BUCCANEER STATE QUALIFIERS
The first Covington wrestler to qualify for the State Tournament was Randy Kimmel (155 lbs.) in 1978. Randy duplicated that feat in 1979 and since then several more wrestlers added to the tradition that Kimmel started.
Nine out of ten years in the ’80s saw at least one Covington wrester go to State. The only year in the decade that the Buccs failed to send a wrestler to State was in 1988.
Kirk Tisdale (145 lbs.) earned a trip to State after capturing the District Championship in 1980. In 1981, Brad Hall (105 lbs.) and Don Emenegger (132 lbs.) became the first two Covington wrestlers to wrestle at State in the same year. Hall moved up to 112 lbs in 1982 and qualified for State for a second year in a row.
In 1983 and ’84, Craig Vanderhorst (138 and 145 lbs.) and Jason Kingrey (167 lbs.) made back-to-back State trips for the Buccs. Vanderhorst placed 3rd at State in both ’83 and ’84 while Kingrey placed 4th in 1983. Jim Shields (105 lbs.) also represented Covington at State in 1984.
After Rodney Kimmel (132 lbs.) was a lone representative in 1985 and four wrestlers made the trip in 1986. Keith Musgrave (98 lbs.), Mike Hagen (155 lbs.), Scott Tayler (167 lbs.) and Brian Olson (185 lbs.) all earned trips to State. Olson (185 lbs.) and Tayler (175 lbs.) made repeat trips in 1987 and they were joined by Chris Nutter (119 lbs.). The final wrestler in the decade to go to State was Randy Sowers (160 lbs.) in 1989.
The Buccs failed to send a werstler to state in 1990, but Eric Vanderhorst made back-to back trips in ’91 and ’92 at 171 lbs. and 189 lbs. Brad Crumpler wrestled at State in 1993 at 103 lbs and Eric Hunt earned trips in ’94 and ’96 at 145 lbs. Todd Vanderhorst represented the Buccs at 189 lbs. in 1995 while Noah Turner (152 lbs. in 1997), Brian Swinehart (135 lbs. in 1998) and Scott Batdorf (145 lbs. in 1999) made the trip as well.
Four more wrestlers made back-to-back trips to State from 1998 through 2002. Scot Fetters (215 lbs.) qualified in 1998 and ’99 while Brandon Owens went back-to-back in 1999 (160 lbs.) and 2000 (171 lbs.). Steve Batdorf wrestled at State at 152 lbs. in 2000 and 160 lbs in 2001 while Mike Stephan followed with trips in 2001 and 2002, both at 171 lbs.
In 2003, Dusty Hess represented the Buccaneers at the state meet, dropping his only two matches at the tournament. Hess finished the year 35-15 in only his second year of wrestling.
2004 saw a young Buccaneer make his way to the state meet. Sophomore Logan Brown captured 3rd at districts to advance to state at 189 lbs. Brown dropped a 9-2 decision to eventual state runner-up and a narrow 1-0 loss in the consolation bracket. Still, Brown finished with a 49-7 record with four of his losses coming to state placers.
Logan made a repeat trip to state in 2005 as a junior after accumulating a 46-0 record and a district title at 189 lbs. Brown then became the first state placer in 21 years after capturing third at state and finishing with a school-best 50-1 record at the time.
Brown then became the first wrestler in history to go to state for a third time in 2006. That year he became the first Covington wrestler to win a state title with a 9-2 win over Jeremy Stevens of Ashland Crestview in the finals. Logan also finished unbeaten at 52-0 under the guidance of coach Tom Barbee. Along the way to a state title brown defeated Cris Gault from Anderson Pymatuning Valley by pin in 2:47; Brock Kirian of Sycamore Mohawk by a 5-2 decision; Brad Rice of West Jefferson by a 13-6 decision and Jeremy Stevens of Ashland Crestview by a 9-2 decision. No wrestler in the 2006 state tournament scored an offensive point on Logan Brown.
In 2008 the Covington Buccaneers saw freshman Andrew DeHart become the youngest state qualifier and state placer in school history as he took sixth at 130 pounds. DeHart followed that performance by becoming just the third two-time state placer with a fourth place finish at 145 pounds as a sophomore in 2009. He then took second at 145 pounds in 2010 to become Covington’s first three-time state placer.
DeHart once again qualified for state in 2011 and captured a third place medal at 145 pounds to become the school’s first four-time state placer. He was joined on the podium by sophomore Kyler Deeter, who became just the fifth Covington wrestler to place at state by taking fourth at 130 pounds.
In 2012 Covington sent two wrestlers to the state meet in 182 pounder Brian Olson and 138 pounder Kyler Deeter. Deeter became the 15th Covington wrestler to become a two-time state qualifier, while Olson joined his father, Brian Olson Sr. as the first father-son combination to become state qualifiers. Olson also became the sixth state placer in school history by taking sixth in his weight class.
2013 saw three Buccaneer wrestlers qualify for the state meet with Daniel Jennings (145 lbs.), Jake Sowers (152 lbs.) and A.J. Ouellette (182 lbs). Ouellette placed fourth to become the seventh state placer in Covington history.
2014 was a historic season as the Bucccaneers sent five wrestlers to state, along with one state alternate. Four wrestlers placed with Jarred Ganger becoming the second Covington wrestler to win a state title. A.J. Ouellette became a two-time state placer by taking fifth, while Ryan Ford took 3rd at 132 pounds and Ben Miller placed 6th at 170 pounds. Daniel Jennings became a two-time state qualifier and Connor Ryan was the Buccaneer alternate. As a team the Buccs placed fifth at state, was runner-up in the district meet, runner-up in district team duals and sectional champions.
In 2015, the tradition of state success by Covington wrestlers continued as three Buccaneer wrestlers placed at state. Jarred Ganger won his second straight state championship as a Buccaneer, third state championship overall and fourth state medal. Ryan Ford won his second straight state medal by finishing third for the second year in a row and Ben Miller placed sixth for the second consecutive season. Lance Miller also qualified for state as well.
With Ganger and Miller graduating, Ryan Ford and Brandon Magee carried on the tradition in 2016 as they both competed in the state meet. Ford finished fourth at 138 pounds to conclude his career with 201 wins and become just the second Covington wrestler to place three times at the state meet (Andrew Dehart). Magee, who went to state as an alternate, was inserted into the 182 pound bracket due to another wrestler failing skin check. Magee proved he belonged by winning a match by pin.
In 2017 Lance Miller was the lone Buccaneer to qualify for the state meet after winning sectional and district championships at 160 pounds. He followed that up by finishing runner-up at state, becoming the fourth Buccaneer wrestler to reach the state finals.
Covington enjoyed more success in 2018 by qualifying four wrestlers to the state meet – Keringten Martin (152), Gage Kerrigan (195, Kellan Anderson (106) and Cael Vanderhorst (113). Anderson placed 6th and Vanderhorst placed 8th to become the 12th and 13th state placers and joined Andrew Dehart as the only freshmen wrestlers to place at state.
Anderson (106), Vanderhorst (113) and Martin (152) all made return trips to state in 2019. Anderson (50-2) came up just short of placing for the second year in a row, but Vanderhorst and Martin both earned state medals as Martin placed 3rd at 152 pounds and Vanderhorst took 4th at 113 pounds.
In 2020, Cael Vanderhost (120 lbs.) and Kellan Anderson (126 lbs.) both qualified for state for the third consecutive year and were projected to place in their respective weight classes. Unfortunately, just days before the state tournament was set to begin, the state of Ohio cancelled the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic – taking away the opportunity ofr Vanderhorst to become just the third Buccaneer wrestler to place at state for the third consecutive year.
Wrestling resumed in 2021 under “social distancing restrictions”, but Covington was able to qualify four wrestlers to the state meet – seniors Kellan Anderson (126 lbs.), Cael Vanderhorst (138 lbs.), Trentin Alexander (170 lbs.) and freshman Michael Hagan (106 lbs.). Vanderhorst and Anderson became just the second and third wrestlers in Covington history to qualify for state in all four years of high school – joining Andrew Dehart. Plus, Cael Vanderhorst finished 4th at 138 pounds to become just the third Buccaneer wrestler to place three times at state, while Kellen Anderson placed 8th at 126 pounds to become just the ninth wrestler to place twice in a career. Michael Hagan became the fourth wrestler to place at state as a freshman as he finished 8th at 126 pounds.
In 2022 the Buccaneers sent five wrestlers to the state tournament and two became the 16th and 17th wrestlers to earn placement medals. Sophomore Chase Vanderhorst placed fifth at 126 pounds and fellow sophomore Jericho Quinter finished sixth at 113 pounds. Sophomore Michael Hagan (120) and senior Scott Blumenstock (285) came within one win of placing. Sophomore 106 pounder Carson Taylor was a state qualifier.
The 2023 season saw the Buccaneers qualify three wrestlers to state, Chase Vanderhorst (132 lbs.), Michael Hagan(120 lbs.) and freshman Caleb Ryman (138 lbs.). Hagan became the sixth wrestler in Covington history to become a three-time state qualifier and Ryman became the fifth freshman in the history of the program to qualify for state. Chase Vanderhorst placed fifth at state in the 132 pound weight class to become the tenth two-time state placer in school history.
The success of these wrestlers continue to be inspiration for the young aspiring wrestlers of the future. Many Covington wrestlers have wrestled on the biggest stage in the state of Ohio. With the ideal wrestling facility and high interest in the sport, there will be many more added to the list of great wrestlers in years to come.
INDIVIDUAL STATE QUALIFIERS
|Brian Olson, Jr.||2010-13||–||–||6th||–|
|Kellan Anderson||2018-21||6th||Q||Q – Covid||8th|
|Cael Vanderhorst||2018-21||8th||4th||Q – Covid||4th|
XX – Did not participate in wrestling that year
// – Wrestled at a different school
TBD – To be determined
Q – Covid – The state tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
FATHER AND SON STATE QUALIFIERS:
|Brian Olson, Jr.||2012||6th|
|Mike Hagan||1986||Q||Daniel Jennings||2013|
|Randy Sowers||1989||Q||Jake Sowers||2013||Q|
Q – Covid
|Mike Hagan||1986||Q||Michael Hagan||2021|
BROTHERS WHO QUALIFIED FOR STATE:
(brother Rodney Kimmel)
(brothers Eric Vanderhorst and Todd Vanderhorst)
(brother Randy Kimmel)
(brothers Craig Vanderhorst and Todd Vanderhorst)
(brothers Craig Vanderhorst and Eric Vanderhorst)
(brother Steve Batdorf)
(brother Scott Batdorf)
(brother Michael Hagan)
(brother Chase Vanderhorst)
Q – Covid
(brother Daniel Jennings)
(brother Cael Vanderhorst)