Wednesday, December 28, 2016 - Dayton
The Covington wrestling team competed in the prestigious GMVWA Holiday Wrestling Tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday and after two days of wrestling the Buccs finished 13th in the small school standings, tying Zane Trace with 53 team points.
In a tournament field of 64 teams from all three divisions, the competition was fierce at each weight class. Graham won the small school division with 311 team points, while Dublin Coffman claimed the large school title with 177 team points.
For the Buccaneers, Lance Miller was the lone individual placer as he finished sixth at 160 pounds.
Miller began the tournament with three straight wins - a 16-3 major decision over Austin Mullen of Hudson; a 3-1 win over Nick Coyle of Vandalia Butler; and a 5-1 win over #4 seed Parker Brown of Sycamore Mohawk.
In the championship semifinal Miller faced #1 seed and eventual tournament champion Mason Smith of Walton-Verona and dropped the match to move into the consolation rounds. After losing to losing to eventual fourth place finisher Chance Egmont of Pickerington Central, Miller topped a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to Logan Broskie of Olentangy Orange in the fifth place match.
Seven more Buccaneer wrestlers competed well in the tournament, but fell short of finding a spot on the podium.
Riley Richards, a sophomore 126 pounder for the Buccaneers, dropped his first two matches of the tournament on close decisions - one a 6-3 loss to Andrew Oeters of Lakota West and then a very close 9-7 decision to Garrett Thomas of Upper Sandusky.
Freshman Austin Flick had a very impressive showing in his first appearance at the Holiday as he went 2-2 at 132 pounds. Flick captured a 6-4 win in sudden victory over Bryce Asher of Northmont and recorded a 1:46 pin over Dale Gose-Trippett of Newark.
Sophomore 138 pounder Keringten Martin had a stellar tournament despite receiving an unfortunate draw. Martin made quick work of his first three opponents by recording pins, but was forced to face #1 seed and eventual champion Kameron Paulus of Milton-Union in the championship semifinal. Martin wrestled very well, but came up just short of reaching the finals by a narrow 4-2 decision. He then dropped another heartbreaker, losing 5-3 to Graham's Isaiah Stickley to end his hopes of finishing on the podium.
Senior 145 pounder Josh Sowers went 3-2 in the tournament with wins over Jordan Burns of Moore (1:54 pin), Bladeth Leamon of Miami Trace (2:12 pin) and Josh Halbakken of Big Walnut (4:45 pin), while senior Deron White went 2-2 in a stacked 152 pound weight class. White's two wins came by a 2:15 pin over Derek Moore of Miami Trace and a 3:00 pin over Benedikt Hoepfl of Greenview.
At 170 pounds, junior Gage Dehart won four straight matches after falling to #1 seed and eventual champion Casey Cornett of Simon Kenton in his opening match. Unfortunately, Dehart's quest to finish on the podium ended with a very narrow 1-0 loss to Jacob Yost of Springfield. His four wins came over Michael Dewitt of Upper Sandusky (1:45 pin), Adam McCardle of Hilliard Bradley (2:46 pin), Stephen Holton of Xenia (8-0), and Vance Geeslin of Milford (5-0).
The final Buccaneer wrestler to compete at the Holiday was senior heavyweight Carl Lankford, who dropped his first two bouts of the tournament.
With the year 2016 in the books, the Buccaneers look to get off to a fast start in 2017 as they compete in the annual Troy Invitational on January 7th.