Geneseo junior Brandon Mizlo earned a spot on the podium at the IHSA State Wrestling Finals Feb. 14-16 in Champaign as he placed sixth overall at 170 pounds.
"This was definitely a good accomplishment for Brandon," said head coach Jon Murray. "Being able to gut through two really close matches, including a takedown with 3 seconds left to win in the quarterfinals. He really dug down and earned it. The first two close wins bought him that medal."
Mizlo started the tournament with a 12-11 decision win over Michael Maduko of Lombard Montini in the preliminaries.
He went on to win his quarterfinal match 17-15 in overtime over Kenneth Nayler of Park Forest (Rich East), but was pinned in 36 seconds in the semifinals by Cameron Mammen of Urbana.
In the semifinal wrestlebacks, Mizlo was defeated in a 5-2 decision by Martez Cox of Peoria. Mizlo fell in a 11-1 major decision in the fifth-place bout to Michael Cole of Rock Island to place sixth.
Freshman Hunter Grau opened competition with a 11-9 overtime victory over Branden Peshekof Johnsburg in the 120-lb. preliminaries.
"Hunter was only one match away from a medal," said Murray. "He got good wins, but had a tough road. We will definitely see him down there again."
Grau fell in quarterfinal action in an 8-1 decision to Noah Keefe of New Lenox (Lincoln-Way West), but rebounded in the first round of wrestlebacks to pin Ethan Mason of Mt. Zion in 4:29.
Grau's run came to an end in the quarterfinal wrestlebacks as he was pinned in 2:58 by Grant Sutton of Richmond Burton.
Sophomore Ryan Pitra represented Geneseo at 160-lbs., and suffered a 20-6 major decision loss to David Frazier of Cahokia in the preliminaries.
"Ryan had a really tough draw and had to do what he could," said Murray. "It was a good effort, but it just wasn't quite enough. I think he realized if he steps up his training he can get medals from now on."
Pitra was pinned in his next match in :58 by Mike Zelasco of Crystal Lake Central in the first round wrestlebacks to end his run in the tournament.