The Maple Leafs’ Billy Blaser repeated as the 285-pound state champion at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association freshman/sophomore state meet.

The Maple Leafs’ Billy Blaser repeated as the 285-pound state champion at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association freshman/sophomore state meet.

Blaser earned the 285-pound crown with a 1-0 win by decision over Richards’ Ahmad Suleiman in the title match on March 12.

After starting the third period on the bottom, Blaser was able to break free for an escape point.

Last season, Blaser became the first Geneseo wrestler to earn the IWCOA title with a 1-0 victory with an escape.

Geneseo wrestling Coach Jon Murray believes Blaser’s conditioning give him an edge late in close matches.

“He can really break guys down over the course of a match,” Murray said. “He’s pretty good at winning that third period because his conditioning is good for his size. He races our 106 pounders on the shuttle sprints in practice. As a heavyweight, that’s pretty impressive.”

Blaser won his first three matches by pin to advance to the semifinals.

“He has a way of applying constant pressure throughout the match that just wears on guys,” Murray said. “Then they are exhausted by the third period, and that’s when he steamrolls them from there.”

This season, Blaser was 2-0 wrestling varsity and 17-0 in JV matches.

In addition, Blaser nabbed the IWCOA regional and sectional titles.

Geneseo’s Luke Henkhaus was defeated in the opening round of the 106-pound bracket by Peoria Notre Dame’s Sean Crump with a 4-2 decision by sudden victory.

Henkhaus was eliminated in wrestlebacks with a 6-2 decision.

Murray said that wrestlers who qualify for the frosh/soph state competition often go on to have strong varsity campaigns.