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updated: 2/17/2013 12:44 AM

Geers' first defeat comes in state final

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  • Andrew Geers of Neuqua Valley struggles against Brian Allen one Hinsdale in the Class 3A 285-pound IHSA championship final wrestling match at Assembly Hall in Champaign. Geers lost the match 4-2.

      Andrew Geers of Neuqua Valley struggles against Brian Allen one Hinsdale in the Class 3A 285-pound IHSA championship final wrestling match at Assembly Hall in Champaign. Geers lost the match 4-2.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

CHAMPAIGN -- The two heavyweights virtually dwarfed their fellow competitors and state finalists Saturday night at the University of Illinois' Assembly Hall.

Something had to give when Hinsdale Central junior Brian Allen and Neuqua Valley senior Andrew Geers, who entered the Class 3A 285-pound state championship match sporting a combined 87-0 record, collided to decide the heavyweight crown.

In a classic chess match of physically imposing athletes, Allen had the only offensive points -- two first-period takedowns -- to become the second undefeated state champion his family and school have produced in the last three years.

"I haven't given up a takedown the whole year," Allen said after all 6 points were scored in the first period of his 4-2 win. "(Winning a state championship) feels pretty good."

"(Allen) is a great wrestler," said Geers, who had his 40-match winning streak halted. "He deserved the title. I just wrestled my match."

"(Allen) beat us in the first period," Neuqua Valley coach Mick Ruettiger said. "It was actually the second (first-period) takedown that meant more."

The two were among seven DuPage County finalists in Class 3A. The rate of attrition for the other five combatants was much greater. But Jered Cortez is no normal athlete.

The Glenbard North junior 126-pounder ran the table for the second straight year in the individual state series to extend his record for the Panthers to 99-0.

After winning a Class 2A state title for Marmion as a freshman two years ago, Cortez recorded his 48th victory on the season with a 9-1 triumph over Machnesey Park Harlem senior Jordan Northrup.

"They all mean the same," Cortez said of his third consecutive state championship. "I'm trying to wrestle to the best of my ability. It has been my goal (to be a four-time state champion) ever since I was 4 years old."

But for teammate Brian Murphy, the third straight finals appearance could not have been more gut-wrenching.

Once again, the Michgan-bound 152-pounder was denied in the championship.

Lincoln Way-East senior Kyle Langenderfer had a third-period escape to win the back-and-forth match 6-5.

"You have to go with the calls that are given," Glenbard North assistant coach Tony LiFonti said of a controversial no-call for potential back points in the second period. "Brian, he really wanted this."

Danny Rowland and Dan Draski met the same fate for Willowbrook.

In becoming the first Warriors duo since Mike Behnke and Matt Roth to reach the finals, Rowland suffered his first loss to an in-state opponent when cited for stalling in the final minute of his 2-1 loss to undefeated Sandburg senior Colin Holler.

Draski fell 8-3 to Marist senior Tom Howell at 220 pounds.

"It was just a bum call (against Rowland)," Willowbrook coach Bryan Murphy said. "That (match) should have been decided by the two wrestlers. (Rowland and Draski) had a great tournament."

Montini should be an overwhelming favorite to extend its Class 2A state title run to six after qualifying eight athletes for the individual finals.

But the end results were decidedly mixed as four Montini wrestlers climbed to the top of the podium.

With the IHSA breaking precedent and holding a blind draw for opening weight classes, Jake Turk and Anthony Ferraro put two immediate Broncos championships on the board with wins at 182 and 195 pounds.

"I kept pushing the pace and felt good on my feet," Turk said of his 16-5 win. "I kept doing that, and it started to work."

Ferraro emerged victorious at 195 pounds with a 7-3 verdict.

But the lower weights were not as kind for Montini.

Tommy Pawleski (113 pounds), Vince Turk (120) and Jordan Lester (126) all dropped decisions to once-vanquished opponents.

Then, in one of the more bizarre moments of the 42 combined finals matches, Chris Garcia was awarded the 138-pound crown when his foe was disqualified in overtime.

Garcia was taken to an area hospital, and his condition is unknown.

Kaneland senior Danny Goress had a little too much for the Broncos' Michael Sepke at 145 pounds, but Xavier Montalvo ensured Montini a fourth state champion by winning the final match of the night at 160 pounds.

"I thought we wrestled hard," Montini coach Israel Martinez said. "We didn't get the outcome in some of the matches we wanted."

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