Geneseo’s Billy Blaser and Andrew Rizzo will get their first taste of the state wrestling tournament.

Geneseo’s Billy Blaser and Andrew Rizzo will get their first taste of the state wrestling tournament.

Blaser earned an exciting overtime win in the 285-pound Class 2A Sycamore Sectional championship match, and Rizzo finished runner-up in the 138-pound bracket.

The duo’s finishes punched their tickets to the state tournament, at the State Farm Center, in Champaign, starting on Thursday, Feb. 15.

A junior, Blaser won his first match by pin in 38 seconds, and he advanced to the title bout with a 3-0 win by decision.

In the championship match, Blaser faced Washington’s Jace Punke who is ranked the top wrestler in Class 2A at 285-pounds by iwcoa.net.

Blaser won with an escape after the duo battled to an ultimate tiebreaker in overtime.

Blaser (40-1) has steamrolled his way to a Geneseo Invitational title, NIB 12

Conference title, a regional title and adds a sectional title to his resume.

While this is Blaser’s first state berth, he’s not a stranger to state tournaments.

As an underclassman, he won back-to-back championships at the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association freshman/sophomore state meet.

“I think that adds to his confidence just to have been in a big gym at a state tournament,” Geneseo Coach Jon Murray said. “He’s been there, and he has won it twice at the frosh/soph, and I think that can only help his confidence going into this one.”

After having to miss time late in the season with a knee injury, Rizzo was back at full strength on his way to a runner-up finish at sectionals.

Rizzo won the opening round match with a pin in 5:53, and won his next match by technical fall 19-2.

In the semifinal round, Rizzo claimed an 8-4 win by decision before being defeated by Peoria Notre Dame’s Leo Mushinsky in the 138 title bout.

“I don’t think he’s satisfied yet,” said Murray of Rizzo. “I think his goal is to come home with a medal.”

After earning a pair of wins by decision, Geneseo’s Joe Stohl had a tough loss in the semifinals knock him into the wrestlebacks at 220-pounds.

A senior, Stohl had to win one more match to earn a state berth, but he fell against Rochelle’s Brandon Johnson 2-1 in overtime.

“As long as you put everything you have out there, and you walk away knowing you gave everything you got, you can be proud of whatever the results might be,” Murray said.