Maple Leafs’ Blaser is a Bi-State champion

The Maple Leafs’ wrestling team earned a blowout win on Senior Night, hosted the Geneseo Bi-State Tournament and competed at the Galesburg Triangular.

United Township at Geneseo

The Maple Leafs dominated the Panthers winning 9-of-12 contested matches for a 60-14 victory on Senior Night, on Jan. 10.

A senior, Geneseo’s Jack Morrell earned a victory by pin at 145 pounds in 3:57, and Josh Decker won the 160-pound match by pin in 3:01.

Geneseo’s Joe Stohl won his Senior Night bout at 220 pounds with a pin in 5:15.

The Maple Leafs’ Billy Blaser started the meet with a pin in 3:14 in the 285-pound bout, and Eli Allen won the 182-pound match with a pin in 3:44.

Luke Henkhaus won a 3-0 decision at 120 pounds, and Logan Tuggle beat the clock (5:39) for a pin at 126 pounds.

Geneseo’s Andrew Rizzo won the 138-pound match in 58 seconds, and Jayden Erdman earned 3-0 a win by decision at 152 pounds.

Geneseo Bi-State Tournament

Maple Leafs’ Coach Jon Murray believed before the season that Geneseo’s Billy Blaser was going to surprise some people.

A junior in his first varsity season, Blaser has given wrestling fans a reason to know just who he is, winning the Geneseo Bi-State 285-pound title on Jan. 13.

Blaser earned a 3-1 decision over Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the championship match, and he picked up the mantle of Geneseo grad Sam Thomas who won the 285-pound tournament title last season.

“It was always a battle between us,” Blaser said. “There was no quit in either of us.”

With a big Geneseo crowd and Thomas watching from the stands, Blaser said he felt some nerves start to creep in during the first period of the title match, but hearing the hometown fans cheer meant the world to him.

“It’s something that is so precious to me and my teammates to hear all the applause,” Blaser said.

He credited his endurance to training with the smaller and quicker Joe Stohl in the wrestling room for giving him an edge to get back on track.

With an elite level of competition, Blaser believed this was a major stepping stone to help prepare him for the IHSA postseason.

After an opening round loss to the eventual champion, Geneseo’s Henkhaus rallied back in the consolation bracket.

A sophomore, Henkhaus finished with a 2-0 decision to win the 120 pounds third-place match.

Geneseo’s Rizzo fought his way to a fourth-place finish at 138 pounds.

The Leafs’ Stohl won a pair of matches in the championship bracket, and he finished fifth with an 8-5 win by decision at 220 pounds.

Galesburg Triangular

The Maple Leafs earned wins against Galesburg and Limestone on Jan. 16.

Against Galesburg, Erdman won the 152-pound match by pin in 3:51, and Decker won the 160-pound match by pin in 3:17.

Heath Henderson won by pin in 55 seconds at 170 pounds, and Stohl earned a 6-4 decision.

Blaser nabbed a 5-0 decision at 285, and Henkhaus earned an 11-1 win by decision at 120 pounds.

Logan Tuggle tacked on an 8-2 win by decision at 126 pounds, and Morrell won the 145-pound match in 45 seconds.

Against Limestone, Morrell started the match with a pin in 24 seconds at 145 pounds, and Decker won the 160-pound match by pin in 5:30.

Henderson earned a 13-5 win by decision at 170 pounds, and Allen won the 182-pound match by pin in 1:06.

Ethan McKelvain won the 195-pound match in 1:33, and Stohl earned a 2-1 win by decision at 220.

Blaser won the 285-pound match by pin in 2:41, and Tuggle won the 126-pound match with a pin in 3:56.

Augie Schmitt won the 132-pound match with a pin in 1:43, and Rizzo earned a 17-6 win by major decision at 138 pounds.