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updated: 3/21/2013 12:59 PM

Wrestling, Purdue win Geers' heart

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  • John Starks/  Neuqua Valley's Andrew Geers is declared the winner of the 285 pound Class 3A match over Alex Fritz of Marmion Academy Friday in the IHSA semifinal wrestling match at Assembly Hall in Champaign.

    John Starks/ Neuqua Valley's Andrew Geers is declared the winner of the 285 pound Class 3A match over Alex Fritz of Marmion Academy Friday in the IHSA semifinal wrestling match at Assembly Hall in Champaign.


Andrew Geers followed his heart.

The Neuqua Valley senior interested the New Mexico State, Wyoming, Indiana State and Wisconsin football programs. As a wrestler, Central Michigan, American University, Nebraska, Ohio University and Purdue were after him.

Wrestling won by decision. A three-time IHSA all-stater at the top weight classification of 285 pounds and the defending state runner-up, Geers on Monday gave his verbal commitment to Purdue University coach Scott Hinkel.

"At the end of February, I was looking at one of my last football options and was deciding that wrestling would be a better path for me," said Geers, 131-29 with 63 pins on the mat and a 6-foot-7, 275-pound left tackle on the football team.

"I've always grown up wrestling. I've actually wrestled longer than I've played football, and I feel that's where my heart is."

Geers said his size comes from his father, Mike, a one-time 6-4 tight end at St. Francis University. Andrew started wrestling in the fourth grade with the Fox Valley Wrestling Club at Neuqua Valley. He went on to be a four-year varsity wrestler, a team captain, seven-time tourney winner and three-time Upstate Eight Conference champion.

"He has outstanding knowledge of wrestling and his strategy going into a match definitely helps him in controlling the pace and outcome of a match. His willingness to compete early on as a freshman at the varsity level was a big factor that helped pave his way for the successful career he has had," Wildcats wrestling coach Mick Ruettiger replied in an email.

Geers returned the compliment: "I have a great coach, Mick Ruettiger, and it's always been a team atmosphere. It's never been about just one wrestler."

At Purdue, one of his five official visits, Geers liked the campus and also the fact that he'll have a couple teammates to spar with at his weight rather than practice against coaches as he did at Neuqua.

Geers, whose sister Jennifer is a Neuqua freshman, also liked Purdue's aviation studies he plans to take toward becoming a pilot. His mother, Kathy, is a flight attendant for United Airlines.

Ruettiger addressed Geers' worth ethic that allowed him to be a Division I recruit for two sports. Soon enough Geers will bring the same dedication to Purdue wrestling and studies.

"It's just a great feeling to know I'm finally committed to a college and the recruiting process is finally over," Geers said. "It's been a long one."

Four Schools, One Cause, different day

Due to the prolonged winter chill, the girls soccer doubleheader that doubles as a breast cancer awareness event and fundraiser, "Four Schools, One Cause," has been moved to April 12 at Waubonsie Valley. It originally was scheduled this Wednesday at North Central College.

A crossover between District 203 and 204 teams, the lineup has shifted as well. Neuqua Valley is now playing Naperville Central and Waubonsie will have Naperville North. The times should stand pat -- 5 p.m. for the first game, 7 p.m. for the second, with a program and recognition ceremony for cancer survivors on the field in between.

Track nuggets

A couple items gleaned from the recent Upstate Eight Conference indoor boys track championships ...

Neuqua Valley coach Mike Kennedy was on-site at Batavia last Saturday, but his wife and kids were visiting friends in Washington, D.C., where Mike worked as an Einstein Fellow with the U.S. Department of Energy over the 2010-11 school year.

As Kennedy set out to coach the Wildcats, his 13-year-old son, Ryan, had already run the Rock 'n' Roll USA half-marathon. His time was 1 hour, 36 minutes, 52 seconds, third in 12-14 age group and 701st out of nearly 20,000 runners.

"When I'm 13 I want to run 13 miles," Mike Kennedy said his son had told him.

In a few years Ryan Kennedy will be on the same Neuqua team as 12-year-old Austin Vandersteen, son of Wildcats boys cross country coach Paul Vandersteen. Watch out.

And at the NCAA Division III indoor track and field championships a couple weeks ago, North Central College's Al Carius stated that despite the hoopla over the Naperville Marathon to be held Nov. 10 -- which sold out 3,000 of 3,500 spots in 14 hours during online registration in January -- this is not the first marathon to be run in Naperville.

Carius remembered a race he called the North Central Marathon, held from 1968-75. He said it started and finished at North Central's Merner Field House, and the winner of the first marathon was Peter Farwell, cross country coach at Williams College in Massachusetts.

Bracket buster buster

Here we digress, since most everyone reading this is probably into NCAA basketball pools.

R.J. Bell of Las Vegas-based assembled some mind-boggling numbers that can be enjoyed by the more than 100 million people who participate in tournament bracket contests.

Assuming a 64-team bracket, there are more than 9.2 quintillion possible bracket combinations that could be filled out. That's a million times 9 trillion, even more than the national debt.

If everyone on Earth filled out a bracket the odds would still be 1 billion-to-1 against any one person having a perfect bracket.

If one bracket per second was filled out, it would take 292 billion years to compile all possible combinations which, Bell notes, is 20 times longer than the universe has existed.

If all people on Earth filled out a bracket every second, it would take 43 years to fill out every possible bracket.

To-the-moon-and-backs are always fun: If all possible brackets filled out on standard paper were stacked on top of each other the pile would go to the moon and back 1.1 million times.

These factoids are based on a 64-team bracket. With the 68-team bracket, Bell said these figures are multiplied by four.

Bell also offers nifty tips for choosing your brackets. Those are unnecessary since Indiana will be the easy winner.

Or the first No. 1 seed to lose a No. 16.

Follow Dave on Twitter at doberhelman1

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