By Ben Robinson
Editor’s Note: For Friday night semifinal and consolation results, go to dailycall.com
COLUMBUS — Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst has witnessed many kids come to the state wrestling meet and come up short of accomplishing their dream of becoming a state placer – himself included.
Which is why he felt bad for Keringten Martin and Gage Kerrigan after their season’s ended Thursday and why he is so excited to see his two freshmen, Kellan Anderson and Cael Vanderhorst secure spots on the podium Saturday morning.
“It’s super exciting,” said Vanderhorst. “I’m so happy for these two kids because its a reward for how much they put into this. Both of them put in a lot of time in the off-season and that doesn’t always guarantee this level of success, so it’s great to see them being rewarded for all of their hard work.”
Kellan Anderson started things off in the championship quarterfinals with an 11-2 major decision win over Brett Szuhay (40-4) of Mantua Crestwood in what was a tight match early until the Buccaneer freshman pulled away in the second period.
After recording a takedown in a scramble in the opening two minutes, Anderson chose bottom in the second and quickly reversed his opponent to his back to push the lead to 7-1 with one period left to wrestle.
“The takedown in the first period was big because we gave up a penalty point,” Vanderhorst said. “But the reversal and the three near fall in the second period gave us a huge advantage. From there it was just a matter of Kellan staying in good position and not giving up anything big.”
Which Anderson was able to do as he took advantage of a desperate opponent by recording another takedown and two back points for the 11-2 win.
“You could see the desperation in him (Szuhay) and Kellan did a good job of staying in good position and taking what was there,” said Vanderhorst.
With the win Anderson improves to 48-7 on the year and advances to the semifinals tonight against Casey Barnett (57-2) of Milan Edison.
“He is favored to finish one or two (at state) this year,” Vanderhorst said of Barnett. “But anything can happen in the state tournament. We’ll coach Kellan up and do our best to help him do what he does best.”
Shortly after Anderson punched his ticket to the championship semifinal, Eric’s son, Cael Vanderhorst secured a place on the podium with a thrilling 6-5 victory over Brandon Hahn of Pemberville Eastwood.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match when we saw him (Hahn) tech fall his first round opponent,” Vanderhorst explained. “But we had a strategy and Cael executed it.”
Which resulted in a huge five-point swing in the match when Cael took advantage of Hahn being out of position to record a reversal and three back points.
“Cael stayed in solid position and was able to lock up a cradle for a reversal and three backs,” said Vanderhorst. “At that point it was play-it-safe and get the win.”
Which Cael was able to do despite giving up a late takedown.
“He wrestled a smart match,” Vanderhorst explained. “I’m proud of how he responded from the first round loss last night.”
Which was a loss that Cael Vanderhorst took hard due to his opponent being awarded an escape in the waning moments of the ultimate tiebreaker.
“He was extremely disappointed,” Vanderhorst continued. “We thought time had expired. We went back to look at the film and unfortunately from our camera angle we couldn’t see the clock, so we had to put it behind us and move on. Cael did a good job of refocusing and coming back strong in the consis last night and again this morning.”
Cael Vanderhorst improves to 50-6 with the win and returns tonight to face Antonio Lecki (27-8) in the consolation quarterfinal.