By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — The holiday season always marks a grueling stretch of tough tournaments for area wrestlers.
The new year typically brings one final challenge to cap that stretch off before settling in to prepare for the brutal postseason.
Saturday’s Troy Invitational gave the host Trojans, the Covington Buccaneers and the Miami East Vikings one last look at a big tournament atmosphere early in January before the teams rest up for the late-February league and sectional tournaments, with the Buccs placing third overall just ahead of the Vikings and Troy finishing 12th out of 14 teams at the Trojan Activities Center.
Covington was third with 186.5 points and had three individual champions, while Miami East was fourth with 178.5 points and a pair of individual champions. Northmont won the tournament with 235.5 points, Wayne was the runner-up with 204 and Troy was 12th with 56.
“I’m real happy,” Covington coach Eric Vanderhorst said. “The kids are working hard, and they got some good matches here. There’s some good competition, and I’m real happy with their effort. We got our JV guys in, too, so they’re getting some matches, as well, which is really good. This is a good tournament for us.”
In the end, Covington’s three champions helped the Buccs — who recently defeated the Vikings in a dual — hold off Miami East for third place overall.
Kellan Anderson (126) gave the Buccs their first champion on the day, as well as a head-to-head win over the Vikings, as he defeated Miami East’s Garrett Kowalak via 19-4 tech. fall. Senior Austin Flick (138) also took first place, pinning Arcanum’s Cameron Haney in 3:38 in the championship match, and Duncan Cooper (182) also finished off his first-place match with a pin in 3:35.
“That could’ve gone either way, since we’re both right there,” Vanderhorst said of Miami East. “We had a good dual meet against each other a couple weeks ago, too. It’s good (to get ready for the postseason). And Northmont’s got a good team this year, and so does Wayne. The depth here at this tournament was really good.”
Other placers for the Buccs were: Cael Vanderhorst (120) second, David Robinson (152) fourth, Jensen Wagoner (160) fourth, Trentin Alexander (170) fourth, Brian Morrison (113) sixth, Aaron Jackson (126) sixth, Caleb Miller (145) sixth, Deacon Shields (152) sixth and Jesse Fisher (sixth).
The Vikings, who were as high as second place in the early rounds, scored two first-place finishes, including the first of the day. Cooper Shore (106) pinned Sidney’s Jadah McMillen in 1:41 in his championship match, then Max Shore (120) held off Covington’s Cael Vanderhorst for a 6-3 decision to take first in a matchup of two returning state placers.
“Today was not bad,” Miami East coach Mark Rose said. “We were a little short today, with four guys out of the lineup with either injury or illness. Being competitive the way we were today, I was pretty happy.
“It’s a fun day, and it’s good for our guys to get as many matches in as they can. I always like coming to this tournament.”
Other placers for Miami East were: Chance Rust (113) third, Kowalak (126) second, David Davis (132) second, Dustin Winner (195) second and Cael Rose (285) sixth.
“In this area, D-III is pretty tough,” Rose said. “With us, Covington, Mechanicsburg, Versailles, Troy Christian … it’s tough. Our sectional is brutal, but it’s what makes our sport so fun. The cream will rise to the top.”
The host Trojans, who entered the day short-handed after last week’s GMVWA Holiday Tournament, only had two placers
“There was more good than there was bad,” Troy coach Doug Curnes said. “We’re going to have a short lineup all year. A lot of our backups and extras lost to guys they should’ve, and a couple of them won a couple of decent matches. And Carlos (Quintero) is wrestling really well.”
Quintero (160), a senior, led the way with a second-place finish, falling by an 11-8 decision to Wayne Trace’s Eli Moore. In addition, freshman Nolan Fox (106) placed fourth.
“There’s just a couple of things with Carlos that we have to fix, like his bottom work, looking forward to the rest of the season,” Curnes said. “All in all, there was more positive than negative for us, and a lot of good, competitive wrestling for everybody today. I’m happy with it.
“We go every weekend in December and roll into this, then after the Miamisburg Invitational next weekend, we have a nice little break with a bunch of duals do we can heal and get ready for the league meet in February.”
Contact Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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