GENEVA – Geneva senior wrestler Jake Boser entered this week with four losses at 195 pounds.
The Vikings’ longtime stalwart vows he’ll never fall at that weight class again. Turns out he has the insurance policy to prove it.
Beginning with Friday’s Upstate Eight Conference River Division dual against St. Charles North, Boser is set to move down a class to 182, where he’s eager to balance his strength with emerging speed.
“My best is probably wrestling defensively on my feet, but I’ve got more offense this year,” Boser said. “And hopefully being bigger and stronger than the 82-pounders will play a factor in coming down from 95.”
Boser consulted Vikings coach Tom Chernich about the shift, as they accounted for an occasionally bumpy early season and a projected top-heavy field at 195 in the 3A Shepard Sectional in February.
Cody Snodgrass (Marmion) and Jameer Thurman (Proviso West) are on the list at 195, along with Batavia’s Mickey Watson, who already scored a one-point decision over Boser in the teams’ UEC River dual. In addition, there are athletes from traditionally strong programs such as Marist and St. Rita to think about.
“All those guys aren’t making it to state,” Chernich said, “but we’ve got our eyes on the postseason with making this move.”
Bouncing around the lineup isn’t new to Boser, who weighed 208 pounds when wrestling workouts began. He competed at 160 and 171 as a freshman, 189 as a sophomore and advanced to sectionals at 195 last season, when he finished as Upstate Eight runner-up to state qualifier Vince Marrone of Neuqua Valley.
The realistic possibility of state series success is quite a shift for Boser, who started wrestling in 2006 when the Geneva middle school split allowed sixth-graders to compete to bolster program numbers. He isn’t exactly keen on his early days in the sport.
“Everyone thought it would be a good idea to go out for wrestling, but I used to be really bad back then. So it’s kind of been more fun in high school,” he said. “I didn’t really know why, I was just bad for the first couple of years.”
Classmate Tony Castelvecchi, a swing wrestler at 160 and 170 so far this season, has found his recent practice sessions with Boser to be equally enjoyable.
Although Castelvecchi also has climbed classes since joining the Vikings’ varsity lineup midway through his freshman season, he wasn’t particularly close to Boser’s weight until now.
“Going with Jake every once in a while makes me so much tougher,” Castelvecchi said. “He’s still got around 20 pounds on me most times, but his pace is very challenging and he’s got a good temper. He definitely wants to control things wherever he’s at, and he won’t let up until he does.”
Boser said he is unlikely to wrestle or play football after high school.
During the fall, he doubled as a Vikings defensive lineman, rebounding from cracked ribs he suffered during the season opener against Oswego to return for the stretch run.
As a sophomore, Boser missed about half of the wrestling season with a stress fracture in his back. Since then, he has only kept attacking, and practiced this past offseason with recent Willowbrook graduate and Cornell recruit Steve Congenie, among others, at the Naperville-based Overtime School of Wrestling.
“I’ve kind of been injured too many times for me to like in high school,” Boser said. “I want to make the most of this season.”
For the Vikings, putting Boser at 182 provides the best chance.