Jake Sowers celebrates after securing a spot in the state tournament.

After the first day of the Division 3 District wrestling tournament at Kettering Fairmont’s Trent Arena, Covington is tied for 2nd place out of 52 teams with 50.5 points. The Buccs return ten of their eleven wrestlers to the second day as they advanced three wrestlers to the semifinal round, while another seven are still alive in the consolation rounds.

The Buccs had a strong opening round as nine of eleven wrestlers won their opening bouts. Ryan Ford (126), A.J. Ouellette (182) and Brian Olson (195) also won their quarterfinal matches to move into the semifinal round.

Ford defeated Kalob Tuck of Waynesville, 12-3, then followed with a 19-8 major decision over Jordan Obringer of Coldwater. He faces Andrew Hoskins of Greeneview in the semifinals.

Ouellette opened with a pin over Coldwater’s Nick Clune before earning an impressive 4-2 victory over sectional champ Kalub Jones of Purcell Marian. He will face Greeneview’s Armani Robinson in the semifinals.

Olson had an impressive start to the tournament with a pin over Badin’s Mike Sanders and a 21-6 technical fall over Lucas Shumate of Spencerville. In the semifinals, he will face Marcus Smith of Carlisle.

Connor Ryan (106) had a great start by upsetting sectional champion Kendal Johnson of Williamsburg in overtime, 5-3. He then dropped a 9-4 decision to Coldwater’s Jay Uhlenhake.

Daniel Jennings (145) earned a 10-4 decision over Dylan Huston of Blanchester before dropping his next bout to Dixie’s Matt Buxton, 11-3.

Jake Sowers (152) pinned Jonn Carr of Dayton Christian then dropped a 23-8 technical fall to Bluffton’s Zach Wilson.

Kyler Deeter (160) opened with a pin over Austin Windle of Ada before dropping a tight 2-1 decision to Carlisle’s Jimmy Sandlin.

Ben Miller (170) pinned Connar Wilson of North College Hill before dropping a 7-3 decision to Will Buettner of Delphos St. John’s.

Justin Daniel (220) opened with a pin over Nick Gelhaus of Madeira before falling to Lima Bath’s Kyle Lhamon.

Brock Smith (138) dropped his first bout, 5-3, to Riley Henderson of Mariemont, before rebounding with an 11-2 major decision over Brandon Moore of Dayton Christian.

Jordan Wolfe (285) dropped his two bouts to Ryan Fessler of Middletown Fenwick and Alex Shaffer of Columbus Grove. Jordan finishes his junior season with a 23-14 overall record.

Wrestling resumes Sunday at 10 am.

It was a bittersweet day for the Covington wrestling team at the DIII District Wrestling Championships at Kettering Fairmont High School on Saturday.

That’s because the Buccs had an up-and-down afternoon on the mat despite finishing third place in the team standings with 110.5 points.

First, Covington received outstanding performances from Daniel Jennings (145 lbs.), Jake Sowers (152 lbs.) and A.J. Ouellette (182 lbs.), who all three qualified for the state meet with top four finishes.

What was disheartening for the Buccaneers was the narrow losses by freshman Ryan Ford (126 lbs.), senior Kyler Deeter (160 lbs.), junior Ben Miller (170 lbs.) and senior Brian Olson (195 lbs.) that narrowly kept the Buccs from potentially having a school record seven state qualifiers.

Still, the consolation for the Buccs is that all four of those wrestlers will get to go to state as alternates after finishing fifth in their respective weight classes.

For the state qualifiers, Daniel Jennings rebounded from a loss to Matt Buxton of Dixie in the championship semifinals to pin Jake Tremoulis of Lima Central Catholic in 1:59. He then defeated Johnny Dean of Northwestern 13-7 to stamp his ticket to the state tournament.

Unfortunately, Jennings had to medical forfeit in the consolation final and settled for fourth place at 145 pounds.

For Jake Sowers, the fact that he was able to compete in the district championships was nothing short of amazing.

That’s because the Buccaneer senior 152 pounder was laid up in bed for four days with the flu and probably wouldn’t have been able to compete if the tournament hadn’t been delayed one day due to inclement weather.

Sowers gutted it out with a victory on Saturday to at least advance to the Sunday’s action and then took advantage of his improving health by wrestling the three matches of his life to get to state.

First, Sowers upended Shane Jeffers of Waynesville by pin in 1:51 and then shocked returning state qualifier Cole Vencill of Dixie with a 9-0 major decision victory. Not to be denied after finishing fifth at district a year ago, Sowers beat another returning state qualifier, Josh Lyttle of Northridge by the score of 7-3 to earn his much-deserved birth at state.

To make it that much sweeter, Sowers and Jennings became the second and third Covington wrestlers to join their fathers as state qualifiers as Randy Sowers qualified in 1989 and Daniel Jennings father, Mike Hagen qualified in 1986.

The path to the state meet for junior A.J. Ouellette was as brutal as any in recent memory for a Covington wrestler as he had to face three of the four sectional champions in his bracket to get out.

And Ouellette was up to the challenge as he shocked Purcell Marion’s Kalub Jones (36-3) by the score of 4-2 in the championship quarterfinals.

Ouellette then dropped his semifinal bout to Armani Robinson of Greenview, who finished second at state a year ago.

The Buccaneer junior rebounded in grand fashion by avenging a defeat from earlier in the year to Brookville’s Dylan Williams. This time Ouellette claimed a 4-1 victory to qualify for state.

He then topped off his impressive afternoon by shocking Bluffton’s Josiah Conley, the sectional champion from Lima, by the score of 8-1 in the consolation final.

Also competing into the second day of the tournament was freshman Connor Ryan (106 lbs.), junior Justin Daniel (220 lbs.) and senior Brock Smith (138 lbs.).

The three Buccaneer state qualifiers and four state alternates head to Columbus on Thursday for the 2013 State Wrestling Championships at the Schottenstein Center.

A.J. Ouellette – 3rd at 182 lbs.
Jake Sowers – 4th at 152 lbs.
D.J. Jennings – 4th at 145 lbs.

Brian Olson – 5th at 195 lbs.
Ben Miller – 5th at 170 lbs.
Kyler Deeter – 5th at 60 lbs.
Ryan Ford – 5th at 126 lbs.

Daniel Jennings turns his opponent for back points on his way to securing a sport at state.
A.J. Ouellette qualified for state at 182 pounds.