Regional Sports Editor
COVINGTON — There was nothing Eric Vanderhorst could do but watch as a Division III sectional wrestling title slipped away from his team.
So rather than fret about what could have been, the Covington wrestling coach focused and what is and will be.
The race between Covington and Mechanicsburg for the sectional team title went nearly down to the final match Saturday, with Mechanicsburg clinching the title at Covington High School with a win at 220 pounds in a match that didn’t involve a single Covington wrestler. Mechanicsburg finished with 196 points, while Covington was second with 191.5 pounds, Troy Christian was third with 165.5, Arcanum was fourth with 98 and Milton-Union was fifth with 93.
“When I was younger, I used to worry about those things,” Vanderhorst said. “Now I realize it’s out of your control — there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s no sense in getting upset about it. We just try to focus on our kids and what we can control ourselves.”
And make no mistake about it, there were plenty of positives on which the Buccaneers could focus. Of the 13 wrestlers Covington had competing Saturday, four won sectional championships, 10 placed in the top four to earn trips to districts next week at Hobart Arena and two will be district alternates.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Vanderhorst said. “We came out here and we wrestled well.”
Capturing sectional titles for Covington were Kellan Anderson at 106 pounds, Cael Vanderhorst (113 pounds), Keringten Martin (152) and Gavin McReynolds. Placing second for Covington were Austin Flick (145) and Dylan Burns (160).
Riley Richards (126), Duncan Cooper (170) and Jesse Fisher (195) all placed third for Covington. Connor Sindelir (132) placed fourth to round out the Buccaneers’ district qualifiers. Caleb Miller (138) and Dylan Staudt (220) both placed fifth, earning spots as district alternates.
“Our kids wrestled really well,” Vanderhorst said. “It’s always nice to come out and wrestle well in your home gym. You want to come out and do well in front of your home fans, and I felt like our kids did that today.”
Troy Christian had eight wrestlers competing Saturday, and all eight placed in the top four to earn trips to districts.
Ethan Turner (126), Ryan Whitten (145) and Nick Baker (220) all earned sectional championships. Caleb Schroer (106), Austin Awan (145) and Craig Montgomery (170) all finished second. Troy Kennedy (113) and Lucas Moore (152) both finished third.
“We brought eight and we got eight out,” Troy Christian coach Steve Goudy said. “That’s a good day, brother. Now we’ll get back after it and get ready for districts.”
Milton-Union had six wrestlers qualify for districts. The top finisher was Dylan Schenck (152), who placed second. Peyton Brown (132) and Hunter Ross (285) both placed third. Zach Avey (106), Aaron Beckman (126) and Colten Jacobe (138) all placed fourth.
CENTERVILLE — Troy freshman Zach Evans (106 pounds) captured a sectional title and qualified for districts in impressive fashion Saturday, pinning Edgewood’s Hayden Hollis — who defeated Evans earlier in the season — just 30 seconds of the Division I sectional championship match at Centerville High School.
He’ll be joined at districts by senior Shane Shoop, who placed third at 170. After dropping a tough 10-9 decision in the semifinals, Shoop came storming back, winning both his consolation matches by pins in less than a minute, to placed third.
Noah Leach (182) placed fifth and will be a district alternate.
ST. PARIS — Tippecanoe had two wrestlers qualify for districts Saturday at the Division II sectional at Graham High School.
Blake Ballad (138) placed third for the Red Devils, while Blake Cyphers (160) placed fourth. Alec Smallwood (113) and Tyler Bruno (132) placed fifth and will be district alternates.
Division III (Lehman)
SIDNEY — Miami East will be sending 10 wrestlers to districts after placing second in the Division III sectional Saturday at Lehman High School. Versailles won with 215 points, while Miami East was second with 191.
Bringing home sectional titles were Max Shore (113), Jarrett Winner (182) and Brenden Dalton (220). Placing second for the Vikings were Olivia Shore (106) and Eli Strubler (138).
David Davis (120) and Matthew Welker (170) placed third. Garrett Kowalak (126), Ethan Ott (152) and Coleman Demmitt (160) placed fourth.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong