MOLINE — Andrew Burkeybile received the rare honor of batting leadoff Wednesday night at Wharton Field House.
The Moline sophomore wrestler hit a proverbial home run, too.
“There’s no better feeling than getting your hand raised in front of a big crowd,” Burkeybile said after rallying to win a double-overtime scrap at 120 pounds with Geneseo’s Luke Henkhaus.
Overcoming a one-point deficit with four seconds remaining in regulation of the first match of the night, Burkeybile’s 7-5 decision not only brought a loud home crowd to its collective feet, but sparked the Maroons to a 46-20 victory over their future conference foes.
“Andrew sucked it up and gutted it out,” Moline coach Jacob Ruettiger said. “Tying it up and winning in double overtime like that got guys jacked up and got the fans into it. This place was loud from the get-go and it continued all the way through.
“It was a great environment. A lot of alumni came back and we had a good student section. Our fans were involved and really got our kids going.”
Moline won nine of the 12 weight classes contested, also getting an 8-6 OT decision at 138 from Parker Terronez over Bruce Moore. Both teams also forfeited a weight.
“We knew they were ranked in (Class) 2A, but we wanted to show them what wrestling in 3A is all about,” Burkeybile said. “They’re also coming into the (Western Big 6) conference next year, too, and they’re going to be a rival, so it was important to wrestle well against them.”
Helping pin the first loss of the season on Geneseo (4-1) by registering pins for Moline (9-1) were Jayden Terronez (152), DJ Parker (160), Jon McMillan (170) and Zach Wallace (220).
Also scoring decisions for Moline were Charlie Farmer (106), Bukuru Stire (113) and Isaac Martinez (132), the latter adding the extra point for a major.
“Coming off a loss, it’s nice to get a big rebound like this to propel us into a big invite this weekend at Prospect,” said Ruettiger, whose squad fell 34-32 to Plainfield South last weekend.
“We always want to get better. We could have won against Plainfield, but some things didn’t go our way and now we just want to work every day to keep getting better.”
Geneseo got pins from Eli Allen (182) and Mick Mooney (195) as well as a decision at 145 from last season’s state qualifier Andrew Rizzo.
“Congrats to Moline on a nice win and good luck to them on their season,” Geneseo coach Jon Murray said. “You can tell they are well-coached and fight tough. It was a good learning experience for us to compete against them.”