Comet wrestlers finish off another stellar season

Yaneek Smith

Press Contributing Writer

Could this be the beginning of something special? It sure looks that way for the Genoa Comets.
Coach Bob Bergman’s wrestlers won a Northern Buckeye Conference title, a sectional championship, sent 12 wrestlers to districts and, behind the performances of Scott Fuller (113 pounds) and Ethan Powell (106) at the state tournament, finished 15th in Division III.
Fuller was second and Powell placed fifth.
It was a step in the right direction for Genoa, which was 30th in Division III last year and 37th the year before that.
Fuller, a sophomore, pinned Versailles’ Trey Huber in 4:28 and won by technical fall, 16-1, over Barnseville’s Johnathan Huntsman to advance to the semifinals. Fuller pinned Alter’s Bronson Begley in 1:24 before losing to Delta’s Adam Mattin by major decision, 14-1, in the finals.
Fuller finished his season at 48-7.
Powell, a freshman, won his first match by fall in 2:55, defeating Caldwell’s Jesse Pemberton. Powell beat Lake Catholic’s Chance Wuhr, 6-0, to advance to the semifinals where he lost by sudden victory, 3-1, against Trinity’s Derion Williams. (Williams would lose, 1-0, to Columbia’s Michael Frye in the finals.)
Powell lost, 5-2, to Liberty Center’s Braedyn Tammarine in the consolation bracket before recovering and beating Wuhr a second time by major decision, 9-0, in the fifth-place match.
Powell had a record of 47-7 this season.
“They’re a dynamic duo. They are a one-two punch for us all year at dual meets and tournaments,” said Bergman. “Both were seconds away from beating two state finalists. Ethan Powell could’ve been in the finals but lost a sudden-victory match in overtime.
“Fuller is dynamic and super creative; he finds ways to cradle people from any position. They’re like Batman and Robin. It’s neat to see them accomplish so much,” he said.
This was a season filled with accomplishments for the Comets.
“It was a successful year. Certainly, you always want more at the end. We had a senior class of six guys, and they really helped set the tone and the standard, and I’m really proud of their leadership,” said Bergman. “We came together and finished the year strong.”
In 2018 and 2019, the Comets reached the summit, winning state championships in both the individual tournament and the dual team tournament, the first of any state titles in Genoa’s history.
The Comets had to rebuild, something Bergman aimed to do when he took over the program years ago.
The Comets won the league title for the second straight season and 10th time overall.
Genoa, which had 11 placers, defeated Oak Harbor by just 1.5 points, 189-187.5, with some key wins coming at 157 when Zavier Materni beat Rocket senior Tait Dusseau, 5-2. In the next match (165), Luke Clement secured a takedown in the final 10 seconds to defeat Brady Losie, 4-3.
At 215, Ethan Crawford secured a pin with two seconds remaining in his match, and Kevin Ludwig, competing at heavyweight, won his match, 1-0, to make up for Oak Harbor’s lead.
Powell and Fuller also won their weight classes and Nate (132) and Noah Tipton (126) and Xavier Arriaga (144) finished in second place.
Those three wrestlers, plus Zayden Dunn (138), John Buffington (150) and Alex Materni (175), all advanced to districts. Crawford and Nate Tipton nearly qualified for the state tournament, losing the do-or-die match via tiebreaker, and Zavier Materni lost via sudden victory, finishing one victory short of getting to Columbus.
The Tipton twins each got to 100 career victories, the first time that has been done by a Comet in four years.
Crawford, Ludwig, the Tiptons, Luke Erwin and Luke Shay are the team’s seniors
“It starts with our senior class — they went through the dark ages as underclassmen – they bought in, they trusted the process. They led by example and were great leaders. I’m super proud of them, I know a lot of them had higher goals, and they brought everyone with them,” said Bergman. “We’re standing on the shoulders of everyone who came before us.
“They do whatever it takes for us,” he said.
Bergman is optimistic about the program’s future.
“I think the best is yet to come. I think we look to have three or four guys in Columbus (next year),” he said. “Luke Clement and Zavier Materni showed the ability to be there. We have guys looking to make that run and continue the tradition.”


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