The Geneseo High School wrestling team is seeing record numbers this season and with the loss of 2009 state champion Adam Sheley, the Leafs will have some big shoes to fill, but there is a plethora of young talent coming through the ranks.

 


The Geneseo High School wrestling team is seeing record numbers this season and with the loss of 2009 state champion Adam Sheley, the Leafs will have some big shoes to fill, but there is a plethora of young talent coming through the ranks.

“We have a really nice group of freshman right now and it is one of our bigger groups,” said head coach Jon Murray. “We have record numbers with  more wrestlers than ever before. It makes for a young team, but there is a lot of talent. I am looking forward to this season. It is pretty exciting.
“You can never replace Adam, but the maturing of all of last year’s under classmen will make up for the loss of our seniors.”

The seniors returning to the Leafs wrestling team for their final season are Collin Akers, Matthew Arnold, Matthew Drewelow, Jacob Janssen, Stephen Nowland and Benjamin Rudy.

“I always look for good leadership from the seniors,” said Murray. “I would also like to see the team develop a sense of unity and take over their routine without having a coach intervene.

Coach Murray expects to be well represented at the state tournament again this year.

“Collin and Jacob definitely should bring home state places,” said Murray. “And the other seniors with experience, it will be interesting to see how they step up as seniors.”

The Leafs return state-runner up junior West Cathcart, along with 15 other juniors who are looking to make an impact at the varsity level. The junior wrestling class includes Ryan Akers, Alex Anderson, Jacob Arnold, Shane Bormann, Zachary Brandmeyer,?Alex Carney, Mark Cothron, Andrew Harris, Drew Humphrey, Cole Reiling, Levi Schilling, Erik Solberg, Lucas Waller, Andrew Walters, Blake Woodbury and Brooke Woodbury.

“I hope to see West with a state title this year,” said Murray. “He has grown a bit so he will have to be more disciplined in nutrition and managing his weight, but if he gets it under control, he will be a nice big 189-pounder. He should be on top of the podium.

“There are also guys like Shane Bormann who had a lot of success at the lower levels and hopefully they will repeat at the varsity level.”

The sophomore members of the Leafs’ squad are David Behrens, Kyle Collis, Jarrod Kennedy, Jacob Koster, Sean Landergren, Sean Lillis, Oliver Newton, Tyler Puls, Blake Rusk, Bradley Schulte, Charles Springer and Bryce Zanfes.

Joining the high school wrestling team for the first year are freshmen Travis Akers, Bretton Alwood, Justin Blaser, Kidd Causemaker, Benjamin Chom, Joshua Dodge, Nathaniel Johnson, Jacob Miller, Mitchell Miller, Cameron Panicucci, Devin Pontious, Reece Salmon, Jonathan Searl, Daniel Sears, Jon Solberg, Seth Stewart, Jacob Stimes, Gregory Strawhacker, Quinlin Summy, Tristan Thies and Blake Whitmer.

“The line up is up in the air, but we will have a body in every weight class,” said Murray. “Overall we are young and inexperienced, but we have individual weights that have experienced guys.”
From his underclassmen this season coach Murray said he hopes to see them be resilient in their varsity matches and to learn from each match.

“It will be interesting to see, under the lead of Cathcart, how everyone follow his lead,” said Murray. “Now having been there he is vying for a state title, he will be pulling the other guys along with him.”

A weakness the Leafs will have to try and overcome is their lack of experience on the varsity mat.
“We want them to learn the sport and not be concerned about wins and losses,” said Murray. “And if they lose we want them to take something away from it that you can improve on. It will be nice to see how they improve.”

As far as the outlook of the NCIC, coach Murray said he doesn’t quite know what to expect this season.

“It is hard to predict what other teams will have, but our goal is a conference championship,” said Murray. “We also want to win a regional and sectional championship because we have never qualified as a team for state.

“We also have the goal of having another state champion, seeing at least three guys with medals around their necks at the state meet and four state qualifiers.”

Last season, the Leafs returned from the state meet with a state champion in Sheley and a state-runnerup in Cathcart. Seven wrestlers advanced to the sectional meet — Sheley, Cathcart, Derek Woodruff, Janssen, Akers, Curt Jensen and Jacob Koster. At the conference meet, Sheley captured his fourth straight NCIC?title, while Cathcart also won the 189-lb. NCIC title. Janssen, Jensen and Koster all took third in the conference of their respective weight classes. Geneseo finished the year in fourth place in the NCIC.

The Leafs open their season at home in the Geneseo Quad Meet at 10 a.m. Nov. 28.

“I hope to see good basic positioning and hope to see evidence of what they have been learning from the last couple of weeks,” said Murray.