By Don Beideman
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
La Salle’s Ryan Geiger wrestled for the Explorers’ junior varsity last season, but the junior has filled the shoes of graduated heavyweight Kyle DiGiacobbe — and filled them quite well, so far — this season.
Geiger, 6-foot-0, 240 pounds, has compiled a 5-1 record.
In the Zephyr Tournament at Whitehall last month, Geiger pinned undefeated Tony Borik of the host school to give La Salle a perfect 4-0 mark as the Explorers took the team title. La Salle was leading the Zephyrs, 28-27, going into the heavyweight bout.
La Salle defeated Quakertown in the quarterfinals and Paramus (N.J.), the defending team champion, in the semifinals to get to face Whitehall.
“I’ve learned a lot from the coaches and Kyle,” said Geiger, a center and defensive tackle on La Salle’s PIAA Class AAAA championship football team. “Our practices have been tough, too. You have to be patient. I wait until my opponent makes a mistake and then I make my move.”
In addition to winning the Whitehall tourney, the Explorers finished 19th out of 42 teams in their first appearance at the Power Eight tournament at Canon-McMillan High in Canonsburg. It’s considered one of the toughest high school competitions in the state.
“We were invited to attend,” said La Salle coach Vic Stanley. “There are some very good wrestlers there, and I thought our kids could benefit.”
Sophomore Matt Cimata took third place at 135 pounds, while teammate Shane Springer took fourth at 152. Joe Mazzi and Nick Burns both took seventh at 140 and 160 respectively. Cimata is 16-1 with his only loss coming in that tourney. Springer (16-2) and Mazzi (15-2) also suffered their only losses there.
“We’re all coming together,” said an enthusiastic Cimata. “We’re working all over the mat.”