MARCH 2, 2018 – TROY
Nine Buccaneer wrestlers made the trip to Troy’s Hobart Arena for the first night of district wrestling, but the day didn’t start out so well as one of the wrestlers saw his season come to an end without even stepping on the mat.
Freshman 160-pounder Duncan Cooper, who was runner-up last week at sectionals, was unfortunately not permitted to wrestle due to a skin condition that had materialized unexpectedly. He ends his freshman campaign with a very impressive 23-6 record and as a district qualifier.
This left the Buccaneers with eight wrestlers who were able to compete and all but one advanced to the second day with four reaching tomorrow’s championship semifinals.
The first Buccaneer to reach the championship semifinal match was freshman 106-pounder Kellan Anderson, who opened the tournament by gutting out an 11-9 win over Wilber Compress of Cincinnati Reading. Anderson then knocked off the champion from the Lehman Sectional, Luke Stroud of Mechanicsburg by the score of 4-0 in the quarterfinals. He will wrestle Caleb Schroder of Troy Christian in the semifinals tomorrow in a rematch from sectionals where Anderson came up short in overtime.
Fellow freshman Cael Vanderhorst was equally impressive as he pinned Bluffton’s Tayton Kleman in 1:53 in his district opener at 113 pounds and then defeated Jacob Edwards of Bidwell River Valley by the score of 3-0 to set up a semifinal matchup against Brian Chmielewski of Coldwater tomorrow.
At 152 pounds Buccaneer junior Keringten Martin reached tomorrow’s semifinal bout, where he will face Matt Hall of Bethel-Tate, who was the champion of last week’s Bluffton Sectional. Martin opened the tournament with an 18-3 technical fall victory over Eli Moore of Wayne Trace and then defeated Hayden Pummel of Indian Lake by the score of 7-2 in the quarterfinals. Pummel was the champion of the Lehman Sectional a week ago.
The final Buccaneer to earn a spot in tomorrow’s championship semifinal was Gage Kerrigan. The sophomore 195-pounder was dominate in his first two matches at districts as he pinned Matt Schmersal of Ottawa-Glandorf in 27 second and then pinned the Bluffton Sectional Champion, Nate Owens of Bethel-Tate in 2:29. Kerrigan will face the Lehman Sectional Champion, Zach Banks of Middletown Madison, in tomorrow’s semifinal match.
Three more Buccaneers advanced to the second day in the consolation bracket as sophomore Austin Flick rebounded from a heartbreaking 4-2 defeat to Colton Robins of Reading (the Bluffton Sectional Champ) by defeating Ethan Meyer of Parkway by the score of 6-4. Flick will wrestle Drew Price of Middletown Madison, who is the Lehman Sectional Champion.
Junior 182-pounder Gavin McReynolds also rebounded from an opening bout defeat as he pinned David Price of Clermont Northeastern after losing to Connor Dixon of Indians Lake, who was the sectional champ from the Lehman sectional. McReynolds will face Quincy Brown of Middletown Madison tomorrow in the consolation rounds.
The final Buccaneer to advance to the second day did it in thrilling fashion as senior Bryce Keiser rebounded from a loss to Coldwater’s Thomas Schweitertman to defeat David Parsons of Lincolnview 1-0. Keiser will face Jayden Hetsley of Arcanum (the Lehman Sectional Champ) tomorrow in the consolation rounds.
The lone Buccaneer to wrestle and not make it to the second day of the tournament was freshman 170-pounder Trentin Alexander – who weighed in just under 155 pounds. Despite giving up a significant amount of weight and being a freshman, Alexander wrestled very well against stiff competition. He ends his freshman season with a record of 19-14.
Wrestling resumes tomorrow morning at 10:00am with the consolation matches taking place before the championship semifinals.
MARCH 3, 2018 – TROY
Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst couldn’t have written a better script for his young Buccaneer wrestling team as four of his wrestlers advanced to next week’s state meet by placing in the top four in their respective weight classes at the district tournament in Troy.
“You know, when you look at the brackets and project this and that, it was a toss up as to whether we would get anybody out (to state),” Vanderhorst said. “But the kids wrestled unbelievably well over here (at Hobart Arena) and we were able to qualify four wrestlers to the state meet.”
The Southwest District is a meat grinder and if you are not on top of your game it usually leads to disappointment. Several state-ranked kids and returning state qualifiers failed to make it out, which made the accomplishments of the four Buccaneers who qualified that much more impressive.
“Oh yeah, this district is brutal,” Vanderhorst said. “In a lot of weight classes, if you make it out of here you have a great chance of placing at state.”
Arguably the toughest weight class at districts was at 106 pounds as six wrestlers came in highly ranked in the state.
This made for a tough road for Buccaneer freshman Kellan Anderson, but he was able to battle his way through Friday with two straight wins to earn a rematch of a sectional defeat to Caleb Schroer of Troy Christian in the semifinals. This time Anderson was up to the task as he dominated en route to a 10-2 major decision win to punch his ticket to the state tournament. Anderson then fell to Wyatt Riddle of East Clinton in the championship match.
Things were equally as tough at 113 pounds for freshman Cael Vanderhorst, who also opened up the first night of wrestling on Friday with two straight wins – the second being a huge win over Jacob Edwards of Bidwell River Valley. Vanderhorst opened Saturday’s competition with a come-from-behind pin of Coldwater’s Brian Chmielewski to secure his spot in Columbus next week. In his championship bout against Ethan Turner of Troy Christian, Vanderhorst came within a whisker of pulling out a victory in regulation on a reversal, but was forced to go into overtime where he came up just short 6-4 after losing to Turner 9-1 a week ago at sectionals.
Keringten Martin, who came up short of state a year ago in heartbreaking fashion, didn’t let the opportunity slip away this time as he placed fourth at 152 pounds. After dropping a very close 3-2 decision to eventual district champion Matt Hall of Bethel-Tate, Martin rebounded to score a 16-0 technical fall win over John Cline of East Clinton to secure his spot at the state meet.
The final Buccaneer wrestler to qualify for state was sophomore 195-pounder Gage Kerrigan, who had battled through injuries all season. Kerrigan opened the second day at districts with a narrow 9-7 defeat to Zach Banks of Middletown Madison, but rebounded quickly with a 2:29 pin of Matt Schmersal of Ottawa-Glandorf to earn a state birth. Kerrigan finished fourth as he dropped his final bout to Greenon’s Levi Morrison in a rematch of last week’s sectional final.
Three other Buccaneers saw their seasons end in the consolation rounds as sophomore 138 pounder Austin Flick finished his season with a 31-19 record, junior 182 pounder Gavin McReynolds finished with a 33-18 record and senior 285 pounder Bryce Keiser finished at 12-25 in what was a very exciting post-season run.
The four Buccaneers who advance will make the trip to Columbus next Thursday for the opening night of the state wrestling meet.