Early swing wins boost Penn by Braves, 35-20

    GREENWOOD — Penn wrestlers Sarah Hildebrandt at 112 and Jacob Davis at 119 pounds scored key come-from-behind wins over Bellmont's Jacob Girod and Bobby Keuneke to shift the momentum, propelling the Kingsmen to a 35-20 win over the Braves the Wrestling Team State quarter-finals Saturday morning at Center Grove.
    Penn lost in the next round as Perry Meridian's Sam Tasseff roared to a 10-9 win over Mike Ham in the final match (189), then the Falcons went on to jump Lawrence North 44-21 to cop the first-ever wrestling crown for Coach Jim Tonte.
    "We didn't get any breaks at 119 or 145, but Penn wrestled well. They came in here and did what they had to do," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote.
    "Yeah, I'm disappointed because I wanted to make it to the final four, but I can't fault the effort. The kids worked hard and gave us everything they could. We just came up a little short."
    After a 14-point third period by senior Travis Thatcher at 215, and a fall by heavyweight Daniel Meyer, Bellmont led 10-3. The Kingsmen got the expected fall at 103, then Girod took the mat against the first girl ever to compete in a state meet in Indiana, Hildebrandt.
    Girod earned the first takedown early against Hildebrandt, but the senior escaped with 12 seconds left in period one. Girod was called for locked hands, yielding a penalty point, then let Hildebradt go. The key point in that match came when Girod went for control at the edge of the mat. Hildebrandt countered, kicking her hips up over Girod's legs and winning the battle to take a 5-2 lead in the eventual 7-2 win.
    Keuneke was all over Davis with several early shots, and did lead 2-1. From the top, going for nearfall and in a scramble, Keuneke also was hit with a penalty point, tying the match. A third period takedown put Keuneke up, but he lost control and a Davis reversal with 26 seconds left gave the match to him 5-4.
    "Again, we got a bad break with the penalty point, but we were in several times and couldn't score. Penn did a good job of scoring on reshots," said Faurote.
    "Losing at 112 and 119 hurt. This sport is a lot about momentum. It's contagious. They're over there feeling good with two big wins. It goes through the team and they got on that roll," explained Faurote.
    "Emotions were running high. I talked to the team about stepping up and rising to the occasion, and our team did that as a whole," stated Penn coach Brad Harper.
    The losses at 112 and 119 started a run of seven straight wins, including a 5-0 loss by Brooks Faurote at 140 to Dan Ginter of Penn, and 9-8 loss by Anthony Stebing at 145 when he appeared to have the winning takedown at the buzzer against Grant Anglemeyer.
    The 145-pound decision made it 35-10 for Penn. It was over.
    Faurote argued for Stebing, the only one of six BHS seniors not to record a win. "The picture in the (rule) book shows it. Stebing's down on his hips, and even though the Penn kid has his hands locked on his ankle, it's clearly a takedown. They've called it that way all year. The ref said he didn't see it that way," said the BHS coach.
    Going in, Faurote felt that the swing matches were 112, 119, 140, and 145. Penn won all of them.
    "There were plenty of places I thought we could get wins, and we didn't. We only won five matches, we closed the gap a little from the earlier match, but they were just the better team today," said the coach.
    Coach Faurote praised his son Brooks for coming back from his broken hand. "It was a tough year for Brooks. Fortunately, he was able to come back, and gets the two big wins for us at Team Regional. If he's not in the lineup, we're not here," lauded the coach.
    Senior Will Busse reversed Mike Hummer, who had finished eighth in the state at 152 last Saturday, and turned him in period two, and went on to an 11-6 win. He won two of three matches against Hummer this year.
    John Mahlan closed out his Bellmont career with a 7-1 whipping of Phillip Treely at 160, and Ryley Hankenson handled David Stevens 14-4.
    "It was nice to be back here at Team State again. We closed the gap on Penn, and we were here competing with the top eight teams in the Indiana," said Faurote.
    "We battled and went through some adversity to get here. We avenged a couple of losses, went through as assistant coach passing away on us, and we battled. I'm proud of this team effort. It's been a good group of seniors," said Faurote, whose wrestlers came out wearing Bellmont shirts that honored late coach John Friedt.
    "And we've already challenged our juniors. I told them, 'it's up to you guys if we want to get back here and experience this again."

Penn 35, Bellmont 20
189-Mike Ham (P) d. Ben Baker 5-3
215-Travis Thatcher (B) m.d. Devin Reagan 14-5
285-Daniel Meyer (B) p. Kade Maggert 3:44
103-Zack Davis (P) p. Richards 1:27
112-Sarah Hildebrandt (P) d. Jacob Girod 7-2
119-Jacob Davis (P) d. Bobby Keuneke 5-4
125-Tyler Chapple (P) p. Blake Adams 3:26
130-Trevor Manspeaker (P)  d. Willie Mahlan 7-1
135-Alex Gregory (P) t.f. Dewey Melcher 15-0
140-Dan Ginter (P) d. Brooks Faurote 5-0
145-Grant Anglemeyer (P) d. Anthony Stebing 9-8
152-Will Busse (B) d. Mike Hummer 11-6
160-John Mahlan (B) d. Phillip Treely 7-1
171-Ryley Hankenson (B) m.d. David Stevens 14-4