2016-17 COVINGTON BUCCANEERS
Covington is coming off another great season which included the third best tournament record in school history (173-17). The Buccs also continued their streak of 20-plus dual wins to 8 consecutive years, finishing with a 25-3 record, and advancing to the dual meet Regional Semifinals. Covington claimed its 14th straight unofficial Cross-County Conference title and their second-highest finish at the 55-team Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association tournament, taking sixth overall.
The team placed 3rd out of 21 teams at Sectionals, with 8 district qualifers, and 7th out of 63 teams at Districts, qualifying two wrestlers to State – Ryan Ford and Brandon Magee. At State, Ryan Ford took fourth to become Covington’s 2nd three-time state placer. The Buccs have now had at least one state placer in eleven of the past twelve seasons.
The Buccs lost four outstanding wrestlers to graduation – three-time state placer Ryan Ford, state qualifier Brandon Magee, state alternate Connor Ryan and district qualifier Coleman Ryan, but return a number of talented wrestlers.
Covington will be led by seniors Ross Bowman, Luke Grieshop, Carl Lankford, Lance Miller, Josh Sowers and Deron White. Miller is a returning state qualifier while Sowers and White are returning district qualifiers. The junior class includes Kyle Barga, Bryce Keiser and Joey Schmelzer.
The sophomore class includes Parker Dysinger, Keringten Martin, Gavin McReynolds, Riley Richards, Ian Wilson and Dolan Young. Rounding out the roster are freshmen Austin Flick, Seth Iddings, Parker Lucas, Fletcher Metz and Dylan Staudt.
Covington looks forward to competing with the mix of Division 1, 2 and 3 teams that are on their schedule. The Buccs return to two prestigious mega-tournaments: the 52-team GMVWA Holiday tournament and the 38-team Lima Central Catholic (LCC) Invitational. They will also compete in the Northeastern, Versailles and Troy Invitationals. Covington will once again square off with some of the top dual-meet teams in the western part of the state, including Versailles, Eaton, Miami East and Coldwater. Additionally, the JV team will travel to some very competitive reserve meets including Versailles, Ben Logan, Sidney and Vandalia-Butler.
Covington has two home duals and will once again host the Covington Duals tournament – which includes their Cross County Conference rivals, along with Lehman. The Buccs will compete again in the OHSAA team dual meet tournament and then travel to Lehman for the Division 3 sectional tournament – whose participants have proven to be among the most successful among all divisions in Ohio at the state tournament over the past several years.
LANCE MILLER FINISHES SECOND AT STATE
Covington senior Lance Miller became the fourth wrestler in Buccaneer history (Logon Brown, Andrew DeHart and Jarred Ganger) to reach the state finals as he took second at state in the 160 pound weight class. Miller’s effort at state was even more special because it gave long-time coach Tom Barbee the opportunity to coach the final match of his career on the biggest stage of high school wrestling – the state finals.
TOM BARBEE: A SPECIAL MAN
Saturday night was a fitting conclusion to the unbelievable high school coaching career that has spanned from 1975 to 2017 for Tom Barbee – 28 of those years as the head wrestling coach at Covington High School. So to see Buccaneer senior Lance Miller wrestle the tournament of his life at the 2017 state meet and ultimately reward Coach Barbee the opportunity of coaching his final match on the biggest stage (the state finals) – the script couldn’t have been written any better. The thought probably never entered Miller’s mind throughout the state tournament, but he was wrestling for a cause so much greater than attempting to win a state championship.
A TRIBUTE TO TOM KIMMEL
Tom Kimmel, who passed away on March 1, 2017, was instrumental in helping establish a strong tradition of success for Buccaneer wrestling. In the 1970s and early 80’s Tom Kimmel, spearheaded the Covington Jaycees wrestling program where he would haul Covington wrestlers of all ages around the state and beyond to gain valuable wrestling experience during the off-season. It was the first feeder program for the high school program, which took off dramatically in the late ’70s and early ’80s with 12 state qualifiers and 2 state placers, Craig Vanderhorst and Jason Kingrey. Among the two state qualifiers were two of Tom’s nephews, Randy (’78 and ’79) and Rodney Kimmel (1985).