Elijah Carnes locks up a pin against Piqua on Tuesday. ©Ben Robinson//Color Green Photo

PIQUA – In a dual that could have gone either way, the Covington Buccaneers managed to capture the wins they needed to defeat the Piqua Indians 45-34 in a great environment for wrestling at the historic Roosevelt Field House in Piqua.

“It was a great atmosphere and it was a good match between two good teams.,” said Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst.

The victory over Piqua wasn’t easy, but many of the young wrestlers on the Buccaneer roster showed grit and determination by winning critical matchups that ultimately made a difference between winning and losing as a team.

Mason Epperson (157) got things started for the Buccs with a pin over Elijah Watkins. That and a forfeit received by Aaron Jackson (165) gave Covington a 12-0 lead.  Piqua came storming back to take a 21-12 lead with an 8-7 back-and-forth victory by Connor Glenn over Aiden Collins (175), and consecutive pins by Bracket Osborne over A.J. Garman (190), Landen Martin over Zeb Woodward-Roeth (215) and former Buccaneer, Hayden Barker over A.J. Reyes (285).

The momentum changed when the dual went into the lighter weights.

The teams split the next two matches as Covington’s Carson Taylor (106) pinned Averi Wiley, and Piqua’s Logan Wells pinned Brian Morrison (113).  Piqua led at this point, 27-18.

Covington took back the lead, 36-27, with a 12-4 major decision by Michael Hagan (120) over Nikolai Kaye, a pin by Jericho Quinter (126) over Brady Mikolajewski, and a pin by Chase Vanderhorst (132) over Gavin Nelson, before Piqua cut the Buccs’ lead, 36-34, with a Max Kaye pin over Tyler Basye (138).

Caleb Ryman (144) and Aveyen Meek (150) then sealed the victory for the Buccs with consecutive victories over Jackson Lambert by pin, and James Hess by 20-4 technical fall.

“They had the momentum and I said, ‘It is time for us to change the momentum’,” Vanderhorst explained. “Our lightweights are definitely our strength. We had some young kids wrestling and they did a good job.”

Piqua gave the Buccaneers all they could handle and then some, which pleased coach Hunter Bryant.

“We wrestled Covington at their 50th anniversary a year ago and they beat us 57-15,” Bryant said. “That was probably one of my low points as a coach. I couldn’t be prouder of my kids tonight. They went out there and battled. Averi (Wiley) was wrestling one of the top guys at 106 (Carson Taylor) and she went out there and battled him. They all did. Covington has been one of the top teams around forever. This was a good match for both teams.”

In JV action, Piqua’s Alex Holt won by pin over Lane Jay (138), before later losing by pin to Covington’s Elijah Carnes (144).

Isaiah Mumford gets a pin in Junior High action. ©Ben Robinson//Color Green Photo

The Jr. High teams battled to an equally close dual, as Covington defeated Piqua, 48-42.  Winning by pin for Covington were Brody Taylor (80), Isaiah Mumford (92), Jonny Miller (104), Liam Geeding (110), Henry Skaggs (116), Landon Beeman (128), Trent Reynolds (134) and Lucas Lester (160).  Winning by pin for Piqua were Seth Holt (122) and Carter (142).  Piqua also picked up forfeits at 150, 172, 205 and 245 lbs., but names were not available.

Freshman Mason Epperson started the Buccs off with a pin at 157 pounds. ©Ben Robinson//Color Green Photo
Aveyen Meek locks up back points to seal a dual victory over Piqua. ©Ben Robinson//Color Green Photo