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As usual, the first Saturday of January was full of challenges for Adams County wrestlers, and for the most part they did great.
While Adams Central was winning it's own Super Dual — dabbling in the criteria chapter to get it done — South Adams was winning a 17-team invitational in Troy, Ohio, and Bellmont ... well, the Braves were put to the fire in what has to be the toughest one-day Super Dual in the state.
"Our guys aren't dummies. They saw the scores of the other Perry Meridian meets. They knew what they were in for. I just told the kids to go out there and battle, don't lay down. They didn't," said Bellmont coach Brent Faurote after his team fell 60-16 to the state's No. 1 team.
"We did get our butts kicked, but we won four matches and (Isaac) Birch was right there with a 3-0 lead before he got caught in a headlock," he added.
Sixteen points doesn't sound like much, but it's more than any other team has scored against Perry and their eight unbeaten wrestlers this season. Of course, after Bellmont Brooks Faurote got through with Riley McClurg at 145, there were only seven unbeatens
For likely Brooks Faurote's best effort of a grand season, I'm naming him Outstanding Wrestler for the 2012 Main Event. Few would argue that.
"Bellmont did a helluva job," said Perry coach Jim Tonte. "They were without two of their starters, including (Bobby) Keuneke, who beat our kid last year, and still scored more points against us than anyone has this year. But we do have to do a better job at 145. We can't get beat like that," he said of Faurote's 11-2 major win.
"I haven't seen too many teams in the 24 years that I've coached that are strong from the bottom to the top like that. There are no weak spots. It's just a phenomenal group. It's January, three weeks from sectional, and half their wrestlers are unbeaten," said Faurote of the 14th rated team ... in the nation.
Tonte, who broke the ice with his first Team State title a year ago at Center Grove, is apparently poised to add some hardware to the same shelf. "We haven't seen Crown Point nor Mater Dei yet, and we don't match up all that well with Cathedral. We see them Thursday," said Tonte.
I can't imagine a team being stronger. It would have to be the perfect storm to take Perry down.
Overall, Bellmont went 2-3, losing to No. 10 Penn and No. 13 Bloomington South. The Braves had to come from a 27-6 deficit to beat rival Mishawaka, 34-30, to earn that second stripe.
And they won the match with just six wins, including impressive first-period pins by Brad Busse (15 seconds) and Ben Baker (38 seconds) to conclude the win, and earlier by Jon Poling (47 seconds), Faurote (44 seconds) and frosh Brett Baker (19 seconds). Dewey Melcher added an 8-0 major to avenge a loss from a week ago.
"We have to keep those other matches close to win like that, so it was a real team effort," said Faurote. Frosh Quinton Ganaway, Willie Mahlan, Landon Baker and Skyler Hayes at heavyweight wrestled well enough to win.
At Monroe, it also came down to the last two matches against Bishop Dwenger in the finals, and the Jets had to get falls from Cody Walburn and Derek Ellinger just to get to the criteria book. They did it ... with six seconds to spare. "Ellinger had his guy on his back five times and just couldn't flatten him out. He finally gets it," said AC coach Doug Schultz.
"Dwenger has always been our nemesis, so it was a great win for us," said Schultz. Dwenger won the old Adams Central Jet Invitational several times, as did Central and Northrop.
"Dwenger is always a tough, competitive match and you know those kids are going to give up. We just were coasting along and got pinned ... six times," said Schultz on the 37-36 victory, which puts the Jets at a sterling 25-2.
Derek Roe, who suffered his first loss of the season against Jared Wilson of Snider earlier in the day, scored a 4-1 win over Alex McDonald. Zeke Schultz (5-0) beat Carter DeLaney. Ben Pfister (5-0) scored a major with three third-period takedowns, Chantz Luginbill scored a fall with Andy Oliver put up five points with a tech fall for the Jets. Zac Yoder needed a late takedown for a 9-8 win. Obviously, every point was important in this one.
Among the big wins for the Jets was a 1:00 fall by Walburn over Erique Early of Snider. Luke Liter pinned Snider's Carsen Clarke, one of three falls on the day for the freshman 138-pounder. In the loss by Roe, his first, he was aggressive and was snared by Wilson's re-shots. He can come back and avenge that loss later.
At Troy, South Adams bursted out of the gate with a bunch of early wins, placing 12, including both winner Sawyer Miller at 106 and teammate Matt Nussbaum, whose only loss was to Miller in the semis.
"It was a really neat tournament. They let us put our JV kids into weight classes, where there were forfeits," said SA coach Eric Myers. "I was hoping Nussbaum and Miller would meet in the finals."
"L.J. Moser lost in the semi-finals to a Division 3 state qualifier 6-2. The kid is ranked 6th in Division 3.
"Batt looked great along with Miller. Jordan Landers went in unseeded and placed 4th, and Nathan Wynn was also unseeded and placed 6th," added the coach.
"They have already invited us back next year. I'm pretty sure we will go back. It was nice to see different teams, individuals, and officials."
MAIN NOTES: Though the pressure was on, there were some great performances by Bellmont wrestlers Saturday. Willie Mahlan was losing to Barlow of Bloomington late, then snared a headlock for a 5:38 fall... Against Whitko, Blake Adams escaped very late to force OT, then nailed a single-leg for a 7-5 win. Jacob Bergman hit a hard double-leg takedown and beat Perry's Nathan Warman 3-2...Ben Baker bounced back from an edge-of the mat, final-second weird loss to Bloomington and hit a power double on Perry Meridian's Devante Ash, depositing him to his back in 3:51...Landon Baker turned in a strong showing against Proctor of Mishawaka and led 8-6 late, but was caught and yielded a decision...Frosh sub Quinton Ganaway was leading Dane Johnson of Mishawaka 3-2 with seconds to go, but an attempted headlock went sour in a 4-3 loss.