COLUMBUS — Miami East senior Cooper Shore (120 pounds) may have not gotten the perfect season or state title he was looking for at the D-III state wrestling tournament Sunday night at the Schottenstein Center.
But, Miami East coach Rich Randall wouldn’t change his time with Shore for anything. Shore had an amazing career. After losing his freshman season to Covid, he finished in the top three at state the next three seasons and will go on to wrestle for Campbell University.
Shore, 49-1, lost to defending state champion Max Hermes of Milan Edison (52-3) by a 6-1 decision.
“Of all the kids I have coach, Cooper Shore is probably the one who is the most deserving to be a state champion,” Randall said. “The kid is so coachable. I am really proud of him. It is tough. It is an emotional roller coaster.”
Shore was trailing 1-0 in the third period when Hermes hit a five-point move, before Shore later escaped.
“That was the difference in the match right there,” Randall said.
It was also emotional for Randall earlier in the day when senior Dustin Winner (285) made the podium with a seventh-place finish.
He had a 6-1 decision over Cohen Hickman of Greeneview in the seventh-place match.
“Dusty is a kid I have been coaching since third grade,” Randall said. “He missed last season with an injury. He was ranked fifth at the beginning of the year and by the time the tournament started, he was ranked around 30th. And he came through and got seventh. He worked his butt off.”
Being a senior, the ideal way to close out your high school wrestling career is earning a spot on the podium and a state medal.
Troy Christian had three senior wrestlers experience just that at the Jerome Schottenstein Center over the weekend.
Connor Havill (38-6) capped a great career as a three-time state placer by taking third at 175 pounds. Havill was a state champion as a junior and placed seventh at stat as a sophomore.
Havill advanced to the consolation final on Sunday with an 8-1 win over Cannon Endicott of Elmwood. He then defeated Owen Berner of Ayersville in the consolation final, 5-3.
At 126 pounds, Jason Shaffer (44-11) finished fourth to become a two-time state placer for the Eagles. Shaffer defeated Nathan Parks of Seneca East 7-1 to advance to the consolation final, where he dropped a close 5-3 sudden victory decision to Casper Caizzo of St. Paul.
Kyle Schroer (38-8) earned his first state medal by taking fifth at 106 pounds with a 4:31 pin of Kaden Lawson of Tuslaw. Schroer dropped his consolation semifinal match to Scott Fuller of Genoa Area, who finished third.
Chase Vanderhorst closed out his junior season in style with a 3-2 victory over Wyatt Hinton (44-4) of Norwood to earn fifth place and his second straight state medal.
The victory over Hinton was extremely gratifying because it avenged a defeat in the district final last week.
“Just a gritty effort where he had to battle back,” said Covington coach and Chase’s father Eric Vanderhorst. “I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Vanderhorst faced projected state champion Dakota King (47-6) of Barnesville in the consolation semifinal and came up short advancing to the consolation final in a 3-1 loss.
“Chase wrestled well against a kid who was predicted to be the state champion,” Vanderhorst said. “He stayed in solid position through the entire match except for when he (King) got the takedown. That was the difference.”
Chase had little time to refocus prior to stepping back into the mat against Hinton.
But he was able to stay mentally strong and controlled the match from start to finish.
The match was scoreless at the end of the first and Hinton chose bottom to start the second. Vanderhorst worked well on top, but surrendered an escape. Chase then recorded a quick takedown and surrendered another escape.
With the score deadlocked at 2-2 to start the third, Vanderhorst chose bottom and quickly got away to take a 3-2 lead. From there Chase stayed solid on his feet to preserve the one-point victory.
“He stayed in solid position, which is what needs to happen against this level of competition,” Vanderhorst explained.
Finishing on the podium for the second straight year is an amazing accomplishment for Chase after having his entire freshman season taken from him due to an injury and several other unfortunate circumstances that were out of his control.
“Yeah, Chase has been through a lot,” said Vanderhorst. “He had four surgeries, a broken collar bone, appendicitis, a hernia – you name it. Just a lot of unfortunate things that cost him a lot of mat time over the last few years.”
Overcoming the adversity makes earning a second straight state medal gratifying for Chase.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]