The Maple Leafs' wrestling team will want to attack this season the same way some think about a match.
The Maple Leafs’ wrestling team will want to attack this season the same way some think about a match.
In the first period, gain experience and continue to work on technique.
In the second period, rely on conditioning and heart.
In the third period, put the experience, hard work and heart all together.
The Maple Leafs have a lot of new faces filling in the varsity lineup after graduating the Leafs’ individual state qualifiers Sam Thomas and Zach Humphrey.
Geneseo Coach Jon Murray will depend on the Leafs’ workmanlike makeup to drive the team.
“They are probably the hardest working group I’ve ever had,” Murray said. “I’m looking forward to seeing them compete and how they respond.”
Murray believes junior Billy Blaser is on the cusp of a big season.
Over the summer, Blaser repeated as the 285-pound state champion at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association freshman/sophomore state meet, and he had success in a few varsity starts filling in for Thomas last season.
“He’s going to make a big impact,” Murray said. “I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people because they haven’t seen him.”
Geneseo’s seniors will be another group the Maple Leafs depend on to lead the team.
Murray said Josh Decker has been working to take the next step after a break-out season last year.
A sectional qualifier last year, Joe Stohl is another senior looking to build on a solid varsity campaign.
Geneseo’s Jack Morrell brings varsity experience along with Heath Henderson and Trenton Hultman-Lievens.
Murray believes newcomers Jayden Erdman, Ethan McKelvain and Will McKelvain can make an impact at the varsity level after recently moving to the area.
A sophomore, Luke Henkhaus won a regional title at 106 pounds last season.
Henkhaus will look to continue to develop making the move to the 120-pound weight class this season, and junior Andrew Rizzo returns following a sectional qualifying run last year.
Murray hopes the pieces will all fall into place by the Geneseo Invitational Jan 12-13.
“I always call that our measuring stick heading into the postseason time of the year,” Murray said. “It’s a good practice tournament to get ready for the state level competition we are going to need to be ready for.
“I would say we may not be at our peak yet by the Geneseo Invitational, but it’s about time to get ready.”
2017-18 Geneseo wrestling roster
Coach: Jon Murray. Assistants: Rich Sheley, Tom Rusk, Randy Wolf, Shane Oleson, Tim Cain, West Cathcart, and Jesse Montez. Stats: Darin Pardoe Equipment: Jeff Newton. Managers: Braelyn Lentz, Kaitlynn Rossitto, Brooke Schmell, Hannah Mays, Eryn Murray, Sarah
Sebastian and Piper Howard.
2017-18 Maple Leafs' schedule
Dec. 1 Rockford East Quad Rockford East High School 6 p.m.
Dec. 2 Rockford East Tourney Rockford East High School 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 6 Moline at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 6 p.m.
Dec. 9 Rockford East Soph Tourney Rockford East High School 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 9 LaSalle-Peru Quad LaSalle-Peru High School 10 a.m.
Dec. 14 Geneseo at Sterling Sterling High School 6 p.m.
Dec. 15 Hinsdale Wrestling Tournament Hinsdale Central High School 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 16 Hinsdale Wrestling Tournament Hinsdale Central High School 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 21 Geneseo at Rochelle Rochelle High School 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 28 Naperville Central Quad Naperville High School 9 a.m.
Jan. 4 LaSalle-Peru at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 6 Geneseo at Clinton JV Invite Clinton High School 10 a.m.
Jan. 6 Geneseo at Springfield Quad Springfield High School 9 a.m.
Jan. 10 UT at Geneseo GHS Main Gym 6 p.m.
Jan. 11 Geneseo at DeKalb DeKalb High School 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 Geneseo Invite GHS Main Gym 4 p.m.
Jan. 13 Geneseo Invite GHS Main Gym 9 a.m.
Jan. 16 Geneseo at Galesburg/Limestone Galesburg High School 6 p.m.
Jan. 20 NIB 12 Invite Geneseo hosts GHS Main Gym TBA
Jan. 20 Geneseo at Bettendorf JV Invite Bettendorf High School 9 a.m.
Jan. 24 Geneseo at Mercer County Mercer County High School 5:30 p.m.