Covington sophomore Andrew DeHart will begin his quest to capture a state championship this afternoon at the Schottenstein Center at Ohio State University in Columbus.
Wrestling begins at 3:00 pm today and should DeHart proceed through the three-day event unblemished, he’ll become just the second Buccaneer wrestler to win a state title in wrestling. Logan Brown accomplished the feat three years ago in the same arena, capping a 52-0 season with a state championship at 189 pounds.
Andrew returns to Columbus with an already impressive resume.
He took sixth last year at state in the 130 lb. weight class as a freshman, becoming the youngest state qualifier and state placer in school history. In the process, DeHart recorded an impressive 46-7 record.
DeHart is also the only Covington wrestler to qualify for jr. high state three straight years. As a sixth grader he qualified for state by placing fourth at districts in the 90 lb. weight class. He followed that with a district championship and a seventh place finish at state as a seventh grader (102 lbs.) and a second district championship and a runner-up title at state as an eighth grader (114 lbs.).
The “Sophomore Sensation” enters this year’s state tournament with a 43-4 record (89-11 career record) and coming off a second place finish at the district meet. He’ll face Kyle Freiberg of Middlefield Cardinal, who has a 42-4 record as a senior.
Stay tuned to BuccsWrestling.com throughout the state wrestling tournament as we will post updates while Andrew DeHart chases the “GOLD”.
DEHART vs FREIBERG
4:40 PM: MARCH 5, 2009
Andrew DeHart cleared the first hurdle at the 2009 State Wrestling Championships with a hard-fought 9-3 victory over Kyle Freiberg of Middlefield Cardinal.
DeHart, who has battled flu symptoms the past two days, had to dig down for the victory as he fell behind 3-2 at the end of the first period.
“I was a little nervous at first, but I got the first takedown and settled down,” DeHart said. “But as the match went on the sickness got to me. I got it (sickness) pretty bad yesterday and I slept all day.”
DeHart took control of the match in the second period as he reversed his opponent and scored three back points in the frame to take a 7-3 lead. He then closed the show in the third period with a takedown.
“Once I got the cradle I felt pretty confident,” said DeHart. “Then I got the takedown in the third period and was able to hold him down. I was just wanting to stall a little and hope the time ran out fast.”
The fact that DeHart was able to win his first match under such circumstances made Coach Barbee happy.
“He wasn’t on his game today and being sick had a lot to do with that,” Barbee said. “But he was able to get the win, so we can get him in bed and get him rested up for tomorrow.”
DeHart faces Quinton Cooperider of Marion Pleasant in the quarterfinals tomorrow morning. Cooperider fields a 45-3 record after winning his first round match.
“We watched him (Copperider) a little bit and it looks like he likes to get the legs in,” Barbee explained of DeHart’s next opponent. “We’ll have to move on the bottom and not stay there long. We can’t allow him to work the legs.”
Wrestling continues tomorrow at 10:00 am.
145 LB. CHAMPIONSHIP PRELIMINARY RESULTS
Chris Burns (Troy Christian) pin 1:38 over Bobby Man (Massillon Tuslaw)
Kurtis Jefferis (Barnesville) dec. 8-4 over Anthony Ferber (Greenwich S. Central)
Robbie Chilson (Bellaire) maj. dec. 9-1 over Chad Rufenacht (Archbold)
Alex Hunter (Akron Manchester) maj. dec. 11-3 over Dustin Chatterton (Dixie)
Alex Betts (Bloomdale Elmwood) pin 3:55 over Kenny Nickerson (St. Clairsville)
Pat Rado (Peninsula Woodridge) dec. 13-7 over Anthony DeWitt (Delphos St. John’s)
Andrew DeHart (Covington) dec. 9-3 over Kyle Freiberg (Middlefield Cardinal)
Quinton Cooperider (Marion Pleasant) maj. dec. 10-0 over Ryan Neuberger (Milan Edison)
DEHART vs COOPERIDER
11:30 AM: MARCH 6, 2009
Andrew DeHart (45-4) woke up this morning not feeling the best due to the illness he has battled for the last few days.
“I felt terrible this morning,” DeHart said. “I was just hoping I could gut it out and come out with a win.”
Which he did as he defeated Quinton Cooperider of Marion Pleasant (45-4) via an impressive 14-8 decision.
The victory pits DeHart against Alex Betts (46-3) of Bloomdale Elmwood in the semifinals later this afternoon. The winner will punch his ticket to the finals on Saturday.
“We’re right where we want to be,” said Covington coach Tom Barbee. “He’s winning and he’s wrestling well. He was more on today – hitting his moves and using his technique.”
DeHart took control early as he scored on a takedown just seconds into the match and then capped the opening frame with three back points as he locked Cooperider in the cradle.
The Covington sophomore expanded the margin to 7-0 in the opening seconds of the second period with another takedown.
“Once I got up by that far I felt pretty confident,” DeHart said. “I just focused on not blowing it by making a dumb mistake.”
Which led to a run by Cooperider as he attempted to get back into the match by recording takedowns and letting DeHart up.
But DeHart virtually sealed the deal in the waning moments of the second period as he recorded a huge takedown to increase his advantage to 11-4.
“That (the takedown) was huge,” said DeHart. “If he gets the takedown it’s a lot closer match, but I got it and kept the score up there.”
Which made the third period one where DeHart worked the clock and concentrated on not surrendering the big move.
“I wasn’t going to give him anything big,” DeHart explained. “I just focused on staying solid and letting the clock tick away.”
Unlike Cooperider, who the coaches watched in the preliminaries, DeHart will have to size up his next opponent (Alex Betts) on the fly.
“We didn’t get a chance to watch him (Betts) like we did this guy (Cooperider), so we don’t know much about him,” assistant coach Eric Vanderhorst said. “Andrew will just have to get after it and take the match to him (Betts).”
Championship semifinal matches begin at 6:30 pm tonight.
145 LB. CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
Chris Burns (Troy Christian) dec. 3-0 Kurtis Jefferis (Barnesville)
Robbie Chilson (Bellaire) dec. 3-2 Aaron Hunter (Manchester)
Alex Betts (Bloomdale Elmwood) dec. 8-2 Pat Rado (Peninsula Woodridge)
Andrew DeHart (Covington) dec. 14-8 Quinton Cooperider (Marion Pleasant)
DEHART vs BETTS
8:00 PM: MARCH 6, 2009
Andrew DeHart’s quest to become a state champion was derailed for the time being as he dropped a grueling 2-0 decision to Alex Betts (47-3) of Bloomdale Elmwood in the Championship Semifinals.
And the difference in the match was a first period scramble that resulted in a Betts takedown – when it appeared DeHart (45-5) was about to come out on top.
“Yep,” agreed Covington coach Tom Barbee in regards to the takedown setting the tone for the match. “It would have been totally different if we could have gotten that takedown.”
Because Betts immediately went on the defensive.
“He (Betts) was content to ride us out in the second period,” Barbee continued. “Then we couldn’t turn him in the third period.”
DeHart was visibly gassed by the third frame, which made it that much more difficult.
“I feel terrible,” DeHart said afterward. “I’ve felt terrible all day. I need a good night’s sleep and then come back tomorrow and go after third place. I won’t accept anything less than third right now.”
Which will be a higher spot on the podium than he finished a year ago as a freshman when he took sixth at 130 pounds.
“He’s going to finish higher than he did last year,” Barbee said. “We’ll come back tomorrow and work for that next place on the podium.”
Wrestling continues Saturday at 10:00 AM.
DEHART vs HUNTER
11:30 AM – MARCH 7, 2009
Andrew DeHart regrouped from last night’s disappointment in a big way with a dominant victory over Aaron Hunter of Akron Manchester – a victory that goes in the books as an injury default after Hunter couldn’t continue with 1:44 left in the match.
“I wrestled pretty good and didn’t do anything stupid,” said DeHart, obviously still disappointed in last night’s result. “I’m looking for third right now.”
DeHart’s controlled the match from the outset, recording two first period takedowns to take a 4-1 lead.
“I definitely was focused on getting the first takedown,” DeHart said. “That was big because it set the tone for the match.”
A tone where DeHart continued to dominate as he immediately escaped to start the second frame and followed with another takedown and two back pionts to increase his margin to 9-1.
In the process Hunter suffered an injury, but showed a champion’s heart by continuing to wrestle.
“Ninety percent of this sport is mental,” explained Covington coach Tom Barbee. “He (Hunter) was a tough, tough kid, but Andrew stayed on him throughout the match.”
Which was ultimately ended with 1:44 left in the third as Hunter was in too much pain to continue.
“He’s (DeHart) moving up the podium,” Barbee said. “He came back mentally prepared this morning and focused on the things he had to do.”
Which moves DeHart into the Consolation Finals later this morning.
145 LB. CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINAL RESULTS
Chris Burns (Troy Christian) dec. 3-2 Robbie Chilson (Bellaire)
Alex Betts (Bloomdale Elmwood) dec. 2-0 Andrew DeHart (Covington)
145 LB. CONSOLATION SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS
Andrew DeHart (Covington) vs Aaron Hunter (Akron Manchester)
Quinton Cooperider (Marion Pleasant) vs Robbie Chilson (Bellaire)
DEHART vs CHILSON
1:30 PM – MARCH 7, 2009
It was a bittersweet experience for Andrew DeHart at the 2009 OHSAA State Wrestling Championships in Columbus, Ohio this weekend as the Covington sophomore finished fourth at 145 lbs.
“I’m sorta happy because I placed higher than last year,” said DeHart after dropping a 6-5 decision to three-time state placer Robbie Chilson (50-4) of Bellaire. “But my goal was to be on the top of the podium, so I’m not happy about that.”
But to finish fourth and to be a two-time state placer as a sophomore is a significant accomplishment, especially considering what he had to go through over the three-day event.
DeHart suffered from a stomach virus throughout the weekend and immediately ran to the bathroom following his final match.
“My stomach cramped up in the second period,” DeHart explained. “I’m not using that as an excuse, but I did everything I could.”
Chilson took a 2-0 lead with a first period takedown and extended the lead to 4-2 with a takedown in the second.
But DeHart turned the tables in the third period as he turned Chilson in a cradle for three back points and a 5-4 lead.
“Andrew really battled over here (at state),” said Covington coach Tom Barbee. “He had some stomach issues and he did the best he could to ignore it. He just sucked it up and went after it.”
Which wasn’t enough to capture third place with a victory as Chilson scored on a reversal in the final minute to steal the 6-5 win.
“We’re proud of him (DeHart),” Barbee said. “He wrestled as well as he could under the circumstances and that’s all you can ask. He just lost a couple of close matches where one or two things make the difference.”
The difference between watching or being in the finals – something DeHart still wants to accomplish in the future.
“My goal is to be on top the next two years (as a junior and senior),” he said. “You’ve got to work hard to get here, but work harder than everyone else to be on top. I’ve just got to outwork everyone.”
And find a way to avoid the bug.