Ricky Stephan

The Covington Buccaneers celebrated the 50th year of Buccaneers wrestling with an impressive win over Piqua in front of a packed house in the home gymnasium.

Covington wrestling has a very rich tradition since the program started in 1973 as evident by the accomplishments printed on the back of the shirts to commemorate the 50th season of Buccaneer wrestling – 697 dual meet victories, 267 district qualifiers, 76 state qualifiers, 28 state places, 5 state finalists, and 3 state champions.

But there was one line printed on the back of the shirt that has the most meaning to anyone who stepped on the mat while wearing a Covington singlet – 1 WRESTLING FAMILY.

Current and former Buccaneer wrestlers, coaches and statisticians joined together to celebrate 50 years of Covington wrestling on Saturday.

The proof is the number of former Covington wrestlers, coaches and statisticians who traveled from all over to celebrate the 50 years of Buccaneer wrestling during a head-to-head dual against Piqua at Covington High School on Saturday – many family names who are generationally synonymous with Covington wrestling – names like Kimmel, Vanderhorst, Hall, Olson, Hagan, Sowers, and Barbee.

The success of Covington wrestling can be attributed to the culture and stability of the program established by the three coaches who have led the program the past fifty years – Jack Schwamberger, Tom Barbee and current coach Eric Vanderhorst. Unfortunately coach Jack Schwamberger, known simply as “Schwammy”, passed away last July. Fittingly, he was recognized with a moment of silence prior to the dual.

And what a great dual it was for the Buccaneers as they thrilled the large crowd with an impressive 57-15 victory over Piqua.

Luke Brown (150) started things off with a JV victory by pin over Connor Glenn. Carson Taylor (106) then kicked off the varsity dual with a pin over Piqua’s Avery Wiley, the first of five consecutive victories for the Buccs. Jericho Quinter (113) pinned Dylan Johnston, Brian Morrison (120) picked up a forfeit, Michael Hagan (126) pinned Brady Mikolajewski, and Chase Vanderhorst (132) pinned Gavin Nelson.

Max Kaye then started a string of three Piqua victories with a pin over Jackson Shiverdecker (138), followed by Dylan Varvel’s 12-6 decision over Aveyen Meek (144). Andru Hollopeter then won an exciting back-and-forth 11-9 decision over Caleb Miller (150).

Connor Sindelir (157) got the Buccs back on track with a pin over Jackson Lambert, followed by Piqua’s pin by Antonio Smith over A.J. Garman (165). After a double-forfeit at 175 lbs., Covington would win the final three bouts as Jensen Wagoner (190) pinned Landen Martin, while Ricky Stephan (215) picked up a forfeit.

Buccaneer senior Scott Blumenstock (285) then closed out the dual in style with a victory via pin over Parker James, a match that drew a large ovation from the Covington faithful.

Earlier in the week on Wednesday, Covington’s Jr. High team travelled to Piqua, and defeated the Indians, 45-30, in a competitive dual. Aubrey Bishop (86) fell to Piqua’s Kasen Hughes, before Henry Skaggs (92) earned a pin over Austin Curtis. Sam Helman (104) kept things going for the Buccs with a pin over Kaiser Clemons, before Caleb Ryman earned a 5-0 decision over Piqua’s Nickolai Kaye in the highlight match of the evening.

Elijah Carnes (128) then dropped an 11-4 decision to Troy Thompson, before Victor Michaels (142) fell to Destin Drewberry. Mason Epperson (150) pinned Joey Kline, Aiden Collins (160) dropped an 8-2 decision to Eli Watkins, and A.J. Reyes (285) fell to Kylan Hughes in a back-and-forth match. Covington’s Jonathan Miller (80), Landon Beeman (110), Trent Reynolds (122), Trentin Havenar (172) and Piqua’s Austin Koehl (134) picked up forfeits. In extra matches, Jonathan Miller (86) pinned Kasen Hughes, while Zaq Steele (110) pinned Kaiser Clemens.

Covington’s first state champion Logan Brown poses with his coaches Mike Stephan, Tom Barbee and Eric Vanderhorst.
Covington senior Scott Blumenstock capped the evening with a thrilling pin against Piqua on Saturday.
Senior Jensen Wagoner rises to his feet after recording a pin at 190 pounds on Saturday.
Buccaneer returning state placer Michael Hagan lifts and returns his opponent to the mat on his way to a victory.