By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — Last season was the first time since the inception of the Covington Duals that the Covington Buccaneers didn’t walk off with the team championship as CCC rival Miami East dominated the competition for the team title.
And it looked as though the Vikings were well on their way to repeating as champions as they were the heavy favorites entering Saturday’s competition due to the fact that they had already defeated Covington in a head-to-head dual earlier in the year.
But Covington had different thoughts on Saturday as it captured wins in critical matches to claim a 43-33 win over the Vikings to reclaim the team trophy.
“The kids have improved a lot this season,” said Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst. “Yeah, they (Miami East) gave up a few forfeits that helped us, but we won some big matches and had other wrestlers who wrestled very hard to limit bonus points.”
Two of Miami East’s better wrestlers didn’t compete against Covington – Olivia Shore at 106 pounds and Matt Welker at 170 pounds. Plus, the Vikings gave up forfeits at 195 and 285 pounds. In all, Miami East surrendered 18 points to the Buccs on forfeits.
But huge wins by Cael Vanderhorst (113), Keringten Martin (152), Duncan Cooper (160), Trentin Alexander (170) and Gavin McReynolds (182) proved critical as Covington was able to overcome the meat of the Vikings’ lineup of Graham Shore, Alex Isbrandt, Zane Strubler, Kaleb Nichols and Brendon Dalton.
And even with the defeat, Miami East coach Mark Rose felt his team did some nice things as he looks forward to a very promising future over the remainder of the season.
“Overall, we wrestled pretty well today,” Rose said. “We just didn’t get it done in that final round (against Covington), but we’re trying to stay healthy for sectionals and districts.”
Miami East did wrestle well as it went 4-1 in the duals and received a dominating performance from senior Graham Shore.
“Graham has been strong all year year,” Rose said. “We look forward to what he is going to do the rest of this year.”
In the four wins, the Vikings defeated Tri-County North 62-6, Twin Valley South 64-12, Lehman 65-12 and Arcanum 66-6.
For Covington, it had a 60-8 win over Arcanum, a 64-12 win over Tri-County North and 84-0 wins over Twin Valley South and Lehman.
The Buccaneers also received a big day from Keringten Martin, who finished 5-0 on the day and captured his 100th career win.
In junior high action, Covington won the team title as well. The Buccaneers defeated Arcanum 78-12, Twin Valley South 67-24 and Tri-County North 60-15.