JANUARY 5, 2019 - TROY
Coming off the holiday break can be tough for any wrestling program, especially considering the temptations youngsters have to stray away from their diets and nutritional needs.
But the Covington Buccaneers were able to stay disciplined in maintaining their conditioning and weight over the holiday season and the result was an emphatic championship effort at the Troy Invitational on Saturday - a tournament featuring many larger schools.
And for the first time in nine years - after placing runner-up several times - the Buccaneers steamrolled through the tournament with 241.5 team points to claim the team title.
"I didn't think anyone would be able to catch us in the finals," said Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst. "That was nice because once we had the team title in hand our kids were able to come out in the finals and focus on wrestling hard."
Covington had placers in twelve of the fourteen weight classes with five wrestlers claiming individual titles.
Returning state placers Kellan Anderson (106) and Cael Vanderhorst (113) were dominant as Anderson pinned previously unbeaten Jarrett Hornish of Wayne in the finals and Vanderhorst defeated Gabe Sutton of Wayne Trace vie 16-0 technical fall in his final's match. Anderson finished 5-0 on the day with additional pins over Wayne's Alex Wylie, Sidney's Enrique Loaiza, Jaden McMillan and Troy's Zach Evans, while Vanderhorst finished 4-0 with pins over St. Xavier's Will Dixon, Wayne's Jonathan Porter and Sidney's Lil Blosser.
Austin Flick capped a great day at 138 pounds with a 14-4 victory over Dean Hurd of Greenville in the finals, while returning state qualifier Keringten Martin took just 1:14 to pin Mason lawson of Wayne in the finals at 152 pounds. Flick went 5-0 with pins over Northmont's Noah Wilkins, Troy's Gabe Cusick, Wayne's Bryan Shaw and Sidney's Aiden Tangeman, while Martin pinned Northmont's Mason Sigler, Sidney's Landon Johnson, Troy's Cameron Law and Miami East's Ethan Ott to finish with a 5-0 record.
Buccaneer sophomore Duncan Cooper closed out the championship round for Covington with an emphatic 4:43 pin of Mark Wrasman of Delphos St. John's in the finals of the 170 pound weight class. He finished 4-0 on the day with additional pins over Greenville's Zane Mancillas, Sidney's Joey Taborn and Arcanum's Cael Gostomsky.
Gavin McReynolds dropped at 7-2 decision to Delphos St. John's Chase Martin to take 2nd place at 182 lbs. McReynolds finished 4-1 with a 10-4 semifinal win over Miami East's Jarret Winner and pins over Hamilton's Corey Roberts, Sidney's Jomari Botusin and St. Xavier's Joel Martinez.
Riley Richards (132, 2 pins) took 3rd place with a 4-2 decision over Miami East's Garrett Kowalak, while Dylan Burns (160) took 4th place with 3 pins overall. Caleb Miller (138, 2 pins) placed 6th, Jesse Fisher (220, 2 pins) placed 7th, and David Robinson (145, pin) placed 8th. Also competing well for the Buccs were Devin Newhouse (106), Jensen Wagoner (152), Bryce Smith (160), Ricky Stephan (182), Dylan Staudt (285) and Scott Blumenstock (285, pin).
"I'm happy with how our kids wrestled," Vanderhorst said. "But you always see things you can improve on and we'll work on those things before our next match."
The Buccs travel to Sidney on Wednesday, January 9, to compete in a tri meet with the Yellow Jackets and Allen East.