Geneseo had four wrestlers compete at the Midwest Nationals tournament at the Shirk Center, in Bloomington, on July 14.

Geneseo had four wrestlers compete at the Midwest Nationals tournament at the Shirk Center, in Bloomington, on July 14.

The Maple Leafs’ Billy Blaser won his bracket, while Anthony Montez, Jayden Erdman and Andrew Rizzo each placed in the top six in their divisions.

Blaser won the 11th-12th 262- to 309-pound bracket with a pair of pins a major decision and a 2-0 win by decision.

After finishing fourth at the IHSA Class 2A State tournament last season, Blaser believed he was going to have to make some changes.

“I was watching the heavyweight finals and the score was 12-6,” Blaser said. “I felt like I need to open up and be at that level. I feel like I have the skill there, but I just need to find more opportunities.”

Blaser’s ability to escape, defend and not make mistakes won him more than 40 matches last year.

However, he understands taking more risks will lead to bigger rewards.

“It goes through my mind if you shoot you can give up two points,” Blaser said. “I need to get over that.”

A senior-to-be, Blaser had another successful summer season, but he said the real test will be when he hits the mats in the winter.

A freshman-to-be, Montez made an impact finishing runner-up in the 7th-8th 104- to 111-pound bracket.

Montez won his first two matches by decision before winning the semifinal match with a 13-0 major decision.

In the finals, Keith Ransom from the Eireman Elite team held off Montez for a 2-0 win by decision.

In 2017, Montez finished sixth at the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation State tournament and closed out his season with a 42-12 record.

A senior-to-be, Erdman finished fourth in the 11th-12th 149- to 156-pound bracket.

Erdman won his opening round match with a pin, and he won his second round match with a 1-0 decision before falling in the semifinal round.

In the back draw, Erdman won his match with a 3-0 decision to advance to the third-place match.

However, Will Zupanci held off Erdman for a 3-1 victory by decision.

In the 11th-12th 141- to 148-pound bracket, Rizzo won a pair of matches by decision.

He was defeated in the semifinal round, and lost a close fifth-place match 2-1 by decision.