The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 22, 2014

Hunter Genco named Wrestler of the Year

By Zach James Herald Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Hunter Genco was one of five Clinton wrestlers to have made it to the state level, and even though he didn’t get to the top of the podium, he’s happy with where he finished.

“I think I did better than last year,” Genco said. “I told myself at the beginning of the year that I should be the best, and I wanted to strive for that everyday.”

Genco, a senior, became the second wrestler in school history to become a four-time state placewinner joining unbeaten four-time champion Dan Knight. Genco won 41 matches on the season, and lost just three times in his final go-round.

“He’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of athletes,” Clinton coach JD Lueders said. ““He beat kids that he wasn’t supposed to beat, and just kept working at it throughout the year.”

Both Genco and Lueders agree the season turned around for the senior at the Sterling Invitational with one match.

Genco pinned Fenton’s Alex Cowan in the finals at 126, and Lueders said that that was a big-time win for him.

“That was a match he won handily,” said Lueders. “And that was right around the time he had some of his best matches of the season. That kid never backed down from a challenge.”

Genco then had a premier performance at the district tournament by defeating Muscatine senior Juan Coulter, ranked second in the state to assure a spot at the state tournament at the 126 weight class.

Once Genco made it to the state tournament in Des Moines, he won his first round match by pinning Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Logan Rodriguez in 44 seconds.

I just expect to win,” Genco said following one of his state tournament matches.

Genco lost in the quarterfinals to Indianola’s John Gioffredi, but turned around to win his wrestleback match against Pleasant Valley’s Spencer Nevvils that Friday night. Genco also won 7-1 in the consolation quarterfinals against Jack Koethe of West Des Moines Dowling.

Genco placed fourth at the state tournament.

“His competitive strength was just so strong,” Lueders said. “He was a cool guy to be around, and he is certainly one-of-a-kind.”