Ben Miller works for points in his championship match against Blake Lawson of Tri-County North.

Friday, February 27, 2015
The Division 3 Sectional at Lehman High School is widely considered the toughest sectional in the state of Ohio – and for good reason as each weight class fields a brutal field of state caliber wrestlers.

Plus, with teams like Mechanicsburg, Troy Christian and Covington expected to finish high in the team standings at state – not to overlook the likes of two very talented youthful teams like Versailles and Miami East – this sectional is a tough as it gets across the state in any division.

Despite the brutal competition, the fact that Covington is sitting in fifth place out of the 15 participating schools isn’t where the Buccs want to be heading into the second day of the tournament. The reason for Covington’s spot in team points after the first day was some close losses and the fact a returning state alternate couldn’t make weight.

Still, there is plenty of wrestling left and six Buccaneer wrestlers advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round and six more moved on in the consolation bracket.

Those advancing in the championship semifinals are Jared Ford (113), returning state champ Jarred Ganger (132), returning state placer Ryan Ford (138), Lance Miller (152), Gage Dehart (160) and returning state placer Ben Miller (182).

Of the six wrestlers advancing to the semis, freshman Gage Dehart had the most impressive first day captured an impressive win over Jonathon Moorman of Versailles in the quarterfinals.

Ben Miller, Jarred Ganger and Lance Miller all earned pins in their quarterfinal victories, while Ryan Ford cruised to a technical fall win.

The six Buccaneers in the consolation rounds will have to battle to get out to districts, something Covington wrestlers have been great at doing in the past.

Seth Thomas, a first-year wrestler at 220, had a back-and-fourth match against Miami East’s Daniel Everett, but fell short in the fourth period. Still, Thomas has raised some eyebrows this season with the way he has been able to overcome his lack of experience. A strong second day could get the sophomore to districts in what is a very tough weight class.

Deron White also dropped a back-and-forth match, his coming against returning district qualifier Cory Dieringer of Versailles. White was within a takedown of tying the match in the third period, but had to take a chance due to the time on the clock – a chance Dieringer converted into points for himself.

Brandon Magee was the third Covington wrestler to drop a tough match as he was deadlocked with Lehman’s Skyler Brown at 4-4 heading into the third period. Unfortunately for Magee, a scramble on a takedown attempt didn’t turn out in his favor and Brown eventually pulled away for the 11-4 win.

Coleman Ryan (120), Bo Swank (195) and Carl Lankford (285) found the going rough against premier wrestlers in their respective weight classes – each losing via pin in the quarterfinals.

In all, it was an up-and-down day for the Buccs – making every match on Saturday that much more important for team points.

Seth Thomas looks for a pin.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
After winning a sectional team title and sending 13 wrestlers to the district tournament a year ago, the Covington Buccaneers had high expectations for a big weekend once again at the Division 3 Sectional at Lehman High School.

But nothing is guaranteed in a tournament loaded with talented wrestlers up and down each weight class and the field of teams consisting of traditional powerhouses Mechanicsburg, Versailles, Miami East, Troy Christian and others.

And after two days of wrestling, Covington had many highs and unfortunate lows, finishing fourth in the teams standings and qualifying six wrestlers to the district meet next weekend at Troy’s Hobart Arena.

Three Buccaneer wrestlers earned sectional championships, one finishing as runner-up, one taking third and another finishing fourth.

Jarred Ganger was the first Buccaneer to take home an individual title as he dominated Springfield Catholic Central’s Jake Gutierrez with a 20-5 tech. fall win in the 132 pound finals. Ganger advanced to to the finals will a 17-2 tech. fall win over Andrew Harmon of Miami East.

The second Buccaneer to claim a championship was Ryan Ford at 138 pounds. Ford was able to record a huge takedown in the early moments of overtime to claim a 3-1 victory in his championship bout. The Buccaneer junior advanced to the finals with an 11-3 major decision over Corey Bogan of Mechanicsburg.

Ben Miller found himself in a tough battle in his championship match at 182 pounds, but was able to hold off a gritty effort by Tri-County North’s Blake Lawson to record the 3-2 win. Miller’s semifinal bout was also tough, but the Buccaneer senior managed to stick Troy Christian’s Levi Sims in 5:13.

Buccaneer sophomore Lance Miller had an outstanding tournament to finish runner-up at 152 pounds. Miller wrestled very well in his championship bout against defending state champion Kaleb Romero of Mechanicsburg, but ultimately dropped a 14-5 major decision. In reaching the finals, Miller recorded a 17-2 tech. fall victory over Jacob Rismiller of Versailles.

Freshman Jared Ford punched his ticket to the district meet at 113 pounds by winning his consolation final match via pin in 1:59 over Kyle Collins of Arcanum. Ford advanced to the championship semifinals before being forced to the consolation round with a 13-5 major decision loss to Tyler Wetzel of Mechanicsburg.

Another Buccaneer freshman to punch his ticket to districts was Gage Dehart at 160 pounds. Dehart dropped his semifinal bout by the score of 4-3 to Triad’s Jacob Thompson, who entered the tournament as the top seeded wrestler. He then rebounded in the consolation semifinal with a 7-4 win over Jake Earhart of Lehman Catholic, ensuring himself a district birth. Dehart dropped his final match in the consolation final to Logan Hartman of Mechanicsburg by the score of 6-0.

Two Covington wrestlers placed fifth to earn district alternate status, which makes them eligible to participate next week if one of the four wrestlers who finished ahead of them can’t compete next week for any reason. The first wrestler to take fifth for the Buccs was junior 120 pounder Coleman Ryan as he defeated Kyle Wuebker of Versailles. Deron White also finished fifth, beating Matthew Duncan of Tri-County North via pin in 1:36.

Brandon Magee was the final Buccaneer wrestler on the podium as he placed sixth at 170 pounds – a weight class that was arguably the toughest in the entire tournament.

Also seeing their seasons end were Connor Ryan (106), Bo Swank (195), Seth Thomas (220) and Carl Lankford (285).

Mechanicsburg won the team title with 217.5 points, while Troy Christian took runner-up with 203 points and Miami East placed third with 163 points. Covington ended up in fourth with 150.5 team points, just ahead of Versailles, who had 150 points.

Lance Miller conrols his opponent from the top position.