COLUMBUS — The Genoa wrestling team’s most important accomplishment this season might have taken place before it won its first Division III state dual team title Sunday at Ohio State’s St. John Arena.
The same could be said for Wauseon, which built on a history of success that included back-to-back Division II state runner-up finishes in the individual event by also capturing its first team title.
Genoa, left, won the Division III state dual title with a 40-20 victory over Massillon Tuslaw. Wauseon, right, took the Division II crown by beating Mentor Lake Catholic, 48-12.
Wauseon continued its recent run as it beat Mentor Lake Catholic 48-12 for the title.
The Indians were the top seed heading into the event, and beat eighth-seeded Washington Court House 72-3 before edging fourth-seeded Canfield 38-32 to reach the championship match.
“It feels great to finally break through and start this tradition,” Hunter Yackee said.
Yackee (132) was one of 11 wrestlers to win in the final, along with Gavin Ritter (113), Nolan Ray (126), Jarrett Bischoff (138), Gage Grunden (145), Sandro Ramirez (152), Xavier Torres (170), Trent Davis (182), Aaron Harris (195), Samuel Sosa (220), and Alex Sosa (285).
“It’s a pretty experienced group, and they’ve had some pretty good battles,” coach Mike Ritter said. “With [St. Paris] Graham moving up to Division I, that opens the door for a lot of other teams. These guys have all been wrestling since they were real young, and it’s the culmination of all that work.”
After coming in as the No. 1 seed, Genoa defeated Massillon Tuslaw 40-20 to cap a run that saw it make state for the first time.
Comets junior James Limongi (160 pounds) thinks his program’s focus on “building a culture” was as important as what it did on the mat.
Wauseon's Nolan Ray celebrates after defeating Mentor Lake Catholic's Conor McCrone at 126 pounds. The Indians beat Lake Catholic 48-12 to take the Division II state dual title.
“It’s exciting, and sort of a relief,” Limongi said. “We all have the same mindset in our goals and beliefs. We really push each other, and it’s more than just wrestling. We’ve had a great program for years, but we just sort of focused on more than just wrestling and more than just grinding 24-7. There’s more to the sport than just wrestling.
“It’s our first time down at the state duals, and it’s been a blast.”
The Comets, who won the first title in a team sport in school history, beat eighth-seeded Bethel-Tate 62-6 and fourth-seeded Versailles 50-9 to reach the final.
Tuslaw, which edged third-seeded Swanton 34-22 to reach the final, also was state runner-up in 2013 and last season.
In the final, Devin D’Emilio (113), Oscar Sanchez (120), Julian Sanchez (126), Dylan D’Emilio (132), Dustin Morgillo (138), Kevin Contos (152), Limongi, Antonio Quezada (195), and Noah Koch (285) all picked up wins for Genoa.
“It’s just been the leadership and culture on the team,” coach Robert Bergman said. “Everyone wants to step up and put their best foot forward, and it just gets contagious. The kids feed off of it. We knew we would have the firepower, and the kids have been talking about it since last year that they wanted to be in the mix this year. It’s been just a total team effort.”
The area’s other competing team was Swanton, which edged sixth-seeded Nelsonville-York 39-31 in its quarterfinal before falling to Tuslaw.
In the Bulldogs’ semifinal loss, Zack Schaller (120), Trevor Schaller (126), Noah Saunders (138), Chase Moore (152), Ryan Marvin (160), and Crew Oberheim (195) all picked up victories.
Greg Wilson then lost 6-4 to Crawford Hamrick in his match at 220, as Tuslaw wrapped up the victory.
“We knew it was going to be just a handful of points and that every point matters,” Swanton coach Greg Hallet said. “It was an absolutely amazing effort.
“It’s such a risk to put it all together, and you give it your best and it just hurts a little bit more, but what an excellent effort out of all these kids. There’s love for them all, genuine appreciation for one another. They’re life-long friends, grew up in the program together and all stuck with it. Each one is the other’s biggest fan, so when they’re not wrestling, they’re coaches as well. … We’re not done by any means.”
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