Andrew DeHart and Kyler Deeter had a memorable weekend as both wrestlers earned state medals over the weekend. DeHart made history by becoming the first Buccaneer wrestler to qualify and place at state four times, while Deeter became the second youngest wrestler to earn a state medal. Here is a recap of the entire state experience for DeHart and Deeter.
DAY ONE: SESSION 1 – MARCH 3, 2011
It was a short day for the two Covington wrestlers at the 2011 State Wrestling Championships – SHORT, BUT GREAT – as sophomore 130 pounder Kyler Deeter and senior 145 pounder Andrew Dehart opened the tournament with impressive wins.
Deeter (42-5) shocked West Jefferson’s Tyler Reichle (48-4), the champion from Coshocton District, with a pin 14 second into the third period.
“It was important for him (Deeter) to win this first match,” said Covington coach Tom Barbee. “I’ve had a lot of wrestlers over the years come over here and lose their first match and it’s so difficult to get them refocused and ready to wrestle their next match. For Kyler to get this first one out of the way is big.”
Reichle took a 2-0 lead in the first period, Deeter battled back to cut the deficit to 4-3 to start the third period from the bottom. Reichle attempted to roll Deeter to his back, but the Buccaneer sophomore caught Reichle’s leg and turned him for the thrilling pin.
“I could feel him (Reichle) getting high,” Deeter explained. “I was able to switch and get the pin. It was the same thing that happened to me at districts last week.”
Deeter was thrilled with the win, especially considering it came on a big stage against a quality opponent.
“That kid was good,” Deeter continued. “He was a strong wrestler and I was nervous. It was an unbelievable feeling walking out there and getting this win makes it even better.”
The victory sets up a quarterfinal bout with Alec Jacober (26-2) of Beachwood tomorrow morning. Jacober recorded a 10-1 victory in his opening bout against Logan Reickert of Sandusky St. Mary Catholic Central.
Andrew Dehart (49-1) joins Deeter in the quarterfinal by disposing of Tyler Topp (36-7) of West Salem Northwestern by an 18-2 technical fall early in the third period.
“It is always good to get the first match out of the way,” Dehart said. “You want to get things going and then get off the mat as soon as possible. He gave me a couple of openings and I was able to hit my moves.”
Dehart, who is looking to become Covington’s first four-time state placer and just the second Buccaneer wrestler to earn a state championship, showed he’s on a mission by dominating the match throughout.
“Andrew is an aggressive wrestler,” said Barbee. “Both guys were moving, so that worked to our advantage because of the way Andrew gets after it.”
The Buccaneer senior looks to keep the momentum rolling tomorrow morning in the quarterfinals where he will face Mason Gulash (38-4) of Shadyside.
Which means Barbee and his two pupils will enjoy the rest of the evening and look forward to tomorrow.
“We’ll just head back to the hotel and relax,” Barbee smiled.
Because a short night’s work is complete.
DAY TWO: SESSION 2
History has been made at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus as Kyler Deeter and Andrew Dehart both secured spots on the podium with victories in their quarterfinal matches. It is the first time since 1984 when Craig Vanderhorst placed third and Jason Kingrey took fourth that two Covington wrestlers placed at state in the same season.
“It’s pretty sweet,” said Dehart after he dominated Mason Gulash of Shadyside with a pin in 52 seconds. “I mostly happy for Kyler. It fires me up to see him win.”
Dehart had a close eye on Deeter’s match as it took place while he was warming up for his quarterfinal bout.
And Deeter continued his amazing run by recording a reversal in the final five seconds to upset Alec Jacober of Beachwood, 3-2. Jacober was projected to reach the finals.
“It was all grit on Kyler’s part,” said assistant coach Eric Vanderhorst of Deeter’s second big win of the tournament. “Five times he got to his feet and the fifth time was a charm. It took him five times to get the reversal. That’s pure grit.”
Deeter fought off a first period takedown attempt and several attempted tilts by Jacober in the second period and only trailed 2-1 heading into the final frame.
Starting from the bottom, Deeter was relentless in trying to get away.
“All I was thinking about was giving my all,” Deeter explained. “He was so strong, but I just kept going and wouldn’t stop. That’s all I did.”
And it worked as Deeter scrambled his way to the winning reversal with five seconds left on the clock and then road out Jacober for the thrilling win.
“It feels good (to move on),” said Deeter. “To join Andrew on the podium is sweet. Now it’s about moving up the podium.”
Immediately after Deeter’s match, he headed to the other side of the arena to watch Dehart dominate his quarterfinal match against Mason Gulash of Shadyside.
And the Buccaneer senior and first four-time state placer took control of the match from the outset, recording a takedown and then locking up a cradle for back points.
After securing the points, Dehart reset and buried a brutal half that turned Gulash straight to his back for the first period pin.
“I was so pumped,” said Dehart. “Watching Kyler do so well pumped me up and made me want to go hard.”
Dehart, who is two matches away from becoming just the second Covington wrestler to finish at the top of the podium, is oozing confidence.
“I can feel it,” Dehart said. “I don’t want to sound cocky, but I feel like its my time. I’m wrestling well and my body feels good. The guy I face next I was projected to see in the finals, so I’ll have to wrestle my best.”
Their best is what has gotten both Dehart and Deeter this far. And seeing his pupils succeed is something Covington coach Tom Barbee never gets tired of.
“Not at all,” said Barbee in regards to if he ever gets tired of bringing kids to state and seeing them succeed. “It gives me grey hairs, but it’s a lot of fun.”
And the fact that his kids are wrestling so well reflects highly on the program.
“Andrew and Kyler are here because of the kids back home,” Barbee said. “All those kids who pushed these guys every day in the room is why they are here.”
Dehart immediately agreed.
“Absolutely,” he emphasized. “Were wrestling for our teammates too.”
Wrestling continues later today in the semifinals as Dehart, now 50-1 on the season, will face Dan Orrill (43-2) of Bedford St. Peter Chanel, and Deeter (43-5) will battle Alex Carroll (35-14) of Galion Northmore.
DAY TWO: SESSION 3
The dream of joining Logan Brown as only the second state champion from Covington High School came to a stunning end for senior Andrew Dehart (50-2) with a 3-1 defeat to Dan Orrill (44-2) in the semifinal on Friday at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
“I didn’t wrestle my match,” said a dejected Dehart. “I didn’t push the action like I should have and let him wrestle his match.”
The first period was full of fireworks as Dehart and Orrill put together a scramble that drew awes from the crowd. But neither wrestler could gain the upper hand as the match went into the second period with the score at 0-0.
Orrill chosen down in the second period, recorded an escape and then concluded the frame with a critical takedown on another scramble to claim a 3-0 lead into the third period.
Dehart cut into the deficit with an escape early in the final frame, but couldn’t close the gap with a match-tying takedown as Orrill defended each shot attempt by the Buccaneer wrestler until the clock ran out.
Also seeing his dream of a chance at a state championship end for the time being was sophomore Kyler Deeter, who dropped a heartbreaking 8-6 semifinal match to Alex Carroll of Galion Northmore.
Carroll recorded a takedown in the first period to take a 2-0 lead, but Deeter battled back to claim a 6-4 lead with a reversal in the third period.
The score remained at 6-4 with Deeter in control until Carroll recorded a reversal and two back points with 14 seconds left in the match.
“I messed up,” Deeter said in regards to surrendering the deciding reversal and back points. “I should have just let him go. I was tripping and tried something stupid that I should never have tried.”
Both Deeter and Dehart have a night’s sleep to regroup before returning on Saturday in the consolation bracket.
“We’ve got to refocus and get ready for tomorrow,” Covington coach Tom Barbee said. “We’re down one peg than what the goal was. But, I’m still proud of them both. They were battling in both matches.”
DAY THREE: SESSION 4
After suffering stunning defeats in the championship semifinals last night, Covington senior Andrew Dehart and sophomore Kyler Deeter had little time to regroup before battling in the consolation semis this morning.
But both Covington wrestlers used last night’s misfortune as fuel and responded with dominating wins to advance to the consolation final for a chance at third place.
Deeter took to the mat first against Alex Nedved of Clinton-Massie, the same wrestler who defeated him 6-5 just one week earlier at the district meet.
This time the Covington wrestler took it to Nedved, recording a takedown in the first period. Nedved turned the tables at the end of the period with a reversal to tie the score 2-2.
Nedved, who used the strategy of keeping the match on their feet in the district meet, chose down to start the second frame.
And Deeter went to work, locking Nedved up in a cradle for three back points and then resetting – only to bury a powerful half for three more back points and an 8-2 lead.
Knowing he had a golden opportunity to end the match. Deeter patiently repositioned his half and stuck his opponent midway through the second frame.
Dehart followed Deeter’s impressive performance with an equally dominating effort against Johnny Carpenter of Madeira. It was a rematch fom their district final match at Dehart won 4-0 in a competitive contest.
The match wasn’t even close this time around as Dehart recorded a takedown early and wore out his opponent to take a 2-0 lead into the second period.
Dehart won the choice and chose down in the second frame. Carpenter immediately elected to surrender the escape point by letting the Covington wrestler back to his feet to make the score 3-0.
And Dehart took advantage with another takedown and three back points for an 8-0 lead heading into the third and deciding period.
One last takedown by Dehart sealed the deal as Covington’s only four-time state placer cruised to the 10-0 win.
DAY THREE: CONSOLATION FINAL
For the first time since 1984, the Covington Buccaneers have two state placers in the same season as senior Andrew Dehart and sophomore Kyler Deeter duplicated the efforts of Craig Vanderhorst and Jason Kingrey with third and fourth place finishes.
Dehart, who ends his senior campaign with 52-2 record, went out in style with a 5-0 victory in his consolation final match against Lucas Cummings (47-5) of Cardington-Lincoln.
The Buccaneer senior scored all five points in the second period with a reversal and three back points and cruised to the win.
It capped an amazing high school career in which Dehart placed all four years, earning 6th, 4th, 2nd and now 3rd place.
“It feels great,” said Dehart in regards top being Covington’s only four-time state placer. “It’s a big accomplishment that not many people can do.”
Dehart was hoping to become just the second wrestler in school history to finish on the top of the podium, but knows his disappointment in falling short of accomplishing that goal will subside in time.
“I’m disappointed now, but I guess when I’m older I’ll look back on what I did and be happy,” Dehart said.
Deeter has witnessed Dehart’s success first hand in the wrestling room and during the extra time drilling under the watchful eye of Andrew’s dad, Mike Dehart. The lessons learned elevated him to a fourth place finish in his first trip to state.
“I’ve watched Andrew since we were little kids in youth wrestling and all those times in Mike’s garage,” Deeter said. “It’s helped me understand how hard you have to work to get here (to state).”
The work Deeter has put in since the third grade has paid off as he placed in state at the junior high level and now owns a fourth place medal as a sophomore.
“It’s more than I expected coming in,” said Deeter. “I wasn’t even suppose to be here and I got in (by finishing fourth at districts). Once I got in I wasn’t suppose to place and I did.”
Still, Deeter isn’t satisfied because he knows he was 18 seconds from reaching the finals and then dropped his final bout to Alec Jacober of Beechwood 12-3. Deeter had previously beaten Jacober 3-2 in the championship quarterfinals.
“I’m not satisfied at all (with placing fourth),” Deeter said. “I know I was so close to making it to the finals, but I made a stupid mistake.”
Deeter also knows what he has to work on in order to improve his chances of placing higher at state next year.
“I have to get better on my feet,” he said. “It takes more camps, more time at Dehart’s and more time in the wrestling room. I’m determined to get back here and do better.”
Deeter is on the same path Dehart was on as a young high school wrestler, looking to improve on his weaknesses. That work cemented Dehart’s legend as one of the top wrestlers in Covington history – wrestlers he grew up admiring.
“I use to love watching Mike Stephen,” Dehart smiled. “He was my favorite because I just liked how he wrestled.”
Dehart also knows other Covington kids look up to him and he hopes he left a good impression on them.
“I hope that kids think I set a good example,” he continued. “Hopefully they’ll see my name on the board (in the wrestling room) and think I was pretty good. But mostly I want them to think I was a good guy, not just look at what I accomplished.”
Dehart has left an impression on one man in particular, his coach Tom Barbee.
“Andrew is one of those kids that put in the time,” Barbee said with pride. “Not only did he do it in practice, he did the extra stuff like getting in the weight room, participating in camps and competing in open tournaments. That’s what it takes to become the wrestler he has become.”
And Deeter is well on his way to establishing his own legacy.
“I think he can achieve a lot by the time he’s done,” said Barbee. “He has to step up as a leader now. Like Andrew, he has to lead by example.”
Because Covington has a chance to send multiple wrestlers to state in years to come.
“I think so,” said Deeter. “Next year a lot of us will be juniors and we’ve been wrestling together since youth. We have to work harder, do the extra stuff to make us better.”
“It’s going to take getting out there in the summer, going to camps and getting in the weight room,” he said. “Doing the extra things in the off-season is what it takes to get here (to state) and do what these guys have done.”
Dehart and Deeter have done those things and have been rewarded with state medals around their necks.