Maple Leafs finding their groove

Chris Steele
Charlie Schlindwein, left, locks up his opponent from Rochelle during the 132-pound match.

Geneseo took third in the Rockford East Tournament and put its wrestlers through the gauntlet to start the dual meet season.

Rock Island at Geneseo

The Maple Leafs fell in the home opener against Rock Island 40-28 in Geneseo on Nov. 30.

Rock Island moved nine wrestlers up a weight class to make sure every match was contested and Geneseo wasn’t able to match up with Rocky.

The Leafs’ Sam Thomas won the 285-pound match by pin in 29 seconds, and Ethan Kennedy won the 170-pound match by major decision, 10-2.

The Leafs’ Jack Morrell won the 138-pound match by pin in 2:45, and Logan Weber won the 160-pound match with a pin in 2:55.

Geneseo at Ottawa

The Maple Leafs were edged by the Pirates 39-33 in Ottawa on Dec. 1.

With both teams winning seven matches, Ottawa gained an advantage by winning six matches by pin.

Geneseo’s Zach Humphrey won the 220 match by pin in 57 seconds, and Jordan Jackson earned a pin in 2:37 at 182 pounds.

Kennedy notched a pin at 170 pounds in 42 seconds, and Josh Decker won by pin at 145 pounds in 2:49.

Geneseo’s Luke Henkhaus won the 106-pounds match by decision, 5-4.

Benett Egert came away with a 3-2 decision at 152 pounds, and Weber earned a 4-1 decision at 160 pounds.

Rockford East Quadrangular

Geneseo dominated the first match against Belvidere 69-6 and knocked off Rockford East 42-31 on Dec. 2.

Against Belvidere Morrell notched a win by pin at 138 pounds in 35 seconds.

Decker earned a win at 145 pounds by pin in 1:15, and Kennedy won by pin in 3:37 at 170.

Jackson nabbed the 182-pound match in 1:58, and Thomas won the 285-pound match with a pin in 55 seconds.

Humphrey added a 5-1 decision at 220-pounds for the Leafs.

Against Rockford East, Geneseo used four pins to key a comeback after falling behind 31-0.

Geneseo’s Thomas won the 285 match by pin in 1:12, and Humphrey was the winner of the 220 match in 1:06.

The Leafs’ Kennedy won the 170-pound match in 59 seconds, and Henkhaus nabbed a pin in 3:30 at 106 pounds.

Egert came through with a 7-4 decision at 152, and Weber finished off an 8-6 win at 160 pounds.

Giardini Invitational

The Maple Leafs’ Thomas and Humphrey won individual titles, and Geneseo finished third at the Giardini Invitational held at Rockford East High School on Dec. 3.

The Maple Leafs (164.5) landed just two points back of runner-up Rolling Meadows (166.5) with Zion Benton winning the team title (203).

Thomas won the 285-pound crown by pin in the championship match in 2:27, and Humphrey won the 220 title match by pin in 3:14.

Geneseo’s Henkhaus finished runner-up falling in the championship match by pin at 106.

The Leafs’ Kennedy fell in the third-place match in a 3-1 decision at 170 pounds.

After being knocked out of the championship draw, Geneseo’s Weber (170), Jackson (182) and Joe Stohl (195) won their way through the back draw to finish fifth.

Geneseo’s Decker landed sixth at 145 pounds.

Rochelle at Geneseo

The Maple Leafs picked up their first home win of the season defeating Rochelle 58-16 in Geneseo on Dec. 6.

Geneseo won five matches by pin and won 8-of-11 contested matches.

The Leafs’ Humphrey picked up a victory by pin at 220 pounds in 1:55.

After starting the season sluggishly, Humphrey thinks the team’s trial by fire has already helped shape a better mentality this season.

“It’s about how you bounce back from it,” Humphrey said. “You have to push hard and depend on your dedication. It’s kind of a taste of what it’s going to be like, and are you ready for it?”

With a large portion of the Leafs’ lineup getting their first varsity action this season, Geneseo’s younger wrestlers have come a long way in just a handful of meets.

“All we can ask is that they go out with a good mindset and battle for the entire match,” Geneseo Coach Jon Murray said. “They have followed through on that.”

A sophomore, Sebastian earned a major decision at 113-pounds, 13-4.

Morrell earned a win by decision 8-2 at 138-pounds, and Stohl won the 195-pound match by pin in 1:09.

The Leafs’ more seasoned wrestlers have also taken some encouraging steps.

Jackson earned a 4-2 decision at 182, and Kennedy notched a win by pin in 5:34 at 170.

Charlie Schlindwein finished the 132 match with a pin in 4:59, and Egert earned a win by pin at 152-pounds in 1:30.