Covington senior Logan Brown became the first wrestler in Buccaneer school history to capture a state championship as he dominated the 189 pound weight class by not surrendering a single offensive point throughout the state tournament. Brown finished his senior season with a 52-0 record – and as a state champion, two-time state placer and three-time state qualifier.
DAY 1: Thursday, March 2, 2006 – COLUMBUS
As Logan Brown followed coach Tom Barbee and assistant coach Eric Vanderhorst out of the bullpen and into the arena for his opening round match at the state wrestling tournament, there was a look in his eyes that sent chills up the back of your neck.
It wasn’t the wide-eyed look that was on display last year in the first round of the state tournament. Instead, it was a look of pure business…no expression, total focus.
The unbeaten senior then stepped on the mat and wrestled the same way he came out of the bullpen…all business and totally focused.
Brown’s first round opponent, Cris Gault (28-11) of Andover Pymatuning Valley didn’t have a chance to get into the flow of the match as Brown immediately scored on a takedown for a 2-0 lead.
After riding his opponent for a minute in an attempt to get some back points, Brown let Gault up, surrendering an escape point to make the score 2-1.
Logan then set his man up for a second takedown and went to work for some back points. In a matter of seconds, Logan turned his man and recorded the pin in 2:47.
“Logan looked good,” said former Buccaneer state qualifier Brad Hall. “He looked focused and didn’t make any mistakes, which is what you need to eliminate when you get to this level.”
The expression on Logan’s face didn’t change after the match was over. He just gathered his gear and walked out of the arena and up the tunnel…totally focused.
With the win, Brown improves to 49-0 on the season and will face Brock Kirian (37-6) of Sycamore Mohawk, who defeated D.J. Cummins (35-11) of Cardington-Lincoln by the score of 13-5. Brown defeated Kirian earlier in the year at the GMVWA Holiday Tournament at Vandalia via second period pin.
Wrestling starts Friday at 10:00 am.
189 Championship Preliminaries:
Hector Urbina, Archbold pin Joe Wasserbeck, Richwood N. Union 3:38
Trey Michael, Carlisle maj. dec. Mike Johnson, W. Salem 14-5
Gary Steigerwald, Kirtland maj. dec. Russ Beisner, Versailles 10-2
Jeremy Stevens, Ashland Crestview pin Derick Hesson, Caldwell 2:39
Travis Porter, Burton Berkshire dec. Levi Schwab, Clinton-Massie 7-1
Brad Rice, W. Jefferson maj. dec. Jude Riedy, Sand. St. Mary C.C. 8-0
Brock Kirian, Mohawk maj. dec. D.J. Cummins, C.-Lincoln 13-5
Logan Brown, Covington pin Cris Gault, And. Pymatuning Val. 2:47
Day 2: Friday March 3, 2006 – COLUMBUS
One More! That was the phrase Logan Brown uttered as his hands were raised in victory after a 13-6 win over Brad Rice of West Jefferson to advance to the state finals on Saturday.
Before that, Brown began day two of the state wrestling tournament in the same fashion as he ended the first day…focused and determined.
The unbeaten senior from Covington locked horns with a familiar foe in the state quarterfinals against Brock Kirian of Sycamore Mohawk. Earlier in the year at the GMVWA Holiday Tournament, Logan totally dominated Kirian and pinned him in the second period.
Today, it took Logan longer, but the result was the same…a Brown win.
Logan built a 5-0 lead through the first two periods as it was evident Kirian was focused on stopping Brown’s double-leg takedown. The sophomore from Sycamore Mohawk rarely attempted an offensive maneuver, and when he did Brown was solid in his defense.
Kirian did score two points on escapes, but Logan was in total control for a 5-2 win.
In the semifinal match six hours later, Logan was as dominating as ever against an aggressive Brad Rice of West Jefferson. For the first time in a long while a wrestler came into a match with Logan looking to take it to the unbeaten wrestler.
As a result Logan recorded six takedowns and controlled the match throughout. Brown built a 4-1 lead after the first, a 12-5 lead after the second, and cruised to a 13-6 win. None of Rice’s six points came on offensive maneuvers as Logan only surrendered 5 escape points and one penalty point for stalling in the final five seconds of the match.
As the clock ticked to zero, Logan jumped into the air in celebration and immediately ran to coach Tom Barbee for a long embrace. It was the first time in the state tournament Logan showed any emotion as he improved to 51-0 on the season.
After the match, Logan and his coaches stood mat-side and watched the final period of the other 189 pound semifinal match between Jeremy Stevens of Ashland Crestview and Hector Urbina of Archbold. Stevens cruised to a 8-0 win to set up a rematch of last years opening round match with Logan. In that match one year ago Logan took a 10-1 win.
After heading out of the arena, coach Barbee commented on the approach they will take into the finals.
“We’ll continue to do what we do best,” said Barbee. “Logan is so determined now. We’re not going to change anything. Logan will go out there doing what has gotten him here.”
And hopefully it leads to the first ever state wrestling title in Covington history.
189 Championship Quarterfinals:
Hector Urbina, Archbold Dec. 8-6 Tery Michael, Carlisle
Jeremy Stevens, Ashland Crestview Dec.12-4 Gary Steigerwald, Kirland
Brad Rice, W. Jefferson Dec. 8-5 Terry Porter, Burton Berkshire
Logan Brown, Covington Dec. 5-2 Brock Kirian, Sycamore Mohawk
189 Championship Semifinals:
Jeremy Stevens, Ashland Crestview Dec. 8-0 Hector Urbina, Archbold
Logan Brown, Covington Dec. 13-6 Brad Rice, W. Jefferson
Day 3: Saturday, March 4, 2006 – COLUMBUS
The yell of “Yeah!”, as Logan Brown watched the clock tick zero at the finals of the state wrestling tournament in Columbus, was a burst of emotion from accomplishing a goal he set a year ago.
“I wasn’t going to lose,” said Brown after accomplishing something no other Covington wrestler was able to do. “I wasn’t going to accept anything less than a state championship.”
Brown, who finished third in 2005 after falling to two-time state champion Spencer Dye of Sandusky St, Mary’s, became the first Covington wrestler to win a state title with a dominating 9-2 victory over Jeremy Stevens of Ashland Crestview in the finals. The Covington senior capped a 52-0 season and a two-year record of 102-1.
“It’s an awesome feeling to be the first state champion in school history,” described Brown. “I can’t even describe how good this feels.”
The wait for Logan’s big moment seemed to last for an eternity as there was the Parade of Champions ceremony prior to the competition and then the long wait for the matches in each weight class to become complete.
“I just stayed focused (while waiting),” said Brown. “In the warm-up room Stevens was warming up behind me and we made eye contact a few times, but nothing serious. We waited in the bullpen for about ten minutes before we came into the arena. All I did was focus on what I had to do.”
Finally, at exactly 8:00 pm Logan and Stevens took to the mat and the waiting was over.
The whistle blew and Logan immediately scored on his patented double-leg just 10 seconds into the match for a 2-0 lead.
“I just wanted to take it to him and let him know he couldn’t stop me,” Brown said. “I knew if I could get a few takedowns on him that I would be in his head.”
After letting Stevens up for an escape point, Brown took Stevens down again with his double-leg to build a 4-1 lead as he chose the neutral position to start the second period.
Brown pushed the lead to 6-1 with another takedown and a penalty point on Stevens for stalling made the score 7-1 at the end of the second. Brown was in the down position to start the third and on the whistle he reversed Stevens to go up 9-1.
“Stevens is a real strong wrestler on top,” said Brown. “I knew he wanted to get his legs wrapped in and I had to get away as fast as possible. Once I stood up and got hand control, I was able to turn him.”
With his state title at the tip of his fingers, Brown road out his frustrated opponent until the final second of the match as Stevens was given an escape point at the end to make the final score 9-2.
As the clock ticked to zero, Logan pumped his fist in the air and released all of the emotion that was bottled up over the past year. While his hand was being raised by the referee as the winner, Logan pointed up at various sections of the crowd where Covington fans were located.
He then shook the hand of his defeated opponent’s coach and headed straight for coach Tom Barbee. Logan lifted Barbee high in the air for the Covington crowd to give their praise.
“I’m so happy I was able to do this for coach Barbee,” said Brown. “He has been waiting for a state champion a lot longer than I have. To give this to him makes it so much sweeter. He’s been there for me, not only as a coach, but as a friend.”
After his moment with his coach, Brown headed straight for his parents, where all of the tears of joy came out in an emotional embrace. Logan then made his way through the crowd hugging his girlfriend and Mike Jennings.
“I just love my parents so much,” Brown explained. “They mean the world to me. Also, I love Jeni and Mike too. Mike has pushed me hard in practice. Mike Stephen too. I wish he could have been here, but he has more important things to tend to right now. I just want to thank Mike Stephen and Mike Jennings for beating my butt in practice every day and making me better. Without them this would have never happened.”
It was a history making year for Brown, all the way around. He rewrote the Covington record books and accomplished something that has never been done. He captured a state championship and all along the way he had a big bulls-eye on his back.
189 First Place Final:
Logan Brown, Covington dec. Jeremy Stevens, Ashland Crestview 9-2
189 Third Place Finals:
Brad Rice, W. Jefferson pin Brock Kirian, Sycamore Mohawk 1:42
189 Fifth Place Finals:
Hector Urbina, Archbold dec. Jude Riedy, Sand. St. Mary C.C. 7-6
189 Seventh Place Finals:
D.J. Cummins, Cardington-Lincoln pin Travis Porter, Burton Berkshire 4:25
AFTER 31 YEARS, TOM BARBEE HAS A STATE CHAMPION
Tom Barbee is a patient man. For 31 years he has waited and waited, but he finally has a state wrestling champion.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said an emotional head coach after his protege made history. “It probably won’t sink in until I have time alone to reflect on everything.”
Tom Barbee began coaching wrestling at Covington in 1975 as an assistant. In the early ’80s he became the head coach and coached until his sons began wrestling at the high school level in the mid-’90s. Over the years he had helped establish a strong program along with Jack Schwamberger.
After his sons graduated, Barbee reclaimed the position and continued his quest to develop a state champion.
Throughout the years there has been numerous outstanding wrestlers from Covington who made the trip to state. Despite having numerous state placers, nobody was able to get over the hump and make it to the state finals.
“We got close a few times, but for some reason or another we couldn’t get it (a state finals appearance) done,” said Barbee. “We came close with Graig Vanderhorst, who placed third twice. We came close with Eric (Vanderhorst). I thought we would get one with Mike Stephen, but things didn’t go our way. It’s been a long haul.”
Many folks thought Barbee’s final chance at a state champion wrestler left when Stephen graduated, but there was a freshman on the squad who had the drive and determination that kept Barbee’s competitive juices flowing.
That kid was Logan Brown.
“Logan was always such a determined kid,” said Barbee. “Even as a sophomore we would ask him to wrestle up a weight class to give him better competition and he was always willing to do that. We’d tell him we wanted him to move up and wrestle a state placer and Logan would be like, Let’s Go.”
Brown is happy Barbee decided to coach so long and was able to be a part of his championship triumph.
“I remember a few years ago when Mike (Stephen) graduated everyone was wondering if coach (Barbee) would continue to coach,” said Brown. “I think he saw something in me that got him excited about a possible state championship.”
The past four years has been nothing but hard work as pupil did what his teacher expected.
“He (coach Barbee) always pushed me hard,” said Brown. “I liked it because it made me a better wrestler. He made sure I took care of myself with what I ate before matches and he made sure I had the right mindset during matches.”
Barbee didn’t get Logan to where he is today alone as others have chipped in their time to contribute as well, including a former Barbee and Schwamberger protege, Eric Vanderhorst.
Although Barbee could probably still hang with the young punks on the mat, Vanderhorst was able to suit up and work on moves with the kids who wanted to stay after practice. This helped Brown as he was able to correct any mistakes he was making in matches.
Plus, the assistance of Mike Jennings and Mike Stephen also helped as they worked Brown over after practices.
“Those guys would come in after practice and beat on Logan and beat on him, but Logan loved it because it made him better,” said Barbee. “He knew if he could compete with those guys he had a good chance of being successful at tournaments.”
All of the years of sacrifice and the last four years of hard work with Logan Brown finally paid off this weekend. Brown was able to give Barbee something he has desired for 31 years and Barbee had the opportunity to give Brown something he worked so hard to achieve…a state championship medal.
“That was the icing on the cake,” Brown said of Barbee being the one to place the medal around his neck.
And the icing on the cake for Barbee was Logan Brown becoming a state champion.
Logan Brown at Senior Nationals…
Day 1: Logan opened the 2006 Senior Nationals at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a first round bye. He then advanced to the final 16 in the 189 pound weight class by defeating Anthony Castillo, the California state champion by an 8-3 decision. Logan recorded two takedowns, three back points and a reversal. In recording his back points, Logan got Castillo locked up in a cradle in the second period. Next, Brown faces Bryant Blanton, a 3-time state champ from South Carolina.
Day 2: Logan opened the second day of Senior Nationals with a hard-fought 10-8 decision over Bryant Blanton of South Carolina. Blanton came into the tournament as a three-time state champions and four-time state placer. Logan Brown dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 decision in the Senior National Quarterfinals to Matt Panasevich of Pennsylvania. After a scoreless first period, Logan recorded an escape to take a 1-0 lead. Panasevich scored on a controversial head-and-arm where control was judgemental. Brown then scored a takedown to tie the score at 3-3, but Panasevich took the lead back with an escape, 4-3. Brown came close in the final minute to recording the winning takedown, but couldn’t gain control. Logan looks to rebound on Sunday as he falls into the consolation bracket.
Day 3: Logan Brown dropped a 12-6 decision to Jesse Strawn of Kansas to complete his journey at Senior National in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Logan’s performance at Nationals places him in the top twelve 189 pounders in the nation. Congratulations Logan on an outstanding accomplishment.