By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON —- Keringten Martin, a senior at Covington High School, has wrestled in the Covington wrestling program since kindergarten, so it’s safe to say the sport of wrestling is in his blood.
But after capping off a stellar high school career by placing third this past March at the state wrestling meet in the 152-pound weight class, Martin wasn’t sure if he’d ever have the opportunity to continue his wrestling career at the collegiate level.
Fortunately, after researching and visiting colleges where he could major in Criminal Justice, Martin found the perfect situation at Defiance College.
“I knew I wanted to continue wrestling, but I had to look at the schooling first because someday I want to be a Police Officer or a State Trooper,” Martin said. “Defiance has a great Criminal Justice program, which is what I was looking for the entire time. The fact that they have wrestling too, that’s an added bonus.”
So Martin, who is the son of Jarrod and Stacy Martin, signed his letter of intent on Wednesday at Covington High School with his family and Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst on hand to share in his big moment.
“It’s crazy,” Martin said, shaking his head. “It’s awesome knowing I have the opportunity to wrestle in college.”
Because wrestling has been a major part of his life for so long.
“I’ve been wrestling here (at Covington) since I was in kindergarten in the youth program and it goes by so fast,” Martin continued. “I remember being ranked (in the state) as a freshman and then not even getting out of sectionals. But when I was a sophomore and saw what Lance (Miller) did by placing second at state, I knew I needed to put in the work to make myself better.”
And his hard work led to a memorable senior year.
“I knew I wanted to place high at state and that was my goal my senior year,” he said. “I made it to state my junior year and once I got back my senior year I knew I would be on the podium – it was just a matter of how high I’d place. To get third and win my last match, and now to sign my letter of intent to wrestle at Defiance, I couldn’t have asked for a better result.”
And with his commitment official, Martin looks forward to being a big part of helping the wrestling program at Defiance College grow into a DIII power under coach Antonia Guerra.
“Defiance has a young program,” Martin explained. “I think they disbanded the program back in the eighties and brought the program back last year. I’m excited to be a part of helping the program grow.”
Covington has had several wrestlers succeed at the collegiate over the years and coach Eric Vanderhorst is excited to see Martin continue his wrestling career at the collegiate level as well.
“We’ve had a lot of kids have collegiate success with Jason Kingrey, Scott Taylor and more recently Logan Brown, Andrew Dehart, Brian Olson, Kyler Deeter and Ryan Ford,” Vanderhorst said. “It’s nice to see Keringten follow in their footsteps and I think he has the ability to do very well at Defiance. He has a great work ethic and attitude and those characteristics translate very well at the collegiate level.”
For Martin, it’s tough knowing he will be wearing a different singlet than the Covington singlet he has become accustom too since he was a youngster.
But he hopes to be able to give back to the Covington wrestling program every time an opportunity presents itself.
“I can’t wait to come back and work with the guys whenever I have a chance,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll pick up some new techniques in college that I can come back and share with the guys here (at Covington).”
Things have fallen into place for Keringten Martin as he looks forward to graduating high school next month.
Then it’s a matter of preparing himself for his freshman season at Defiance College.
“I’m still training and wrestling in some open tournaments,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Because the sport of wrestling is in his blood.