By Rob Kiser
and Josh Brown
VERSAILLES — Covington wrestling coach Eric Vanderhorst proved to be prophetic.
After his Covington team lost to Versailles 47-21 in one semifinal, Vanderhorst mentioned the upcoming Division III regional championship match in the OHSAA State Duals tournament between the Tigers and Miami East.
“That should be a great match with those two teams,” Vanderhorst said with a smile.
That it was.
The two teams went toe-to-toe — with several roller coaster like momentum swings — and the match was tied at 30-30 through 195 pounds. Versailles got a decision from Gage DeHart (220) and a forfeit from Jeffrey Ware (285) to win 39-30 and advance to Columbus for the third time in five years.
The state duals will be held on Feb. 11 at St. John Arena, beginning with the quarterfinals.
“I knew this was going to be a tough match,” Versailles coach AJ Bey said. “You don’t understand everything we did to get ready for this match. We were texting back and forth the last three or four days different moves we could make with the lineup and different scenarios — it may not have been exactly how we figured it was going to come out, but it was pretty close.”
Miami East coach Mark Rose also knew it would be a close match.
“I am sure it was entertaining to watch,” he said. “A couple of matches could have went different ways. I am so proud of these kids. We came in here banged up, and they really battled.”
Olivia Shore (106) started things off for Miami East with a 6-1 decision.
Then, came the first big momentum swing, as Versailles reeled off three straight pins.
Trevor Huber (113) had a pin in 49 seconds, Jacob Poling (120) erased a 7-3 deficit in the third period with a pin in 4:54 and Nick Monnier (126) had a pin in 1:09 to give Versailles an 18-3 lead.
“That was a huge win by Jacob (Poling),” Bey said. “We knew there were going to be matches like that. We talked to the kids at the beginning of the year about every wrestler mattering. Nick (Monnier) was varsity last year and got bumped down this year. He wanted to be varsity at a different weight and I told him no, I think there are times you are going to be able to help us where you are — tonight was a great example of that.”
Then East’s “Muderers Row” took the mat, with Graham Shore (132), Alex Isbrandt (138) and Zane Strubler (145) all winning by pin.
“Those guys know how to wrestle,” Rose said. “And we needed that if we were going to win.”
Bey was prepared for that run.
“Those guys (the Miami East trio) are hammers,” Bey said. “It is going to be fun to watch them at the individual state tournament.”
Travis Ferguson (152) and Michael Miller (160) won by decision to give East a 27-18 lead, but Versailles’ Tyler Gigandet (170) answered with a pin to cut the deficit to 27-24.
East’s Matthew Welker (182) won a 5-2 decision and Versailles’ Isaac Gilmore (195) won by forfeit to make it 30-30.
With Versailles’ Ware having a forfeit at 285, it meant Miami East needed a pin at 220 for the match to finish in a tie. But Versailles’ DeHart got a takedown with 15 seconds left for a 2-0 win to lock up the victory.
“It can be (tough when you go out there and know if you don’t get pinned the team wins),” Bey said. “But, we had confidence in Gage (DeHart). He did a great job.”
Miami East 48,
Indian Lake 33
Miami East cruised to the semifinal win.
Olivia Shore (106), Garrett Kowalak (113), Kaleb Nickels (120), Alex Isbrandt (138), Zane Strubler (145) and Jarret Winner (170) all won by pin, while Graham Shore (126) and Brenden Dalton (285) won by forfeit.
Covington found itself in a tough matchup.
“Versailles is a great team,” Vanderhorst said. “I thought our kids really wrestled hard. The dual took 90 minutes, which shows we had a lot of matches that went the full 60 minutes. I felt like our kids really battled.”
For Versailles, Jacob Poling (120), Nick Monnier (132), Kyle Wuebker (145), Isaac Grilliot (182), Gage DeHart (195) and Jeffrey Ware (285) all won by pin.
Tyler Gigandet (170) won by tech fall and Cael Bey (126) and Preston Platfoot (138) won by decision.
For Covington, Kellan Anderson (106) and Gage Kerrigan (220) both won by pin.
Cael Vanderhorst (113), Trentin Alexander (152) and Keringten Martin (160) all won by decision.
Now, Versailles moves on to the Elite Eight.
“We love the team duals because it requires you to be strong all the way through,” Bey said. “We talk about that all the time. They are all quality wrestlers. And you never know which 14 it is going to take.”
And in the end, it took all of that as Versailles advanced in a regional final that went to the wire.
* Girls Basketball
TIPP CITY — The Tippecanoe girls basketball team took a 20-point lead after one quarter and never looked back Wednesday night, defeating Piqua 69-27 to improve to 17-2 overall and 12-0 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division.
The win puts Tippecanoe one win away from clinching at least a share of its second straight GWOC American North championship since joining the league last season. The Red Devils won an outright title last year and have a 27-game division winning streak. Butler currently sits in second place in the division at 10-2.
Maddie Frederick scored a game-high 17 points and Brooke Aselage scored 16 to lead the Devils. Cali Stewart added nine points and Kendall Clodfelter and Hailee Varvel both added five.
Emily Powell and Lily Stewart each scored six points to lead Piqua (5-13, 3-9 GWOC American North), which was held to 8 for 33 (24.2 percent) from the field by the Tippecanoe defense on the night.
Tippecanoe hosts Greenville Saturday with a chance to clinch a share of the title, while Piqua travels to Sidney.
Miami East 84,
ANSONIA — Miami East clinched at least a share of the Cross County Conference title Wednesday night in a makeup game against Ansonia, jumping out to a 48-18 lead by halftime and winning 84-42.
The Vikings — who won their 600th game as a program on Tuesday — improved to 16-4 overall and 11-0 in the CCC with Wednesday’s win.
Morgan Haney led the Vikings with 32 points, with two other Vikings recording double-doubles. Maria Staton had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Haley Howard had 13 points and 16 rebounds, with Camryn Miller adding seven points and eight rebounds and Mikayla Schaffner added six points.
Miami East travels to National Trail Feb. 8 looking to close out an outright CCC title with a win.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334. Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.