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Braves primed for Team Regional ‘war’ with Yorkies

February 1, 2011

MEYER DRIVES — Bellmont senior heavyweight Daniel Meyer clasps a leg as he prepares to take down his Blackford foe during action at the Jay County Sectional last Saturday. Meyer and the Braves are scheduled to take on Yorktown in the semi-finals of the Adams Central Team Regional Wednesday. (Photo by Jim Hopkins)

    When Trent McCormick brings his No. 5 rated Yorktown Tigers to Adams Central Wednesday, or on any weather-related make-up date, there's one thing he can be sure of: there will be 14 bodies and a host of coaches on the other side of the mat who will do everything humanly possible to send them back to Yorktown disappointed and defeated.
    It's time for Team Regional Wrestling, and historically, in this area, that means that one of the strongest wrestling teams in the state will be primed and ready to pull out all the stops in order to win that prize ... a spot at Center Grove High School on Feb. 26 among the elite eight wrestling teams in the state.
    Yorktown will be facing Brent Faurote's Bellmont Braves, a team that has carved out 13 final eight slots in the 15-year history of the tournament. The Tigers finally broke through the Big Blue Wall last year and snapped Bellmont's 12-year state skein, but the win certainly didn't come without a fight. Yorktown defeated Bellmont for the first time ever — in 16 tries — in November of 2009, 52-19, but had the scramble for every takedown and nearfall in a 30-24 regional win. Yorktown finished as state runner-up, winning two matches at Team State.
    Again this year, the Tigers scored a 35-25 win over Bellmont in November. For the No. 9 Braves, that certainly seems like a number that can be reversed, especially considering the normal February magic that percolates from the Bellmont wrestling room.
    "A number of times over the years we've been in this situation, and they are always great duals," stated Yorktown  Trent McCormick.
    "Bellmont has come out on top more than we have, that's for sure. They have a strong lineup and that strong tradition, but we like our lineup. Our kids will give all that they have," promised McCormick, in his 23rd year as head coach for the Yorkies.
    Also in the tourney will be two two different teams from a year ago, Carroll and Fort Wayne Snider. The Chargers come in after a 15-1 regular season, losing only 39-31 to Bellmont. They took the NHC tourney crown 10 days ago and added the Carroll Sectional title last week. Snider, 15-8, sneaked past Homestead, 188.5 to 188, at New Haven to earn its first regional spot in several years.
    The two matches are set for 6 p.m. Wednesday with the title match to follow. No possible makeup dates have been announced by local or state officials.
    "We had a good practice tonight," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote, who also has 23 years of coaching under his belt. "We told the kids what needed to be done, and that we need to go out and do everything we can to win this match.
    "Historically, we wrestle well at Team Regional. Hopefully, with our approach, the kids will be set for a good performance. On paper, they are favored and they picked up a very good kid at 140, and that helped their cause. But it's not like they close the door on us. We can still find a way to win seven matches," promised Faurote.
    While Bellmont was hurt at 140 with the shattered finger of junior Brooks Faurote suffered at Mishawaka in late December, Yorktown managed to fill in one of their weakest slots with a former state streeter at that same weight. Somehow, senior Cole Vanhorn, 7-3 for Franklin in the first half of the season, was allowed to transfer at semester to Yorktown. He arrived just in time to slap on a green singlet and head to the Delta Sectional for his new team.
    Franklin must have signed off on the semistate-switching move and that was all the IHSAA needed to know to approve the most unusual mid-season transfer.
    Vanhorn won his class at Delta, as did Brock Bevans at 103, Schuler Phillips at 112, Chandler Carroll at 119, Rhett Hiestand at 125, Dalton Baysinger at 130, unbeaten and top-ranked Devon Jackson at 135, 39-2 Andrew Hiestand at 145, and 29-5 Scott Neff at 189.
    "The big thing is that we've got to sweep from 152 on up. We have to win those weight classes, then get two more wins from 103 to 145," noted Faurote.
    That would actually give the Braves eight wins, something that Yorktown accomplished in November. If it ends up 7-7, then it comes down to points.
    "We are actually favored in all of those classes, except for 189. Their guy (Scott Neff) has more experience, but that doesn't mean he's going to win," said Faurote.
    Bellmont's regular now is Ben Baker, who beat out a very tough field to earn the start. He appeared to have a sectional title in hand at Jay County Saturday, but was tossed to his back late and lost by a point.
    And Coach Faurote is not conceding 140 to the newcomer. Brooks battled tough the last two Saturday for seconds at the NHC and at Jay, losing only 4-2 to Drake Meska at Jay. In a few days, he's likely to get a smaller brace for his left hand, that that would give him more movement. A few extra days off because of the snow storm might make a difference.

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