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Blind Woodcreek wrestler has a golden goal

Inspirational Joe Germino seeks a tournament championship in his senior season
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Doug Mason says he stopped underestimating Joe Germino a long time ago.

A medical condition caused Germino to lose his sight a few years ago, “when I was about 10,” he recalls, but it was Germino who, as a freshman in 2009, managed to find a wallet lost by a senior teammate at the Sierra League Tournament. Being blind doesn’t stop Germino from walking all around the city of Roseville, either.

“If he says he’s going to do something, there’s probably a good chance he will,” Mason says, his face glowing at the thought.

That “something” for Germino would be a wrestling gold, a tournament championship in his senior season. He placed second this season at the New Year’s Eve Classic at Natomas and the Wildcat Invitational at Whitney.

“I’ve been getting second lately,” says Germino, who usually wrestles at 113 pounds. “I really want to get a gold.”

Germino didn’t wrestle before arriving at Woodcreek, other than the occasional tangle with his brother, he says. He also used to grapple with pal Mackie Carbine, who wrestled for Roseville. Carbine encouraged Germino to go out for the team at Woodcreek because he was pretty good.

Thought Germino at the time, “Why not?”

Mason admits he thought it might not work on the first day Germino entered the wrestling room. But Woodcreek graduate Daniel Weld worked with Germino on some moves and on the fourth day said to Mason, “Coach, watch this.”

“Joe did three moves in a row. For a brand new wrestler, I was just totally impressed,” Mason says. “From that day forward, he’s just continued to get better and better and better, and every year, he finds another element of his game he gets better at.

“I was humbled. And so was everyone else.”

Germino went on to win the team’s Jeremy Wooten Most Inspirational Award as an underclassman. That award never goes to an underclassman.

“He won it hands down,” Mason says.

Germino, who will earn his first varsity letter this season, says wrestling moves come more natural now. He believes wrestling has benefited his health and made him stronger mentally.

“I don’t ever want to get an F in school,” says Germino, who gets A’s and B’s.

Germino has heard he’s an inspiration, though he says he sees himself “as another person trying to do something.”

Mason and assistant coach Brian Dunn say Germino definitely is an inspiration.
Dunn describes Germino as fearless and tenacious and says he’s been fun to teach. Mason says Germino never complains about practice. He applies what his coaches teach and never says, “I can’t.”

“That’s the whole picture right there. We go to tournaments, people cheer for him,” Mason says, recalling that when Germino won on a technical fall earlier this season, “Everybody was just ecstatic. It’s awesome. He shows up. He works hard, tries to do the best he can. It really is awesome.”

Germino says he can detect light, darkness, movement and colors. One color stands out this season: Gold.

Says Dunn, “He definitely has the potential because he works hard and he gets better every day.”

Contact Bill Poindexter at billp@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.