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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Leafs battle with states' top wrestlers

  • The Geneseo High School wrestling team knocked off Ottawa in conference action this past week and also battled some tough competition at the Geneseo Invitational, which included teams from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
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  • The Geneseo High School wrestling team knocked off Ottawa in conference action this past week and also battled some tough competition at the Geneseo Invitational, which included teams from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
    Geneseo Invitational
    The Geneseo wrestling team earned a seventh-place team finish and had seven wrestlers claim fourth, fifth and sixth places at the Jan. 11-12 Geneseo Invitational.
    "I am happy with the team finish and it is about what we expected team-wise," said head coach Jon Murray. "As a whole, our guys did well. They realized it was their home gym and they came out ready to go and showed a lot of guts against tough competition. They showed a lot of heart and battled as hard as they could. (The invite) exposed some technical errors, but that is stuff we can work on. We definitely have more work to do."
    Hunter Grau (120 pounds) and Mitch Miller (182-lbs.) led the Leafs as both wrestlers finished in fourth place.
    Grau won his first two matches over a Bettendorf wrestler in a 9-1 major decision and a Cedar Rapids Kennedy wrestler in a 9-3 decision. Grau later fell in an 8-3 decision to a wrestler from O'Fallon, but rebounded to pin his Granite City opponent in 3 minutes and 33 seconds.
    Grau lost the third-place bout by technical fall in 6:00 to his Pleasant Valley opponent.
    "Hunter did great and I think I am probably more pleased with Hunter than he is with himself," said Murray. "I hope he can appreciate what he did. A freshman taking fourth in this tournament is a pretty good accomplishment."
    Miller started his weekend with a pin in 1:30 of his Palos Hills Stagg opponent, but in the next match fell in an 8-2 decision to a wrestler from Pleasant Valley.
    Miller bounced back to pin his Arrowhead opponent in :56 and his Mineral Point opponent in 1:29. He advanced to the third-place match after he defeated his Chatham Glenwood opponent in a 4-2 decision.
    Miller was defeated in the third-place bout by his Pleasant Valley opponent in a 5-2 decision.
    "I wouldn't say I was surprised (at Mitch's finish) because I knew he had it in him," said Murray. "He had gotten to the point where he can compete for six minutes and do his stuff."
    Josiah Cropp (145-lbs.) took home a fifth-place finish in his weight class. Cropp opened action with pins of his first two opponents — Palos Hills Stagg in 3:02 and Granite City in 5:18.
    Cropp later fell in a 5-1 decision to a wrestler from Waverly Shell Rock, and in a 10-5 decision to his Bettendorf opponent.
    Cropp won the fifth-place match over his North Scott opponent in a 7-6 decision.
    Page 2 of 3 - Ryan Pitra (160-lbs.) also placed fifth for the Leafs as he won his first two matches by in over Bettendorf in 2:14 and Palos Hills Stagg in a 9-7 decision.
    Pitra lost his next match in an 11-2 major decision to his Waverly Shell Rock opponent, and was pinned by his Granite City opponent in 3:24.
    Pitra placed fifth with a 9-3 decision win over his New Lenox Providence opponent.
    Antonio Tumbarello (106-lbs.) finished his first Geneseo Invite in sixth place as he began action with two pins of his opponents — Normal Community in 2:48 and Palos Hills Stagg in 2:54.
    Tumbarello was pinned in his next match by a wrestler from Bettendorf in 1:45, and fell in a 9-7 decision to his Franklin opponent in the next bout.
    Tumbarello lost the fifth-place in a 13-0 major decision to his Belvidere opponent.
    Brandon Mizlo (170-lbs.) nabbed a sixth-place finish as he won his first match over his Moline opponent in a 10-4 decision, but dropped his second bout in a 16-3 major decision to his Franklin opponent.
    Mizlo went on to defeat his Arrowhead opponent in a 5-3 decision and Normal Community opponent in a 6-0 decision. He was pinned in his next bout by his Cedar Rapids Prairie opponent.
    In the fifth-place match, Mizlo was pinned by his Franklin opponent in 1:21.
    Nick Verbeck (285-lbs.) came in sixth as he bounced back after being pinned in his opening match in :59 by his Palos Hills Stagg opponent.
    Verbeck later won by default over his Arrowhead opponent, and pinned his next two opponents in 3:08 over Chicago Height Marian and 1:14 over Belvidere. He fell to his North Scott opponent in a 6-3 decision in his next bout.
    Verbeck was pinned in the fifth-place match with a wrestler from Palos Hills Stagg in 3:40.
    "Wow, Verbeck really came on well and looked better than ever," said Murray. "He had a couple of tough losses, but he is literally improving every single day."
    In other wrestling results, Clayton Kennedy (126-lbs.) fell in both of his matches as he was pinned by his Pleasant Valley opponent in 1:48 and O'Fallon opponent in 5:00, while Cody Bormann (132-lbs.) was pinned in :53 by his Pleasant Valley opponent and later fell in a 16-11 decision to his New Lenox Providence opponent.
    Jarred Bruce (138-lbs.) went 1-2 in action as he won his opener over his Moline opponent in a 15-6 major decision, but then fell in a 13-5 major decision to his Pleasant Valley opponent and in a 1-0 decision to his North Scott opponent. Cole Hunzeker (152-lbs.) lost his opener by pin in 5:20 to his opponent from Bettendorf, but rebounded to beat his Granite City opponent in a 12-6 decision. He was later pinned in his next match by his Pleasant Valley opponent in 3:03.
    Page 3 of 3 - Lane Akre (195-lbs.) finished with a 1-2 record as he was pinned in his first match by a wrestler from Waverly Shell Rock in 5:26. Akre pinned his New Lenox Providence opponent in 1:52, but later was pinned in 2:54 by his Cedar Rapids Prairie opponent.
    Cameron Panicucci (220-lbs.) opened action in his bracket with a 2:37 pin of his Belvidere opponent. Panicucci fell in a 3-0 decision to his Mineral Point opponent in his next match, and lost by default in the following match to his opponent from Granite City.
    "We have to see what the highest level of competition is doing and get there," said Murray of what his team can take away from the Geneseo Invite. "Our guys are seeing what year-round wrestlers are like. You have to put in the time in the offseason to get to that level."
    Geneseo vs. Ottawa
    With a 52-16 win in Ottawa Jan. 10, the Leaf wrestlers claimed the NIB 12 West Division Conference title.
    "We were definitely the favorites in that dual," said Murray. "We didn't do anything that wasn't expected, and it was good to do what was expected of us."
    The Leafs captured the title with 10 wins out of the 14 weight classes.
    Tumbarello (106-lbs.) pinned his opponent in 5:23, followed by Gunner Gaines (113-lbs.) who earned a 8-3 decision win, and Grau (120-lbs.) pinned his opponent in 3:12.
    Kennedy (126-lbs.) received a forfeit, while Cropp (145-lbs.) pinned his opponent in 2:52, and Hunzeker (152-lbs.) claimed the win by major decision, 14-5.
    Pitra (160-lbs.) made quick work of his opponent with a pin in :49, followed by Mizlo (170-lbs.), who received a forfeit.
    Miller (182-lbs.) earned a win by pin in 3:01 and Verbeck (285-lbs.) claimed the victory in a 3-1 decision.
    Falling short in their matches were Bormann (132-lbs.) in a 9-4 decision; Bruce (138-lbs.) pinned in 1:46; Akre (195-lbs.) lost by major decision, 13-3; and Panicucci (220-lbs.) fell in a 6-2 decision.
    The Leafs will be in action this weekend in the NIB 12 Conference Meet at 9 a.m. in Sycamore.
    "We are looking for individual success and to put more names on our wall," said Murray. "I want each individual to go out and expect to win and do their best and the team stuff will fall into place."
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