There will be no title defense for Contos, Morgillo

J. Patrick Eaken

Two Genoa seniors, Kevin Contos and Dustin Morgillo, are defending state champions who will not get to defend their title this year.
Morgillo believed this was his best ever, sitting at 43-3. All of his losses were to quality opponents, including a Pennsylvania state qualifier in the Medina Invitational championship match.
“I think it was the best I’ve ever been compared to any other season. I was really looking forward to going to state this year. I thought I was definitely going to dominate,” Morgillo said.
“This is the hardest I’ve worked. It sucks hearing that, especially the day before we are already down on leave. The weight class was very hard to make and it sucks. It was right before. I was hoping that it wasn’t real. I can’t believe it. I don’t see how they are going to reschedule it either because we can’t practice or anything the next few weeks. We can’t even go to our clubs.”
Once they were told the state meet would not happen, Genoa coach Bob Bergman took the two defending state champions out to eat at Rayz’ Café in Genoa.
“The school treated us. We were just delivered that bad news that afternoon and we said, ‘Let’s get together,’” Bergman said. “Those guys had been cutting weight the whole week, so we treated them for a night out and the guys felt really nice about that.”
Last year, Morgillo (50-3), who placed third at 138 his sophomore year, won the 145-pound state title via four wins by decision. His championship opponent was the previous year’s 138-pound state champion Nick Burgard, a senior from Ashtabula St. John. Burgard beat Morgillo, 8-6, in the state semis the previous year. But Morgillo turned the tables, earning a 5-1 victory.
“He avenged his loss to Burgard,” Bergman said. “Burgard is a super talented kid, and Dustin was certainly not favored. Dustin went after it and dominated. He was in control the entire match. It was a very strong statement.”
Contos (48-2) made it look easy en route to the title at 152 pounds. He won by tech fall, by pin (1:03) and used an 11-4 decision in the semifinals to advance to the title match. He beat Ashland Mapleton senior Beau Lefever (43-3) by a 9-2 margin.
Contos, who placed sixth at 152 as a sophomore, comes from a strong wrestling background. His father, Kevin, is an assistant coach at Genoa.
“That family, that’s all they do,” Bergman said. “All of their eggs are in that basket. They love the sport and it’s neat to see. His dad and uncle (Sean) took third (at state) and his grandfather (Mark) took third, so this was the family’s longtime goal and it was fulfilling.
That won their championships in front of 12,195 fans at the Schottenstein Center. This year there was no one to watch them because the Ohio High School Athletic Association “postponed indefinitely” the state wrestling tournament because of the Coronavirus COVID-19.
The Comets, who won the Division III state team title with 113½ points in 2018, crowned six champions in 2019 and had one third-place finish in scoring a D-III state record 172 points. At one point, Genoa won five state title matches in a row.
The Press typically awards its Alan Miller Jewelers Wrestler of the Year honor to any state champion, but with six, The Press stuck to tradition and honored all six with Co-Wrestlers of the Year. This year, Morgillo and Contos were in line to be honored again, but it’s hard to award any honors without seeing the final results on paper.
“They’ve had banner years and I couldn’t be more proud of them. Their class should have been on the map with last year’s — they are just great kids,” Bergman said.
 “Right out of the gate, each got some wins at the Iron Man Tournament. Both went 2-2, 3-2 at Iron Man, reached the ‘blood round’ and placed, so that’s where two of their losses came from. Dusty won Medina and Kevin lost to a nationally-ranked kid in the semifinal round so that is where his third loss came from. Morgillo lost to Blake Saito (Perrysburg 145-pound senior) in the PIT finals. Outside those setbacks they’ve had pretty remarkable seasons. They are both great leaders in our room and a pleasure coaching.”
Contos says even though he and Morgillo did not get to wrestle at state, Genoa’s record the past two years, winning two state tournament championships, two state dual meet championships, and all the individual championships, stands on its own.
“That’s still history in the making — it was so cool. It was one of the greatest times of my life, for sure,” Contos said.
Moving on to collegiate wrestling
Morgillo and Contos both have 4.0 GPAs and will continue to wrestle at the NCAA Division I level — Contos at Brown University and Morgillo at George Mason University. Both have big plans off the mat, too, as Contos plans to major in engineering and Morgillo in law.
“I was interested in law and they have a really good law school, and I liked the coaches and the team when I visited there,” Morgillo said. “I went on a different visit with them and was able to visit a pre-law class, and it really interested in me, and I’m also interested in criminal law. I think it would be cool and would give me a variety for my job.”
Bergman says it is their work ethic that makes them go.
“Kevin is day-in and day-out just positive, upbeat, hard-working and just Mr. Consistent,” Bergman said. “Every day, you never have to get him going. He’s the first one jogging into the room and the last one working. He’s quiet, meek personality, but just a monster on the mat. He flips a switch. He’s a very explosive wrestler and scrambler and he’s got a lot of good qualities.
“Dustin is a freight-train type of guy. He is just going to impose his will on you. On top, he’s going to hit his cradles and, on his feet, he’s always looking to get your single leg and very few of them can stop it.”
At this year’s Napoleon district, each recorded three falls and a technical fall to pile on 59 points for the Comet matmen.  As a team Genoa finished eighth out of 47 schools. Morgillo won the 145 pound weight class by pinning Gibsonburg freshman Connor Smith (34-6), who also advanced to state as district runner-up, in 1:13. Contos pinned Edison sophomore Shadrick Stone (51-9) in 1:11 at 152 pounds.
Contos was also 43-3, but he admits he did not have a very good start to the season, having a hard time making weight.
“I feel like in the very beginning of the season I wasn’t as focused as much as I should have been. I realized that at Iron Man and Medina, for example. I should have done a little better and it definitely cost me. My weight was really good the rest of the season and it was just a lot closer to what it needed to be,” Contos said.
Morgillo said at least he got to enjoy most his senior year, except for the biggest event of all — the state tournament. He did not take his role as team leader lightly.
“With most of our team being juniors, a lot of them didn’t know what they were doing so throughout the year I had to help them a lot. I practiced with them, helped them, and show them and teach them the drills, or help the coaches to show them how to do all the stuff. It was way different than the previous years,” Morgillo said.
 (— includes quotes from last year’s state tournament story by Press contributing writer Mark Griffin)

It appears your Web browser is not configured to display PDF files. Download adobe Acrobat or click here to download the PDF file.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association