Maple Leafs roll to 2A wrestling finals


Share
Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2013, 9:34 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com
BLOOMINGTON -- A team filled with youth sometimes makes Geneseo wrestling coach Jon Murray wonder when the inexperience will show.

In making history, the Maple Leafs displayed a seasoned poise.

Two convincing victories in the Class 2A dual-team state tournament on Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum eased the concerns Murray felt. Geneseo opened the day with a 38-33 win over Bloomington in the state quarterfinals before rolling to a 58-13 victory against Antioch in the semifinals.

Despite making their first-ever appearance at the state tournament, the Maple Leafs secured a state title shot later in the day.

"Every time I start to get worried, we just keep coming back. I'm so proud of how they can do that," Murray said. "These guys are competitors -- they know how to be 'on'. They just show up every single time. Even when you worry about that low coming off the high, they turn around and show up again."

So many times in the last month, Murray spoke about the confidence he had in his team if Geneseo wrestled to its potential. In the postseason duals, the Maple Leafs are at their peak.

Two of their wins -- East Peoria at the sectional and Antioch in the semifinal -- were by 39 points or more. Geneseo held a 38-9 advantage over Bloomington before forfeiting the last three bouts when the dual was decided.

"We were on fire," Geneseo 152-pound freshman Cole Hunzeker said. "We were jacked."

The Maple Leafs hardly looked like a team that had nine freshmen and sophomores wrestle in the first two duals.

"I knew we could do this," Geneseo 120-pound freshman Hunter Grau said. "We just needed to wrestle as hard as we could."

Wrestling with the savvy of veterans, the Maple Leafs earned four pins and a technical fall in their quarterfinal win. Despite falling behind 13-0 in the semifinal, Geneseo won the final 11 bouts of the dual.

The 58 points tied a Class 2A state record and the seven falls rank second. Ten of Geneseo's 11 wins in the semifinal featured bonus points.

So much for a semifinal letdown.

"We just had to keep our heads up," Grau said. "We stuck through it."

Twelve of the 14 weights earned at least one win in the two duals.

"Solid all the way through," said Murray, who has three seniors in the lineup. "That's why I'm so proud. I feel good about every single kid stepping out there."

Overlooked when the season started three months ago, the Maple Leafs stand one win away from the state championship. Geneseo, which meets top-ranked Lombard Montini in the finals, is guaranteed the school's first non-football state trophy since 1987.

The last time a boys' team won a non-football trophy was 1893.

"I wouldn't be honest if I said that it isn't hard to grasp. It is a little bit," Murray said. "I'm so proud of these guys. It's so fun."


















 



Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




(More History)