Genoa junior Jay Nino returned to school this week as a state wrestling champion and record holder.
Considering he didn’t place at state last season, his title run at 220 pounds in Division III came as a surprise.
Yet, it arguably wasn’t.
“From day one, we knew he had the talent,” Genoa coach Bob Bergman said. “He made an appearance [at state] last year and got his feet a little bit wet. This year, the whole year he was gunning for that, doing the extras to prepare for it.”
Nino’s pin of New Paris National Trail's Ben Sullivan at the 5-minute, 3-second mark in the final also allowed him to establish an Ohio record for most victories in a season.
Nino (65-2) had tied the record with a 5-2 victory over Archbold’s Travis Jaramillo in the semifinal, a mark held by Archbold’s Jordan Cowell (2011-12).
“Jay was gunning for the record so it was kind of neat to see both of those fulfilled,” Bergman said.
Last season, Nino went 1-2 at the state tournament, and he left Columbus disappointed.
Bergman said his top wrestler has put in plenty of work to get to the top.
“His conditioning really played a factor that third period, and getting that reversal like he did and having that extra power to overcome that flurry situation,” Bergman said.
Nino, who was 38-15 as a freshman and 58-6 as a sophomore, became the school’s sixth individual to win a state title.
He said it is a sign of the Comets turning the corner toward becoming a fixture in conversations about some of the state’s top wrestling programs.
“This program is evolving,” Nino said. “We’re going to be competing, and I can’t wait for everyone else to see that also. I’m really excited for Genoa's future.”
For Delta, the future is clearly now.
The Panthers won the Division III individual wrestling team championship, adding to the second straight team duals state title they won this season.
Kyle Keller at 120 was the highest placer among 12 Panthers who qualified to state. The senior, a three-time state placer, earned a runner-up finish after falling 6-3 to Troy Christian’s Garrett Hancock.
Keller (52-7) said the team’s accomplishments outweighed his own achievements.
“It’s great for this program,” Keller said. “We’ve come a long way. We’ve done the hard work. We’ve done everything, and it’s finally paid off for us with all of the accomplishments.
“It’s finally all coming true. A dual-meet state title, individual state title, and we’re bringing it all back to Delta, where it should be.”
There’s plenty of talent returning next season for Delta. Juniors Ryan Patchin (182) and Mark Francis (195), sophomores Jake Spiess (113), Dustin Marteney (132), Devon Richards (220), and Chance Veller (285), and freshmen Drew Mattin (106), Noah Mattin (126), and Jesse Beverly (145) were all state qualifiers.
Perrysburg’s state runner-up finish in the Division I was a sign the Yellow Jackets are not just one of northwest Ohio’s top programs, but a team to be reckoned with statewide.
Perrysburg scored 90 points, which was second to state champion Massillon Perry’s 185.
Yellow Jackets senior Rocco Caywood claimed the 182 championship, while Mario Guillen (113, sophomore), J.P. Newton (152, senior), and Kadin Llewellyn (195, senior) earned third-place finishes.
Clay’s fourth-place finish (77 points) was spearheaded by junior Richie Screptock’s victory in the 132 final, becoming the first Eagle to win a state championship. Clay sophomore Matt Stencel ws runner-up to Caywood at 182. Gavin Nelson (138, senior) and Nick Stencel (160, senior) earned third-place finishes.
Central Catholic placed third in the D-II meet.
Nate Hagan (132, junior) and Alex Mossing (152, senior) won state titles. Josh Mossing (138, junior) finished as runner-up and Josh Venia (106, sophomore) placed third.