MARCH 8, 2019 - COLUMBUS
Two of the three Buccaneer wrestlers ensured themselves state medals and punched their tickets into the championship semifinals later this evening with victories in the quarterfinals. The third Covington wrestler dropped his quarterfinal match and will continue to battle through the consolation rounds.
First, Cael Vanderhorst (49-5) stunned Caleb Edwards of Roostown (44-5) with a come-from-behind 13-9 win. Edwards had placed third at state a year ago at 113 pounds.
“That kid was very athletic and explosive, but Cael stayed composed,” said Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst. “He took Cael down a couple of times early, so it was obvious his strategy was to control the match on his feet.”
Even though Vanderhorst found himself behind early, he adjusted his strategy by keeping the match on the mat as much as possible.
“Yeah, the Edwards kid tried to cut Cael (surrender an escape), but Cael was able to catch him for a big reversal late in the second period,” Vanderhorst explained. “Then Cael picked up a big takedown in the third and I think he (Edwards) started to get frustrated.”
That’s because Vanderhorst had taken a 10-8 lead and was relentless on top. Edwards’ frustration came to the forefront as the Rootstown wrestlers was penalized twice for twisting Vanderhorst’s fingers for a combined three additional points.
“Those penalty points were big because it opened up more of a cushion for us,” Vanderhorst, who is also Cael’s father, said. “Cael just wrestled smart and gets to move on to the semifinals.”
Where he will face returning state runner-up and unbeaten Lucian Brink of Coshocton (51-0).
“Yeah, everyone here is good, so we’ll do our best,” said Vanderhorst.
Also advancing to the state semifinal round is Buccaneer senior 152 pounder Keringten Martin, who picked up a 7-3 victory over Nick Skye of Mogadore (41-6).
“Keringten just stayed in solid position and was patient in setting up his shots,” Vanderhorst explained. “That kid got in deep a couple of times and Keringten had to use his hip defense more in this match.”
Skye did get in deep on some early shots, but Martin was able to turn one into his own shot opportunity on a reshot that resulted in the first takedown of the match.
This set the tone for the rest of the match as Martin was able to lock up two more takedowns en route to a 7-3 win.
“I knew the deeper the match went that Keringten was in pretty good shape, although you can never relax here (at state),” Vanderhorst said. “Keringten has very good endurance and he’s hard to score on later in matches.”
The win ensures Martin a spot on the podium, which earns him a banner that will hang in the wrestling building once her graduates.
“This is what I’ve work for,” said Martin in regards to becoming a state placer. “I came over here (at state) as a sophomore and drilled with Lance (Miller) and that was the best weekend of my life because it was so awesome to see Lance end up wrestling in the finals. That experience motivated me.”
Martin qualified for state himself a year ago, but dropped his first two matches. This was also a source of motivation.
“Yeah, last year I didn’t do too well,” he said. “But I can feel it this year. I feel so good and I could tell around sectionals that this would be my year. Now I’m just trying to place as high as I can.”
Martin will wrestle Kevin Contos of Genoa Area (46-2) in the semifinals later this evening.
Unable to join Vanderhorst and Martin in the semifinals was sophomore 106 pounder Kellan Anderson as he dropped his first match of the season to Gavin Owens of Pemberville Eastwood (44-2) by the score of 7-1.
“Yeah, that one is a bummer because Kellan had beaten him (Owens) earlier in the year at LCC,” Vanderhorst said. “But the difference this time is we couldn’t get out from the bottom. That kid is really good on top.”
Owens picked up an early takedown on a scramble and then turned Anderson for three back points to take a 5-0 lead.
Anderson chose bottom in the second and once again Owens turned the Buccaneer wrestler for two more back points.
And from there it was a matter of whether or not Anderson could catch Owens in a big move, which never happened.
“That was a match we wanted to control from our feet, but it didn’t happen,” Vanderhorst explained. “It stinks that Cael and Kellan were wrestling at the same time, but that’s what happens when you have who kids at state who are close in weight.”
Anderson, who placed sixth a year ago at 106 pounds, saw his hopes of finishing high on the podium end in his consolation match against Nolan Frye of Cuyahoga Heights (45-8). The Buccaneer wrestler just couldn’t overcome an early takedown and three near-fall points in the second period as Anderson dropped an 8-3 decision to end his sophomore year with an outstanding 50-2 record.
Wrestling resumes tonight with semifinal action set to begin at 6:30pm.