Carroll goes into NHC Tourney with 14 seeds
If things work out Saturday at the NHC Wrestling Tournament even close to what the coaches predicted with the seeding process, Carroll will march to the NHC tourney crown with Bellmont second.
Of course, things don't always go as they're supposed to, especially when it comes to Bellmont wrestlers achieving above their seeds.
Carroll has all 14 of its wrestlers seeded to the 10 of Bellmont, Both have five solid No. 1 seeds. Besides the three top Homestead seeds, Bellmont or Carroll will not get much help from a weaker-than-normal field.
"They have a few more seeds than us, so we just have to go in there and wrestle like we're capable," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote, whose Braves have won the past six NHC tourney titles and 19 of the last 20.
"We know its going to be a good team race with Carroll, so every match counts," he added.
Faurote could have fought for more seeds, but with a wrestle-back to third place, it doesn't make that much difference.
Bellmont enters, rated No. 8 in the state while Carroll, 14-1 and losing only to Bellmont during the regular season, is rated No. 14.
Unbeaten BHS heavyweight Daniel Meyer is seeded No. 1 as he seeks to defend his title. Travis Thatcher at 215, Ryley Hankenson at 171, Dewey Melcher at 135 and Brooks Faurote at 140 are the other top seeds. Thatcher is a defending champ. Brad Busse at 189 is seeded second, as are John Mahlan at 160 and Bobby Keuneke at 119 for the Braves.
Brooks Faurote, who will be about 80 percent, according to the coach Faurote, will be seeking a second NHC crown to go with the one he earned two years ago at 119 pounds. Brooks fell 1-0 to eventual state champ Brock Norton of Carroll last year at 135. Ryley Hankenson, second last year at 152, also earned a title in 2009.
Another Bellmont returning champ is Will Busse, who won at 140 last year and is seeded third at 152 this year.
Meyer will be seeking a third heavyweight title.
For the Chargers, the top seeds are: Spencer Raypole at 189, Conner Lefever at 160, Reece Lefever at 152, Jon Timmerman at 145 and Logan Ables at 112 pounds. Jeff Enrieto at 171 and Matt McClure at heavyweight are second seeds. The Chargers have two third seeds and five fourth seeds.
Andrew Bowman of Homestead is the top seed at 103, Kody George of Homestead is No. 1 at 119 pounds and the Spartans Keelan Rushing is No. 1 at 125. East Noble's Bryson Nesbitt is the top seed at 130.
Bellmont won the dual meet as the Braves cashed in on falls and major wins. However, the teams split 7-7.
"We can't have anybody go in there, shut it down and wrestle poorly. We need to score in every weight class, pop as many as we can in the finals," said Faurote.
The coach doesn't know yet who is going to be the 189-pounder. Brad Busse came on strong at the Mishawaka tourney, finishing third and garnering a state ranking. However, Ben Baker beat Brad in a wrestle-off earlier this week, and the two will go at it again today to settle the issue. Faurote doesn't feel that Baker would lose that No. 2 seed because he also has a strong record, 9-2.
Isaac Birch lost a one-point match to Raypole in the dual meet before losing the slot to Busse.
Reece Lefever, Connor Lefever and Raypole are returning champs for Carroll. Andrew Bowman and Keelan Rushing are returning champs for Homestead.
Bellmont has one switch. Faurote will put Willie Mahlan down from 130 to 125, and Blake Adams will compete at 130, up one wieght class. Both wrestlers weigh about the same, and the switch might end up netting more points for the Braves.
The meet will begin at 9 a.m. on four mats with the semi-finals set for 10:15. The wrestle-backs will be held at 12:15 p.m. and the finals at 1:30.
The meet will be held in the new Carroll gymnasium.