GENOA — Ohio’s best two Division III wrestling teams collided at Genoa High School in Wednesday night’s team dual regional semifinals, and the host Comets knocked off defending state champion Milan Edison, 42-27, in spirited battle before a loud, packed house.
In an anticlimactic regional final, the top-ranked Comets then recorded six pins in romping to a 57-18 victory over Upper Sandusky to advance to the one-day state team tournament at St. John Arena in Columbus on Feb. 11.
Genoa's Antonio Quezada defeats Milan Edison's Cason Holmes by pin during the 195-pound match, part of the Division III regional team dual tournament. Genoa defeated Edison, 42-27.
“Edison is a great team and extremely well coached,” Genoa coach Bob Bergman said. “All of those kids were fighting their tails off, and I’m really proud of the way our kids stepped up and got the job done.
“There was a lot of ebb and flow in the match, so hat’s off to Edison. We’re excited to advance. This is a special moment, and to be able to do it in our gym made it extra special. The crowd was amazing. It was electric.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Genoa 42, Milan Edison 27
Genoa’s state quarterfinal opponent is to be determined after the eight-team field is seeded by a committee assigned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. This will be the first appearance for the Comets at the state team tourney.
In the semifinal victory over the second-ranked Chargers, Genoa got match wins from eight wrestlers, plus a forfeit at 285 pounds.
After Edison jumped out to 6-0 lead win a pin by Casey Barnett over Corey Welsh, Comets junior Oscar Sanchez (27-4 record), a defending state champ, took a hard-fought 7-4 decision at 113 pounds over Ray Adams.
The Chargers’ Dylan Burns then put his team ahead 12-3 by pinning Genoa’s Devin D’Emilio, but the Comets responded by winning the next six weight classes to mount a commanding 30-12 lead.
Junior Julian Sanchez (34-2), a 2017 state runner-up, sparked that run with 19-4 technical fall over Garrett Scott at 126 pounds.
Classmate Dylan D’Emilio (35-0), a two-time state champion, matched that effort with an 18-2 tech fall over Edison’s Trent Werner at 132.
“We had our eyes on this dual for a while,” Dylan D’Emilio said. “We beat them last year in regular competition, and they ended up winning the state duals.
“We knew we had the firepower last year, and this year we were in the same region. So, we had our minds set on this for a while. The guys came together and got the job done.”
Comets sophomore Dustin Morgillo (34-5) followed with a 9-1 major decision over Jordan Keegan at 138.
Genoa junior Jacob Stewart (19-13) then prevailed 6-2 at 145 against Griffin Soviak, and sophomore transfer (from Clay) Kevin Contos (9-0) was dominant in a 14-4 major decision over Edison’s Collin Mancuso. Contos, who placed sixth at the Division I individual state tournament last year, had to sit out half the season because of his transfer, in keeping with OHSAA bylaws.
Genoa junior James Limongi (30-3), also a state champion last season, then capped the Comets’ decisive surge in the match by pinning Joe Stoll in 3:44 of their 160-pound match.
“It feels amazing,” Limongi said. “The last two years we lost to Oak Harbor in the regional semifinals, and to finally get over the hump feels great. Hard work paid off, and we’re just ready to go to state.
“Our wrestlers just really trusted in their training. They believed in themselves and put it all on the mat.”
Limongi’s win would prove to be the difference in deciding things for Genoa.
“That’s a great dual,” Edison coach David Hermes said. “They’re a better team than we are right now, and we know coming in that it was going to be an uphill battle.
“Obviously, with Contos back they’re at full strength. Our kids fought and did the best that they could do, and that’s all I care about. We didn’t give up pins. We had to go big there at the end in the last couple matches and put ourselves in bad positions. But, overall, I’m proud of the way we fought. That’s a state championship team right there.”
The final two match wins for Genoa came from sophomore 195-pounder Antonio Quezada (13-4), who pinned the Chargers’ John Mason Neer at 4:48, and from junior 285-pounder Noah Koch, who won by forfeit for the final margin.
“It was nice to have some momentum generated there by Julian and Oscar Sanchez, Dylan D’Emilio, and Dustin Morgillo,” Bergman said. “All of them had great wins, and that [six straight wins] kind of sucked the life out of the steam they were gaining. It was nice.”
In the finals, Genoa got pins from Welsh (21-12) at 106, Julian Sanchez at 126, Morgillo at 138, Contos at 152, Limongi at 160, and Moore (23-6) at 170. The Comets piled up a 54-0 lead and coasted.
OTHER WINNERS: Wauseon and Swanton also advanced to St. John Arena for the state finals. The Indians were dominant in advancing to the final eight in Division II, beating Napoleon 62-9 then Perkins 62-7 in the regional final. Swanton beat Liberty-Center 42-23 in the regional final after besting Haviland Wayne Trace 54-25.
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