First-year Genoa wrestling coach Joe Ziebold saw his Comets start the 2009-10
season on a high note Dec. 4-5 at the Jim Derr Invitational at Northwood High School.
The Comets scored 198 points to finish second behind champion Wauseon (295) and ahead of third-place Bowling Green (194.5).
"As a team, coming out in second place is a wonderful thing," Ziebold said. "We're just starting. We're going to get better and better as the weeks go on. We're pretty happy with the second-place finish, especially with a lot of Division I and Division II schools there, and we're Division III.
"We consider this as a starting point, as a beginning, and hopefully we can build on that through when the league (tournament) comes around."
The Comets placed 10 of 14 wrestlers, with half of those placers advancing to the championship finals.
Senior 140-pounder Scott Traver and junior Garrett Scott (160) both went 5-0 to claim first-place finishes for Genoa.
"They're getting their feet wet," Ziebold said. "Scott Traver went out there disciplined and showed a lot of great technique. He's a leader on our team and he proved it out there.
"Garrett is 6-1, 160 and has a lot of leverage, and he wrestled really solid in the finals. He did what he's supposed to in the finals. He kind of rolled around a little bit in the semifinals and we corrected it.
Scott and Garrett pretty much dominated in the finals."
Taking second-place finishes for Genoa were senior Dustin TenEyck (152) and freshman Seth Morrison (103), while junior Justin Upham (145) battled through a tough loss to capture third while finishing 6-1 on the weekend. Upham led the Comets in takedowns, with 16.
"Dustin didn't wrestle last year and he's coming in a little bigger and stronger," Ziebold said. "He's a senior and a golfer, so he has that mental toughness that golfers need. He's a technician. He lost by one point in overtime to a kid from Wauseon. With our practices, we're going to keep drilling and drilling and eventually he'll get better and stronger.
"Upham, being a tackle and with all his success and toughness in football, he's applying it to wrestling. His attitude, work ethic and determination are a big improvement from last year, and it shows on the mat.
"Seth played freshman football and he's learning the skills and what it takes to work hard and get bigger and stronger and faster. We're just starting and he's going to improve week by week."
Also placing for the Comets were Chance Dalton, who was fourth at 103 (there were only five 103-pounders at the tournament), Jake Sheehy (4th, 171), Nathan Breuer (5th, 135) and Jake Winters (5th, 189).
"It was exciting for all of us," Ziebold said. "We're like a family. We're trying to get that family to work together as a whole to achieve what we want to achieve, like our girls basketball team and like the football team."
Ziebold added that having varsity assistant coaches Joe Bergman and Bob Bergman on staff has made his transition to head coach much easier.
"Joe was my coach at Cardinal Stritch in the 1970s and 1980s," Ziebold said. "Bob was our middle school coach for five years and won four SLL championships. With our experiences and knowing each other's philosophies, we're trying to do things the right way inside and outside the wrestling room."
The Comets return to action Friday and Saturday at the Sylvania Southview Invitational.