DAY ONE: DIVISION III STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
COLUMBUS - There is a look in Ryan Ford's eyes - a look of purpose, focus and determination at the 79th Annual OHSAA State Wrestling Tournament in the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
It's a look Ford (45-6) has had since he was stunned a week ago with a loss at the district tournament due to taking a chance he didn't have to take.
Focused and purposeful, Ford has been dominant ever since and carried that aggressiveness into his opening round match at state against Galion Northmor's Jake Farley (21-8).
The Buccaneer senior, who is looking to finish atop the podium after finishing third at state the past two years, waisted little time taking control on Thursday by recording three first period takedowns for a 6-2 lead.
Ford chose bottom to start the second period and immediately recorded an escape point and another takedown to push his lead to 9-2.
Knowing he could control the match on his feel, Ford elected to surrender a third escape point to his opponent before taking Farley down in the final seconds of the frame for an 11-3 lead.
Farley chose bottom to start the fourth period, but Ford elected to surrender yet another escape point and then immediately scored his sixth takedown of the match for a 13-4 lead.
One final escape point was surrendered by Ford and then the Buccaneer senior closed out the match with his seventh takedown and a 15-5 win.
Ford looks to keep his momentum rolling tomorrow morning as he takes on Brandon Huffman (24-13) of Rootstown in the 138 pound quarterfinals.
"Ryan looked good," said Covington coach Tom Barbee. "He's focused and ready to take the next step tomorrow. One match at a time."
For senior Brandon Magee, having the opportunity to compete at state was something he didn't expect after finishing the district meet as an alternate.
But Magee was inserted into the 182 pound bracket thanks to another wrestler failing to pass the skin test prior to weight-ins.
"If you could pick one kid to get a second chance (at state), it would be him," said Barbee. "He's a great young man and for him to have an opportunity to finish his career here (at state) is great to see."
With little time to prepare mentally due to his unexpected entry into the tournament, Magee dropped his opening match to Gaige Willis of Andover Pymatuning Valley by the score of 9-1.
He rebounded, however, in the first consolation round with a second period pin of Jeremy Bresciani of Coshocton.
"To come here as an alternate and get in, that's never happened with a Covington wrestler," said Magee. "Then to come over here and win a match, it was an awesome feeling. I can't even describe it."
Seeing Magee receive the opportunity to wrestle at state after placing fifth at districts, many may feel he backed into the opportunity.
Barbee doesn't see it that way.
"He won a match and that shows he belongs here," Barbee said. "It doesn't matter how he got here - he's here and doing very well."
Wrestling resumes tomorrow morning at 10:00am.