Giuseppe Penzone wasn't sure how effective he would be in the Division I state wrestling tournament after tearing cartilage in his ribcage two weeks earlier.
The Olentangy Liberty High School senior already wasn't 100 percent after tearing the meniscus in his left knee late in the regular season, but the pain in his ribs was much sharper and inhibited some of his more explosive moves on the mat.
Despite the physical setbacks, Penzone won two of his five matches and placed sixth at state at 126 pounds.
He had conflicting feelings after the tournament, which was held Feb. 27-March 1 at Ohio State.
"I tried to go in with the mindset that pain is only temporary and look past it, but my injuries definitely affected me at state," said Penzone, who went 4-2 and placed fifth at 120 at state last season. "I tried to protect my ribs and it limited what I could have done, especially from the bottom position.
"I went into state with really high expectations and I'm disappointed that I didn't meet those goals. But I'm also proud that I was able to win some matches there while I was less than 100 percent healthy."
Penzone opened with a 10-7 victory over Cincinnati Moeller's Connor Borton before defeating Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Justin DeMicco 12-9 in a quarterfinal, his 150th career win.
However, Penzone lost to eventual state champion David Bavery of Massillon Perry 17-2 in a semifinal before getting pinned by Uniontown Lake's Alec Cotton in 1 minute, 37 seconds.
Penzone then was pinned by DeMicco in 4:17 in the fifth-place match.
"I was hoping to at least finish in the top three, but it was nice that I was able to win my 150th (career) match in a state quarterfinal," Penzone said. "I was able to throw the state champion on his back in my semifinal, but he came back to beat me pretty badly and I struggled after that match."
Junior Jonathan Furnas went 3-2 and placed fourth at 120 after going 3-2 and placing seventh at 106 a year ago.
Furnas opened with a 14-8 victory over Perrysburg's Moises Guillen before defeating Moeller's Conner Ziegler 6-4 in overtime in a quarterfinal.
In a semifinal, Furnas lost to eventual runner-up Jake Newhouse of Massillon Perry 6-4. He bounced back to defeat Brunswick's Josh Heil 9-4 and then lost to Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Austin Assad 9-3 in a consolation final.
"It was good to get fourth because it's an improvement over how I did at state last year," Furnas said. "I got a single-leg (takedown) to win my quarterfinal, but (Newhouse) was a good scrambler and hard to take down. I brought my A-game and did my best to get takedowns to beat (Heil), and I lost to a real aggressive opponent in my last match."
Freshman Trey Grenier went 1-2 at 132 as the Patriots tied for 22nd (20 points) behind champion Perry (185) as 78 squads scored.
Grenier was pinned by Oregon Clay's Richie Screptock in 1:54 in his opener. He beat Solon's Chris Wymer 10-5 then was pinned by Painesville Riverside's Nick Boggs in 4:36.
Hall leads Braves at state
Olentangy junior Nate Hall went 3-3 at state and placed sixth at 182 after going 1-2 at that weight in his first state appearance last season.
Hall opened with a 12-3 loss to eventual champion Rocco Caywood of Perrysburg, but rebounded to defeat West Chester Lakota West's Drew Fenton 10-5, beat Parma's Mike Lewis 8-5 and pin Hilliard Darby's Trevor Parker in 3:23.
Hall then lost to Moeller's Dakota Sizemore 16-1 in a consolation semifinal and to Mount Vernon's Matthew Lybarger 6-2 in the fifth-place match.
"Nate had a tough draw and opened against the state champ," said coach Dennis Lyberger, whose squad tied for 40th (11). "But Nate's wrestled well all season and he showed a lot of heart by winning his next three matches to reach the podium."
Senior Cody Pollitt (160) opened with a 9-0 victory over Perrysburg's Dan Waltermeyer before losing to Centerville's Alexander Bair 5-4 and to Darby's Sean Black 2-1.
Pollitt had beaten Black 5-2 in a district final Feb. 22, but lost to Black 5-3 in a sectional final Feb. 15 and fell to him 5-3 in a state-qualifying match last year.
Making his first state tournament appearance, sophomore Chris Crumb went 1-2 at heavyweight. After opening with a 6-2 loss to Centerville's Conan Jennings, he beat Canton GlenOak's Tristan Roberts 1-0 and lost to Perrysburg's Cale Bonner 2-1.
"I've never seen anything like this in my 35 years coaching wrestling, but Cody and Chris both lost their matches to place at state on penalty points," Lyberger said. "Cody was penalized for fleeing the mat and Chris for an illegal head scissors. Those were tough breaks for both of them in real competitive matches."
Kamba earns first state tourney victory
Orange senior Lenn's Kamba went 1-2 at state at 195 after going 0-2 at that weight in his first state appearance last season.
Kamba opened with a 13-6 victory over Lake's Chris Meffert before losing to Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Josh Murphy 11-4 and to Moeller's Jerry Thornberry 1-0.
With Kamba as its lone state representative, Orange tied for 67th (2).
"I wanted to win more matches at state, but I'm not disappointed because I gave it my best shot and that's all you can do," Kamba said. "I was more ready for my first match this year and I was able to control my first opponent. I lost my next two matches, but it was a good experience overall."