Third period’s a charm for Maple Leafs

Chris Steele
Andrew Rizzo, right, grapples for position during Geneseo’s dual with Rock Island.

The Geneseo wrestling team kicked off the season with a pair of dual meet victories, competed at the Rockford East Quad and finished runner-up at the Giardini Tournament.

Rock Island at Geneseo

The Maple Leafs rallied for a 43-30 victory in the season opener against Rocky at Geneseo High School on Nov. 28.

With the match hanging in the balance Geneseo rallied back with heart and hustle in the third period to retake the lead for good.

After Nathan Carroll was nearly pinned in the first period of the 160-pound match, Carroll made up five points in the final period to win a 9-7 victory. by decision.

“At first, I thought he was going to pin me for sure,” Carroll said. “I looked up at the clock and saw there was only 40 seconds left. I thought I can last 40 seconds.

“We got into the second period, and he started to get a little tired and that fueled me a little bit. In the third period, I could tell he was really feeling it. It motivated me to just go and take him down.”

With Geneseo trailing 18-12, the Maple Leafs’ Bruce Moore sparked a series of comeback wins.

Moore won the 138-pound match with an 8-6 overtime decision.

“Our coaches say you can sense a weakness,” Moore said. “He was getting tired, and we started going harder because we work so hard in practice.”

Geneseo’s Andrew Rizzo fell behind early in the 145-pound match, but he seemed unstoppable in the third period scoring quickly to gain the lead before finishing the match with a pin in 5:55.

“Our coaches told us before the dual started, we have a crazy amount of conditioning every single practice,” Rizzo said. “I knew if I just kept pushing, pushing, pushing — I would find some holes to get my stuff working.”

Geneseo’s Jayden Erdman won the 152-pound match by major decision 14-3, and Kane Miller won the 170-pound match with a 5-0 decision.

Will McKelvain won the 182-pound match with a pin, and Luke Henkhaus won the 120-pound match by pin in 4:04.

Anthony Montez opened the match with a victory by pin in 1:17 at 106 pounds.

“When the pressure is on, you have to turn it up a notch,” Geneseo Coach Jon Murray said. “For our first meet, I feel pretty good about how those guys performed compared to our first meets in the past.”

Sterling at Geneseo

The Maple Leafs third-period identity continued to grow with a 41-26 victory over the Golden Warriors at Geneseo High School on Nov. 29.

Rizzo opened the match with an 18-3 victory by technical fall, and Moore gutted his way to a 4-3 decision at 132 pounds.

“I like a term I heard (assistant) coach John Petrov use, “Geneseo third period,’” Geneseo Coach Jon Murray said. “I love it. Bruce Moore just showed us what that’s all about. It’s about taking over the match when the going gets tough. I think our guys have taken on that mentality pretty well and I’m proud of them.”

Geneseo’s lower weights combined to score 24 consecutive points.

The Leafs’ Henkhaus fought for a 4-2 decision at 126 pounds.

“Our lower weights are really solid this year,” Henkhaus said. “I feel like we showed that if we need to come back we are able to do it and our upper weights are just as solid.”

A freshmen, Carson Raya scored a victory by pin in 5:25 at 106 pounds, and Montez continued his strong start with a pin in 1:46 at 113 pounds to give Geneseo an edge in the NIB 12 dual meet race.

“We’ve been waiting for this,” Montez said. “This is what we have been working hard for.”

The Leafs’ McKelvain won the 182-pound match by pin in 54 seconds.

Rockford East Quad

The Maple Leafs earned wins against Belvidere and Rockford East at Rockford East High School on Nov. 30.

Against Belvidere, Geneseo won a close dual 39-23.

Montez won the 106-pound match by pin in 50 seconds, and Henkhaus earned a win by pin in 7:44 at 126.

Moore won the 132-pound match by pin in 1:35, and Rizzo won the 145-pound match by decision 1-0.

Erdman won the 152-pound by pin in 3:43, and Eli Allen won the 195-pound match by pin in 5:09.

Geneseo’s Billy Blaser started the season with a pin in 1:15 at 285-pounds.

Against Rockford East, Geneseo claimed a 44-16 victory.

Montez won the 106-pound match by pin in 3:56, and Henkhaus won the 120-pound match by decision 8-2.

Moore won the 132-pound match by pin in 4:19, and Clay DeBaillie won the 138-pound match by pin in 4:25.

Rizzo nabbed a win by tech fall at 145 pounds, and Erdman won the 152-pound match by pin in 4:24.

Carroll finished the 160-pound match with a pin in 1:19.

Giardini Tournament

The Maple Leafs’ Montez captured the tournament title at 106-pounds, and Geneseo finished second in the team standings at Rockford East High School on Dec. 1.

A freshman, Montez won the title with a tech fall 18-0 to take the crown.

Geneseo’s Blaser finished runner-up with a 3-2 decision in the 285-pound finals, and Rizzo landed second in the 145-pound bracket with a 12-7 decision.

Henkhaus finished second in the 120-pound bracket with a 4-0 decision in the finals, and Moore claimed third with a pin in the 132-pound bracket.

A victory by pin pushed DeBaillie to a third-place finish in the 138-pound bracket, and Erdman earned fifth with a pin in 49 seconds in the 152-pound bracket.

Miller landed fifth with a pin in 1:09 in the 170-pound bracket, and Allen claimed fifth in the 195-pound bracket with a 3-2 decision.

Cade Hornback finished sixth at 113 pounds, and Mick Mooney finished sixth at 220 pounds.