GENESEO — On the day that a new wrestling tournament was announced that will pit five of the Quad-Cities area’s Illinois schools against five area Iowa schools, Moline head coach Jacob Ruettiger and his Maroons began their quest to become the top squad in the area.
They started that journey with a 47-24 win at Class 2A No. 10 Geneseo on Wednesday evening.
“These duals (with Geneseo) are always close,” Ruettiger said. “They’re a tough team, and we know that going into each and every year. They’re 20 minutes away from us. We want to be known as the best on both sides (of the Mississippi River).”
Although the Maroons (8-1) handed the Maple Leafs their first loss of the season on Wednesday, it was a close dual early. Geneseo’s Andrew Rizzo won by technical fall to pull the Maple Leafs to within 17-11 after six matches.
But Moline’s Grant Ohlsen, D.J. Parker and Jayden Terronez won the next three matches by fall to stretch the lead.
“We lost two (matches), and we started getting a little nervous,” Terronez said. “We all started wrestling hard and going as hard as we could. We all have hearts of lions.”
Terronez, Moline’s 160-pounder, improved to 8-0 on the season with his victory. He’s pinned each of his eight opponents this year.
“This year I wanted to come out with a bang,” he said. “Today we needed bonus points. We had a slow start, and I needed to pick up the slack, so I went out and did what I needed to do.”
The Maroons won seven of their eight matches by fall, and 106-pounder Charlie Farmer won by technical fall. Isaiah Tapia, Isaac Martinez, Tavain Jones and Hunter Henning each pinned their opponents.
“Our coach preaches that we need to go out and get bonus points and not give them up, and we did well tonight,” Terronez said. “The rivalry’s been real with Moline and Geneseo for a while, and it’s a fun dual to be a part of.”
The Maple Leafs won the final two matches of the dual, as 220-pounder Zach Wallace won a 3-2 decision and heavyweight Billy Blaser pinned his opponent.
Geneseo head coach Jon Murray said that Wednesday’s loss taught his team more than its 4-0 start to the season could have.
“We want guys like that on our schedule, so we can get experience and get better,” he said of the Class 3A 20th-ranked Maroons. “When we wrestle competition at that level it exposes a lot of our weaknesses, which is what we need, so we can go back to the practice room and improve. We need to get a little more physical.”
Now Ruettiger and his Maroons will set their sights toward the Muddy Water Duals, which will be held at Davenport North High School on Dec. 23.
“We want to take it to the Iowa teams,” Ruettiger said. “We want to make our mark that we’re the best in the area and keep on working toward that and being the best in the state.”