Geneseo’s Billy Blaser let the moment wash over him when he stepped into the State Farm Center, in Champaign.

Geneseo’s Billy Blaser let the moment wash over him when he stepped into the State Farm Center, in Champaign.

“It was a big wave of happiness,” Blaser said. “I knew I had the ability to get there. I had been waiting for my whole high school career to get down there and wrestle.”

Blaser’s fourth-place finish tied the highest finish for a Geneseo wrestler in the 285-pound weight class at state, on Feb. 17.

Blaser joins an elite Geneseo heavy weight state group that finished fourth with Bill Wethington (1955), Scott Venter (1988) and Nick Verbeck (2014).

However, Blaser wants more next season.

“I need to push on to new goals,” Blaser said. “I had a goal of finishing higher than any heavyweight ever has, and I was one place off this year.”

A junior, Blaser won his opening round match with a 3-1 decision over Hayden Copass from Westville, and he earned a victory by pin over Marquis Hall from Richards in the second round in 5:39.

Blaser suffered a 3-1 defeat by decision against Mahomet-Seymour’s David Griffet in the semifinals.

“We both wrestled our hearts out,” Blaser said. “I wasn’t as prepared I could have been, but I’m not going to underestimate anyone no matter who they are.”

Washington’s Jace Punke won the state title with a 9-6 decision over Griffet in the title bout.

Blaser had defeated Punke in the sectional title match in an ultimate tiebreaker a week before state.

Blaser says he plans to continue to work hard in the offseason dedicating his season to the memory of his late grandmother, Megan Blaser.

Geneseo’s Andrew Rizzo made his first state trip, but he was toppled in a 7-4 decision in the first round of the 138-pound bracket by Trey Piotrowski from Crystal Lake.

Rizzo was eliminated in the first round of the consolation bracket by fall by Nolan Roseman from Rantoul.

Blaser and Rizzo were both first-time state qualifiers who attribute their success to wrestling tough competition in the offseason.

Blaser already knows what his first destination this offseason will be a tournament hosted by Mahomet-Seymour.

“One of my coaches told me to chase the competition and don’t let the competition chase you,” Blaser said. “I decided to go to that tournament, find (Griffet) again and hopefully do better.”