The Geneseo wrestling team came up short against Sterling and competed in the Rex Whitlatch Invite.

The Geneseo wrestling team came up short against Sterling and competed in the Rex Whitlatch Invite.

Sterling at Geneseo

Things looked good on the scoreboard, but the Maple Leafs were fighting an uphill battle all night against the Golden Warriors on Dec. 15.

A malfunctioning scoreboard showed the Leafs leading an absurd 198-20. However, in reality, Sterling finished with the upper hand taking a 36-30 win against their biggest rival in the Northern Illinois Big 12 West Conference.

After losing returning state qualifier Zach Humphrey to a hand injury, Geneseo had to overcome more than just injury after falling behind 22-0 in the match that began at 113 pounds.

The Leafs’ Jack Morrell stopped the bleeding with a 10-5 decision at 138 pounds, and Josh Decker picked up a 9-1 major decision at 145 pounds.

Ethan Kennedy dominated his match winning the 170-pound match by technical fall in the third period.

Geneseo’s Joe Stohl won the 195-pound match by pin in 1:28, and Luke Henkhaus finished the dual with a pin at 106 pounds.

Ranked eighth in the state by Illinois Matmen, the Maple Leafs’ Sam Thomas added a pin to his senior resume in a 1:02 at 285 pounds.

Thomas said Geneseo’s commitment to peaking at the right time through work in practice and conditioning will make the Maple Leafs a different team by the start of the postseason.

“What’s driving me right now is doing the best in every event,” Thomas said. “My goal is to get back to the state tournament and get a place on that podium.”

While the Maple Leafs have younger wrestlers learning on the job to start the season, Geneseo Coach Jon Murray believes they will be a different team by the time they see Sterling at Regionals.

“We’ve got our notes on what to work on,” Murray said. “At the same time, we are going to get technically better and physically better so we are better wrestlers the next time we face them.”

51st Annual Rex Whitlatch Invitational

The Maple Leafs finished in 21st place, and Thomas landed a fourth-place finish at 285 pounds on Dec. 17.

GHS’ Thomas won a pair of matches by decision in the championship bracket before being defeated in a 3-1 decision in the semifinal round.

Thomas won a match by pin in the consolation round by pin to advance to the third-place match where he was defeated by pin.

The Maple Leafs’ Kennedy earned a win by pin in the opening round of the 170-pound bracket.

Kennedy picked up another win in the consolation round with a 4-3 decision.

The Maple Leafs’ Benett Egert opened the 152-pound bracket with a victory by pin in 4:57.

Egert added a pin in the consolation round in 4:39.

Geneseo’s next matches will be at the Naperville Central Quad on Thursday, Dec. 29 starting at 9 a.m.