DEFIANCE — A season of firsts continues for the Genoa wrestling team.
The Comets, which won the Division III state team duals title for the first time in February, captured their first district championship in school history Saturday and did it in impressive fashion. Genoa had five wrestlers take home first place at the D-III district in Defiance and will be sending seven to the state tournament at Ohio State.
“Our goal was to advance as many as we could to put ourselves in position next week for our ultimate goal,” Genoa coach Bob Bergman said.
Genoa's James Limongi, shown pinning Milan Edison's Joe Stoll earlier this season, won a district championship at 160 pounds Saturday to help the Comets win the team title.
Defending state champions Oscar Sanchez (113 pounds), Dylan D’Emilio (132) and James Limongi (160) head a Genoa contingent that took home first place, along with Julian Sanchez (120) and Dustin Morgillo (138). In addition, Xavier Beach (182) and Noah Koch (285) were second for the Comets.
“It’s great that half our team gets to share the experience,” Limongi said after pinning Gibsonburg’s Brady Jaso in 5 minutes, 5 seconds. “Getting more down there shows the improvement we’re making.”
Limongi had topped Jaso 5-0 in the sectional final last week at Lake.
“It’s easier in some ways, but in some ways it’s not,” Limongi said of facing the same opponent in consecutive weeks. “You know their style so that’s good, but they know more about yours, too.”
Trying to get back to Columbus drives Limongi and Co., which rolled up 196.5 points to finish 68 points in front of Delta for the district title.
“All I need for motivation is to keep thinking about what that felt like winning a state title last year,” Limongi said. “If you wrestle hard, everything else takes care of itself.”
As the district favorites with 12 qualifiers, last year’s state runners-up lived up to the billing.
“I liked that we [were] the favorite,” Oscar Sanchez said. “We just tried to not put too much pressure on ourselves.”
Last year’s 106-pound state champion won 16-4 win against Eastwood’s Brandon Hahn on this day.
“I wrestled pretty well,” Oscar said. “I just tried not to think too much.”
Twin brother Julian, who was second a year ago at state, followed with a 3-0 decision against Oak Harbor’s Cameron Dickman. A week earlier, Sanchez edged Dickman 4-2 for the sectional crown.
D’Emilio, who won the state title at 113 a year ago, pinned Oak Harbor’s Tad Jensen in 4:42 before sophomore Morgillo beat Patrick Henry’s Max Neiling 9-2.
Beach and Koch both lost decisions in their championship matches. Beach, a state alternate last year, dropped a 5-3 decision to Milan Edison’s Sam Stoll, and Koch fell to Swanton’s Tommy Lytle 6-1.
“Noah is certainly hot now,” Bergman said. “He barely made it out of sectionals last year but he’s wrestling well right now.
“It was great to see Xavier punch his ticket to state. When you do things the right way it’s nice to see the hard work rewarded.”
Two Genoa wrestlers came up short in a state quest because of injuries. Senior Seth Moore suffered a dislocated elbow during a 170-pound semifinal and finished sixth while Kevin Contos, wrestling with a separated shoulder much of the season, was sixth at 152.
“Two getting injured in one round rips your heart out,” Bergman said.
But getting seven to state on the heels of the state duals title ease the pain.
“We wrestled some quality matches in tough situations at the duals,” Bergman said. “We had people step up and it gets contagious and we carried that over. It’s a sweet day to advance seven.”
In addition to Lytle, the Bulldogs had one other district champ as Chase Moore beat Lakota’s Trevor Franks 2-1 in a tiebreaker at 152.
Two other NWOAL wrestlers stood atop the district podium, with Delta’s Cole Mattin winning on an 18-3 tech fall against Swanton’s Trevor Schaller at 126 and Archbold’s Gavin Grime beat Gibsonburg’s Hugo Villarreal 6-1 at 145 to improve to 53-1 on the season.
Gibsonburg did have one district winner, with Brad Mendoza moving to 45-1 with a 3-1 decision against Carey’s Tanner May at 170. Elmwood’s Dylan Hinton earned the 195-pound title thanks to a default by Delta’s Dylan Rogers.
Delta’s Zack Mattin (106), Rossford’s Carlton Roberts (152), Swanton’s Ryan Marvin (160), Patrick Henry’s Wil Morrow (182), Oak Harbor’s Jake Sage (195), and Liberty Center’s Caleb Carpenter (220) all placed third to advance to state.
Archbold had a pair of wrestlers finish fourth to move on in Colton Soles (152) and Mason Babcock (182). Also coming in fourth to advance were Oak Harbor’s Tyler Davis (106), Lake’s Antonio Lecki (113), Swanton’s Zack Schaller (120), Rossford’s Austin Eick (145), Montpelier’s Austin Grubb (160), PH’s TJ Rhamy (170), Delta’s Dalton Richard (220), and Elmwood’s Kain Brossia (285).
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