MARCH 6, 2021 - TROY
The Covington Buccaneers went four-for-four on Saturday in qualifying wrestlers to the state meet as seniors Trentin Alexander (170), Cael Vanderhorst (138) and Kellan Anderson (126) and freshman Michael Hagan (106) punched their tickets to the big stage.
Anderson and Vanderhorst join Andrew Dehart as the only three Buccaneers in school history to qualify for state all four years of high school while Alexander and Hagan make their first trips to state.
The success of the state qualifiers combined with the performance of the five other Buccaneers who competed at districts led to Covington finishing 9th out of 56 representing teams in the team standings with 84.5 points.
Hagan opened Saturday’s competition with a 12-0 major decision victory over Lane Bergman of Versailles.
Hagan was then trailing Eli Campbell of Legacy Christian late in the third period of the 106-pound title tilt when he connected on a lateral drop straight to the back in want appeared to be a five-point move. The Buccaneer wrestler was awarded the two takedown points, but no near fall points as his knee was ruled out of bounds.
The final ten seconds then ticked away with Hagan (41-2) on the short end of a 7-5 decision, but the Buccaneer freshman becomes just the fifth wrestler in school history to follow his father, Mike Hagan, as a state qualifier. Mike qualified for state in 1986 at 155 pounds. Michael also joins his brother Daniel Jennings as the eighth brother combination to become state qualifiers. Daniel qualified in 2013 and 2014.
Kellan Anderson (36-5) started the day in the consolation bracket at 126 pounds and opened with a 15-0 technical fall victory over Nathan Opichka of Madeira to set up a go-to-state match against Brayden Brown of Legacy Christian.
Anderson led 2-1 into the third period, but was tagged for a locking hands penalty and surrendered an escape point to give Brown a 3-2 lead with just over 30 seconds left in the match.
With time running out on a fourth straight state birth, Anderson powered his way through the Legacy Christian wrestler’s defense to record the winning takedown with just under ten seconds left in the match.
The Buccaneer senior then fell short in the consolation final by the slimmest of margins 2-1 to Troy Kennedy of Troy Christian to finish fourth. Still, Anderson is in position to earn his second state medal after placing sixth as a freshman.
Saturday started off rocky for Cael Vanderhorst as he dropped his first match of the season 3-0 to Pierce Taylor of McNicholas in the championship semifinals.
But the Buccaneer senior, now 49-1, secured his fourth straight trip to state with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Teagan Hendricks of Greeneview and closed out the tournament in style by pinning Kade Wireman of Allen East to finish third at 138 pounds.
Like Anderson, Vanderhorst makes his fourth straight trip to state with hopes of capturing his third state medal after finishing 8th in 2018 and 4th in 2019. He could have been going for his fourth state medal, something only accomplished by Andrew Dehart, if it wasn’t for the state tournament being cancelled a year ago.
Lastly, senior Trentin Alexander (39-7) battled through the blood rounds at 170 pounds by pinning Cael Gostomsky of Arcanum in 1:04 in the consolation semifinal.
This set up a rematch of last week’s sectional final as Alexander faced Kam Cox of Greenon in the go-to-state match. Last week Alexander dropped a narrow 11-10 decision to Cox, but this time around the Covington wrestler dominated en route to a convincing 8-2 victory.
With a trip to state secured, Alexander then faced Chase Martin of Delphos St. John (49-2) in the consolation final and was behind 6-2 until reversing Martin in the third period. Unfortunately Alexander ran out of time and dropped a close 6-4 decision.
Still, it was a great weekend for Buccaneer wrestling as four Covington wrestlers advance to the state tournament, which will be held next Saturday and Sunday at Marion Harding High School.