep an even keel and keep churning after a loss,” said Murray. “You have to be able to put it behind you. The key is being able to bounce back after adversity, and Ryan, Tyler and Bryce did that.”
DePauw (106-lbs.) lost his two matches of the day to Rochelle’s TJ?Hager in a 14-4 major decision and LaSalle-Peru’s Riley Sweetland in an 11-1 major decision.
Thies (120-lbs.) also suffered two losses in the tournament to DeKalb’s Brad Green in a 4-2 decision and Sycamore’s Brandon McGehee in a 5-4 decision.
Dodge (126-lbs.) went 0-2 in the meet as he fell in a 6-5 decision to Streator’s Erick Gonzales and Dixon’s Trent Brinkmeler in a 9-2 decision.
Lillis (132-lbs.) fell in both of his matches for the day to Rochelle’s Josh Ankney in a 7-2 decision and Yorkville’s Jacob Hurt in an 18-6 major decision.
Bruce (138-lbs.) finished the meet at 0-2 as he was pinned by Yorkville’s Brennan Sharp in 2:48 and lost in a 13-2 major decision to DeKalb’s Jake Sommer.
Rusk (220-lbs.) was pinned in his opening match in 5:29 by Kaneland’s Ben Kowalick and later lost in overtime 13-11 to Yorkville’s Alex Cantu.
Panicucci (285-lbs.) lost both of his matches by injury default.
The Leafs will begin postseason action with the IHSA Regional Wrestling meet a 10 a.m. Feb. 4 in Geneseo.
“It is all about getting the qualifiers and getting as many to advance as possible,” said Murray. “We need to do everything we can to get an edge. Our guys’ mind set is the biggest thing, and we need to make sure everything is where it needs to be to advance.
“We will basically be in the same battles we have been through the last couple of weeks. I?just want to know when they walk off the mat that they left everything on the mat win or lose.”