COLUMBUS – Chase Vanderhorst opened up the state tournament in a loaded 132 pound weight class, which fields six returning state placers and several more who are returning state qualifiers.
One of the multi-state qualifiers was the first opponent for Vanderhorst, Jesse Maple of Ridgewood, who entered the tournament with a 41-4 record.
Vanderhorst waisted little time in setting the tone as he recorded an early takedown and scored two back points on a tilt.
“Chase wrestled an experience senior who is a multi-state qualifier and ranked in the state,” said Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst. “He went out there and got a nice takedown and rode hard on top for a tilt and back points.”
Maple surprisingly chose top in the second period and Vanderhorst quickly got away to push his lead to 5-0.
“That kid’s best position is on top and he chose top in the second period,” said Vanderhorst. “Chase did a good job of getting an escape quickly to take away his strength.”
Chase chose bottom in the third and escaped again for a 6-0 lead and then stayed in solid position to capture a 6-2 win.
“At that point (leading 6-0), Chase did a good job of staying solid on defense,” Vanderhorst said. “The talent her is so good you have to wrestle smart in situations like that and that’s what Chase did.”
Chase advances to the quarterfinal where he faces another talented wrestler, two-time state placer Brock Christian (45-9) from Perry.
“He has a two-time state placer tomorrow,” Vanderhorst said. “His weight class is tied for the most returning state placers, so he needs to take it one match at a time because every match will be good kids from here on out.”
Vanderhorst is also a returning state placer and holds a record of 39-3, so the level of competition is something Chase Vanderhorst is accustom to seeing.
Michael Hagan entered the state tournament for the third straight year after placing eight as a freshman at 106 pounds and qualifying at 120 pounds as a sophomore.
Fielding a 42-7 record, Hagan faced Trent Sigler of W.S, Northwestern in his opening bout, a wrestler with a 38-2 record. The match didn’t go Hagan’s way as Sigler caught the Buccaneer wrestler on his back for a pin in 1:09.
“Michael nearly got a takedown early in the match and he’s good on top and that could have changed the match,” said Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst. “The other kid got him with a cross elbow turn and locked it up pretty tight.
Obviously unhappy about the result, Hagan returned to the mat four hours later extremely determined in the first consolation round against Dylan Ward of Martins Ferry.
“Michael got the early takedown and got on top,” Vanderhorst explained. “He worked hard on top and was able to lock up the cradle for the pin. It was a really good rebound match for him.”
“He knows a win puts him on the podium (for the second time), so he will be focused,” Vanderhorst said.
Should Hagan capture another win he will be the tenth wrestler in school history to earn multiple state medals.
Caleb Ryman closed out an amazing freshman season at state where he finished with a 41-14 record competing in a weight class (138 pounds) that was four weight classes higher than he had planned to compete in prior to the season.
Ryman had hopes to compete at 113 pounds, but unfortunately couldn’t get certified at that weight prior to the start to the season. The weight classes of 120, 126 and 132 pounds were already filled with three wrestlers who already earned state medals – Michael Hagan, Jericho Quinter and Chase Vanderhorst.
“He was trying to (certify for 113), but it was too low of a weight for him,” said Covington ache Eric Vanderhorst. “He was low 120s, but his body fat percentage wouldn’t let him go to 113.”
So, Ryman worked his way into the 138 pound weight class, which took some time to put on the muscle he needed to compete against older and more experienced wrestlers. His hard work and determination led to a birth at state by finishing fourth at the district meet a week ago.
In his first match at state Ryman was pitted against a wrestler many projected as the eventual state champion at 138, Ashton Homan of Monroeville. Homen entered the state tournament with a 39-5 record and the champion out of the Rossford District.
The Buccaneer freshman gave Homan all he could handle even though he fell short 6-0. The match was tight heading into the third period with Homan on top 2-0 thanks to a takedown late in the first period on a scramble by birth wrestlers. Ryman chose bottom in the second and nearly escaped twice, but just couldn’t get out of the grasp of Homan, who tried everything he could to turn Caleb for back points.
“Caleb wrestled him close, stayed in good position and frustrated him,” said Vanderhorst. “He does a lot of off-season wrestling, so he gets comfortable in a lot of positions.”
Homan chose bottom in the third and Ryman made it difficult for Homan to get away. Unfortunately Homan was able to record a reversal and two back points when Caleb had to go for broke, which led to a final score of 6-0.
In the first consolation round Ryman faced Johnny Heiden, a senior from Brekshire. Neither wrestler could score in the opening frame and Heiden chose bottom to start the second period. Caleb Ryman did an amazing job from the top position and nearly turned Heiden twice for back points, once on a tilt that was so close to two points. In the final second of the period Heiden was awarded a point for an escape to take a 1-0 lead into the third. Ryman chose bottom in the third, but couldn’t get away as Heiden held on for the one-point win.
“He rode the kid really hard and the kid got an escape when the clock was close to being out,” Vanderhorst said. “Caleb had a tilt that the referee was a little slow to start the swipes, which would have been two points and the win. He wasn’t just happy to be here – he was wrestling to win.”
Despite the loss, Caleb Ryman has plenty to look forward to over the next three years of high school.