GENESEO -- By his own admission, winning a second straight individual crown at the Geneseo Invitational was not at the top of Adarios Jones' list of goals.|
"My first goal was to win one match at a time,'' said Moline's junior 285-pound standout.
And that's exactly what he did on -- winning all four of his bouts, culminating with a 5-2 decision over Andrew Netolicky of Cedar Rapids Prairie in the championship at the J.D. Darnall Gymnasium, which earned Jones the Most Outstanding Wrestler honor for the upper weights.
Ranked fourth in Class 3A in his weight class, Jones (27-2) credited the training regimen implemented by the Maroon wrestling coaches as the key to his repeat success at the 38th annual event which features 20 teams from three states.
"My coaches train me hard, and they teach conditioning along with it,'' he said. "I had to learn to control my matches so that I didn't gas out by the third period. I feel them out in the first period; the second period, whatever; but the third, that's when I go after it. It's a very effective strategy. If not for my coaches, I wouldn't be here. They give me all the right moves.''
Now, Jones hopes to keep making the right moves all the way to Champaign for the IHSA Individual State Tournament. He feels the competition he faced this weekend at Geneseo will only help prepare him for his ultimate goal.
"This is a stepping stone to state, and a good one,'' Jones said. "I got to feel out a lot of different styles against guys from Iowa and Wisconsin. Now, my focus is on getting to state. Illinois is one of the toughest states (for wrestling), and it'll help me to bring a new style that guys in Illinois haven't seen before. Tourneys like this bring me closer to a state title.''
Jones was the only wrestler from the Illinois Quad-Cities to reach the championship round. His teammates Christian Smith (126 pounds) and Daniel Terronez (132) took fourth and sixth, respectively, as the Maroons took 13th as a team with 56.5 points.
Meet host Geneseo was seventh with 107 points as 120-pounder Hunter Grau and 182-pounder Mitch Miller each captured fourth place. Maple Leafs Josiah Cropp (145) and Ryan Pitra (160) both scored fifth-place finishes, with teammates Tumbo Tumbarello (106), Brandon Mizlo (170) and Nick Verbeck (285) each taking sixth.
"We were disappointed by going 0-for-4 in the semis,'' Geneseo coach Jon Murray said, referring to Final Four losses by Tumbarello, Grau, Cropp and Pitra. "But I'm happy with how some of them bounced back and fought to the end. That's huge. A big judge of character is how you deal with adversity. You fight to the end -- in a match, a season, and your career.''
Among the three Mississippi Athletic Conference teams taking part, the Bettendorf Bulldogs earned bragging rights with their second-place tally of 182 points, 11 behind champion Waverly-Shell Rock. North Scott was fourth with 162.5 points, one spot ahead of Pleasant Valley (143.5).
Bettendorf advanced five to the finals and crowned three champions -- Jack Wagner (106), Fredy Stroker (132) and Jacob Woodard (138). Ranked first in Iowa, Stroker scored an 8-0 major decision over a returning Geneseo Invite champ, Prairie's Josh Wenger. However, BHS's Logan Ryan fell 5-2 to Hartland (Wis.) Arrowhead's Andrew Crone in a battle of top-ranked standouts.
"It's pretty exciting,'' said Stroker (27-1). "You see a lot of tough competition here, and it's going to pay off.''
North Scott crowned champions at 170 and 182 pounds in Mitch Bowman (31-0) and Justin Kreiter (28-2). Bowman got off to a fast start en route to a 7-2 win over Pleasant Valley's Brady Letney (29-2).
"You always want to wrestle the best kids,'' said Bowman. "It was a tough match, and I'll get to see him again in two weeks at the conference meet, so it was good to get to wrestle him here.''
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