Chase Vanderhorst defeated Division II State Runner-Up Hayden Hughes from Graham to advance to the championship match.

VANDALIA – The annual GMVWA Holiday Tournament provides the Covington Buccaneers an opportunity to find out just where they stand midway through the season with hopes of making it to state. The competition is extremely tough with all of the brackets filled with state caliber wrestlers from all divisions in high school wrestling.

Prior to the tournament things looked very bleak for Covington as some of the wrestlers were not able to complete due to illness. This led to only five Buccaneers making the trip, seniors Carson Taylor, Michael Hagan, Jericho Quinter and Chase Vanderhorst, along with sophomore Caleb Ryman.

Amazingly, with just five wrestlers, the Buccaneers were able to finish 17th out of 67 teams and seventh out of 33 teams in the small school division. The 83 team points accumulated was due to all five wrestlers competing very well and four of them placing in the top eight in each respective weight class.

Chase Vanderhorst put together an amazing performance after missing out on several tournaments to start the season due to an injury. Vanderhorst finished runner-up at 138 pounds in a weight class that was loaded with so many state level wrestlers. Chase won his first two matches via pin over Aaron Wells of Springfield (1:27) and over Trent Thompson of Tippecanoe (0:45). He followed with a 15-0 technical fall victory over Tanner Sampson of Brookville to advance to the semifinal against #2 seed Hayden Hughes of Graham, who is a returning state runner-up in Division II. In the semifinal match, Chase wrestled extremely well by staying technically sound against a very talented wrestler. Vanderhorst’s technique and discipline led to a 7-3 victory over Hughes and an opportunity in the championship match against Drew Gorman of Buford, who is a Virginia Tech wrestling commit. Vanderhorst came up short in the championship match against Gorman, but the loss didn’t diminish the overall performance of the Buccaneer senior who is hoping to become the fourth Covington wrestler to earn a third state medal.

Jericho Quinter placed fifth at 126 pounds in a loaded weight class. Quinter won his first three matches by defeating Kael Dodson of Lima Shawnee via 1:46 pin, pinning Christian Wilson of Carroll in 1:14 and then recording a 13-5 major decision victory over Yhantg Irwin of Vandalia-Butler. Irwin went on to finish fourth, which shows just how competitive this tournament is. Quinter dropped a bout to returning state placer Nathan Attisano of Legacy Christian, who went on to win the 126 pound weight class. Jericho then fell to Blaine Demarco of Graham, who finished third, and followed with a victory over Leroy Steagall of Indian Valley via forfeit to finish fifth.

Michael Hagan finished sixth at 132 pounds. He won his first two matches with an 8-1 decision against Evan Boulton of Springboro and a 1-0 victory over Cade O’Banion on Tecumseh. Hagan lost in the quarterfinals to returning state champion Dillon Campbell of Legacy Christian, who went on to win the 132 pound weight class. Michael battled his way back in the consolation rounds by pinning Zane Pickerrell (who placed seventh) of Zane Trace in 19 seconds and then defeating returning state qualifier Nolan Earles of Preble Shawnee 7-1. Hagan then fell to Kane Shawger of St. Xavier, who placed third. In his match for fifth place, Hagan came up short in a 5-3 overtime loss to Kaygen Roberts of Boyle County.

Carson Taylor finished seventh at 113 pounds by winning four of the six matches he wrestled. Taylor opened the tournament with a 57 second pin of Trystin Kennedy of Springfield and followed with a 17-1 technical fall victory over Tate Ditto of Lima Shawnee. He lost in the quarterfinal to D.J. Clarke of Buford, who eventually claimed first place in the weight class. Taylor rebounded with a 2:04 pin of Owen Koerner of St. Xavier, but lost a close 7-6 decision in the final seconds to Bronko Braun of Indian Valley, who placed fourth. Carson finished out the tournament with a 1:29 pin of Brennen East of Walton-Verona for seventh place.

Caleb Ryman, a sophomore, came up short of placing at 144 pounds, but his performance in yet another really tough weight class was extremely positive. Ryman lost a very close 2-0 decision against senior Brady Willman of Miamisburg (who placed fourth) in the opening round, but rebounded with a 2:33 pin of Asher Merritt of Troy and a 5-2 decision victory over Slayed Merriman of West Liberty-Salem. Unfortunately, Ryman came up short in another very close match in an 8-5 loss to Brayden Deem of Eaton.

Carson Taylor – 113 pounds
Carson Taylor (Covington) pin Trystin Kennedy (Springfield) – 0:57
Carson Taylor (Covington) tech. fall Tate Ditto (Lima Shawnee) – tf17-1
D.J. Clarke (Buford) tech. fall Carson Taylor (Covington) – tf23-8
Carson Taylor (Covington) pin Owen Koerner (St. Xavier) – 2:04
Bronko Braun (Indian Valley) dec. Carson Taylor (Covington) – 7-6
Carson Taylor (Covington) pin Brennen East (Walton-Verona) – 1:29

Jericho Quinter – 126 pounds
Jericho Quinter (Covington) pin Kael Dodson (Lima Shawnee) – 1:46
Jericho Quinter (Covington) pin Christian Wilson (Carroll) – 1:14
Jericho Quinter (Covington) maj. dec. Yhantg Irwin (Butler) – md13-5
Nathan Attisano (Legacy Christian) pin Jericho Quinter (Covington) – 3:18
Blaine Demarco (Graham Local) pin Jericho Quinter (Covington) – 4:20
Jericho Quinter (Covington) forfeit Leroy Steagall (Indian Valley) – Forfeit

Michael Hagan – 132 pounds
Michael Hagan (Covington) dec. Evan Boulton (Springboro) – 8-1
Michael Hagan (Covington) dec. Cade O’Banion (Tecumseh) – 1-0
Dillon Campbell (Legacy Christian) pin Michael Hagan (Covington) – 0:20
Michael Hagan (Covington) pin Zane Pickerrell (Zane Trace) – 0:19
Michael Hagan (Covington) dec. Nolan Earles (Preble Shawnee) – 7-1
Kane Shawger (St. Xavier) pin Michael Hagan (Covington) – 0:49
Kaygen Roberts (Boyle County) dec. Michael Hagan (Covington) – 5-3 OT

Chase Vanderhorst – 138 pounds
Chase Vanderhorst (Covington) pin Aaron Wells (Springfield) – 1:27
Chase Vanderhorst (Covington) pin Trent Thompson (Tippecanoe) – 0:45
Chase Vanderhorst (Covington) tech. fall Tanner Sampson (Brookville) – tf15-0
Chase Vanderhorst (Covington) dec. Hayden Hughes (Graham Local) – 7-3
Drew Gorman (Buford) tech. fall Chase Vanderhorst (Covington) – tf21-4

Caleb Ryman – 144 pounds
Brady Willman (Miamisburg) dec. Caleb Ryman (Covington) – 2-0
Caleb Ryman (Covington) pin Asher Merritt (Troy) – 2:33
Caleb Ryman (Covington) dec. Slayde Merriman (W. Liberty-Salem) – 5-2
Brayden Deem (Eaton) dec. Caleb Ryman (Covington) – 8-5

Dayton Christian Pools – Thursday, December 28, 2023
Covington competed in the Dayton Christian pools and came away with a number of victories. No team scores were kept at the event. Going 2-0 for the Buccs were Eddie Deaton (106 lbs, pin), Jonny Miller (120, pin), Diego Lopez (150, pin) and Jack Blumenstock (157). Also winning matches were Henry Skaggs (126, pin), Christian Clark (126), Landon Beeman (144, pin), Carter Dupuis (165, pin), Elijah Carnes (165, pin), Mason Epperson (175, pin) and AJ Reyes (190, pin).

Jericho Quinter locks up back points during the GMVWA Holiday Tournament where he finished 5th at 126 pounds.
Carson Taylor finished 7th at 113 pounds.
Michael Hagan gets a pin on his way to finishing 6th at 132 pounds.