Bassitt headlines unique class of Genoa Hall of Fame inductees

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

The 13th annual Genoa High School Athletic Hall of Fame will include a star-studded list of inductees.
The ceremony honoring the six legends and two teams will take place Saturday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m. at the high school.
In communities like Genoa, where residents live and die with their local teams and players, this was a group that lived up to expectations and then some.
“The accomplishments are outstanding. To be recognized is amazing because athletics are important at Genoa. I think that’s important, and it’s also great for younger athletes coming to our school, to show that it’s possible for them (to excel) as well,” said Genoa Athletic Director Matt Routson. “It’s great for the community. Our Hall of Fame committee is solid, and they continue to do a great job with our induction ceremonies.”
In a group of exceptional athletes, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt has to be the most notable.
The 2007 graduate, who is 34, pitched at the University of Akron and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox and has also played for Oakland and the New York Mets.
Bassitt has had a very successful career, which began in 2014, and is 14-8 with a 3.78 ERA this season. Overall, he carries a 60-42 record and a 3.52 ERA. Bassitt has come a long way since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2016.
Toronto is doing well, too, and currently holds the second wild card spot in the American League.
Bassitt played football, basketball and baseball for the Comets.
Other inductees include:
Simone (Eli) Sessions ('09) is arguably the greatest girls basketball player in school history. She scored 1,360 career points, was a second-team, All-Ohio selection in 2009 and holds the career record for 3-pointers.
Sessions was also a star on the cross country and track teams. She holds the record for the cross country team with a time of 19:42, and is also the school’s record holder in the 3200 meters.
She went on to play basketball collegiately at Bowling Green State University.
Cliff Whalen ('99) could be considered the greatest Comet running back of all-time not named Kyle Nutter. He graduated with 4,158 rushing yards and was a second-team, All-Ohio selection and a first-team selection three times in the Suburban Lakes League.
Craig Pickerel ('00) was a standout on the golf course and the baseball field. In golf, he was a four-year letter winner and the 1999 SLL medalist. In baseball, he lettered twice and played collegiately at BGSU and was the 2005 MAC Sportsman of the Year.
Tyler Pickard ('12) was a great running back and linebacker, but really stood out for his kicking abilities. He holds the program record for the most extra points and field goals and was an All-Ohioan.
In basketball, he was a two-year letter winner and led the Northern Buckeye Conference in rebounds as a senior.
Mahlon “Bud” Smith, is a posthumous selection. He graduated in '40 and helped the track team win the Class B state championship as a senior. Smith also ran at Miami (OH) Univ. and served in the Navy during World War II before teaching at Adrian (MI) Public Schools for 37 years.
“As far as individuals, I don’t want to single anyone out. Chris Bassitt is a Major League baseball player. Simone Eli is arguably the most accomplished athlete at Genoa,” said Routson. “It’s pretty neat that there’s a 1940 graduate in Mr. Smith, and we reached out to his son. We have a couple of great football players in Cliff Whalen and Tyler Pickard. Tyler still has some state records for kicking. Craig Pickerel was an outstanding golfer; he was very talented and went on to play at BGSU.
“There are a lot of unique and interesting stories with this class of inductees,” he said.
The '03 volleyball team, which won a Division III regional championship, defeated Woodmore, Cardinal Stritch and Lima Central Catholic to claim a district title, and then beat Wellington and Margaretta before falling to Versailles in the state semifinals.
The Comets, led by Courtney Nissen and Carrie Gnepper, finished 24-4 and also won an SLL title.
The '08 football team won the program’s only regional title and also won the league title, going 13-1. Under the guidance of Mike Vicars, Genoa defeated Huron (47-21), Fostoria (28-14), Ottawa-Glandorf (40-21) before falling to the eventual-state champion, Kettering Archbishop Alter, 42-34, in the final four.
The win over the Redmen in the regional semifinals was especially rewarding because Fostoria was the No. 1 seed in Division IV, Region 14 and featured Micah Hyde, a defensive back that currently plays for the Buffalo Bills and is in his 11th season of a successful NFL career.
“The two teams that are going in were state qualifiers, both were in the final four. They were pretty special groups,” said Routson. “I think it’s the farthest both programs ever advanced in the tournament.
For more information about the Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony, contact Routson at the high school at 419-855-7741.


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