Genoa’s modernized high school gym is not the only thing that’s changed this fall.
Bob Bergman, now in his second year as wrestling coach, is starting to see his program’s efforts come to fruition. Last year in his staff's first year of mentoring the team, Genoa went 28-5 in dual meets, were Northern Buckeye Conference duals champions, Napoleon dual champions, and Division III sectional champions.
This year, the team is much stronger and getting challenged early in various meets where they are matched with some of the best in their division as well as some larger schools. An example of this increased competition was last week’s inaugural Northcoast Holiday Duals Tournament at Genoa High School.
|At 160 pounds, Genoa wrestler Jacob Fejes
pinned Whitmer wrestler Connor Jacobs in
45 seconds. (Press photo by Harold
The tournament drew teams from across the state, some as far away as Cincinnati (Oak Hills). Competition was considered tough and included Margaretta (Sandusky Bay Conference), which was also a D-III sectional champion last year, and Division I Whitmer.
Genoa dominated the field and finished with a perfect 9-0 team record while going 108-19 individually. Genoa finished the tournament by beating D-III rival Margaretta in the finals by a score of 52-12.
Eight Comet matmen went 9-0 on the weekend earning first tournament team honors. Statistically, the Comets also established some impressive feats. Genoa recorded 53 pins while surrendering 13. The men in maroon also outscored the opposition by a combined dual score of 574-97 while eclipsing the 50-point barrier in each of its nine duals.
Winning all nine of their matches were Damian Demillio (106 pounds), Max Reeder (132), Nathan Moore (138), Drew Keenan (145), Ryan Szymanski (152), Jake Fejes (152), Mike Snider (170), and Jay Nino (220).
Of 14 wrestlers finishing undefeated, Genoa had over half. Others going undefeated were Margaretta wrestler Tyler Rogers (113), Galion wrestler Zac Tupps (120), Whitmer wrestler James Wingate (126), Gibsonburg wrestler Jacob Auld (182), Cleveland Heights wreslter Bobby Upshaw (195), and Whitmer wrestler Marquise Moore (285). Tupps was named Most Valuable Wrestler and Upshaw had the most pins with eight.
Genoa was the only team to go 9-0, followed by Margaretta (8-1), Whitmer (7-2), Galion (6-3), Cincinnati Oak Hills (5-4), Gibsonburg (4-5), Mogadore (3-6), Cleveland Heights (2-7), Lakota (1-8), and Seneca East (0-9),
The Comet’s next test will be an NBC quadrangular on Jan. 8 at Genoa against league teams Elmwood, Woodmore and Lake. Genoa's record stands at 20-3 on the year and they are currently 4-0 in the league.
The Northcoast Holiday Duals was the second of four dual tournaments the Comets will be competing in this winter as they prepare for the first annual OHSAA sanctioned state duals scheduled to begin on January 23.
Coach Bergman said Genoa chose to host the event because by wrestling non-league teams it exposes his wrestlers to different styles, some of which would otherwise not be discovered until the district or state level. He said the dual format, rather than that used in the traditional bracketed tournaments, also increases competition and endurance and helps build a team. In a "dual" tournament, teams are pitted against each other building both a fan following as well as generating more team excitement.
"We feel that by wrestling in duals we can build a better team and program as a whole,” Bergman said. "In duals, team scores are updated immediately so wrestlers care about each other’s performance and hold each other accountable; creating a positive peer pressure that is seldom realized in individual tournaments.
"The more matches the more experience and with experience comes confidence,” Bergman continued.
This type of schedule resulted in some wrestlers having nine matches where, in a conventional tournament, with eliminations, some may wrestle only two or three matches, unless they reach the semifinals.
"In a 32-man bracketed tournament if you win all your matches you will only wrestle five times," Bergman said. “Duals are usually just as tough, if not tougher, than a bracketed tournament as any competitive team will place their toughest kid against yours, and sometimes they will even bump their stud up to wrestle ours.
"By wrestling in duals, wrestlers can learn from each other and coaches can make spot corrections mat side rather than running from mat to mat. We can also figure out team tendencies of our own and more readily correct them," the coach added.