Jets dominate mat; Braves 22-year streak over
STREAK STOPPERSâ€” Members of the squad, 13 of which qualified for the Jay County Regional, are shown above: (front row, L-R) Bailey Coyne, Isaiah Bollenbacher, Ben Pfister, Andy Oliver, Mason Call (kneeling)(2nd row, L-R) Alex Bollenbacher, Joe Fuelling, Hunter Bates, Cody Walburn, Kaine Luginbill, Derek Ellinger, Zac Yoder, Eli Hill and Luke Liter. (Photo by Jim Hopkins)
PORTLAND — Though Bellmont rallied to within five points of favored Adams Central after two rounds, the Jets closed ranks and put the tourney away in the wrestlebacks and rolled to a 40-point win to break Bellmont's 22-year sectional win skein Saturday at Jay County.
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Bellmont had turned back strong challenges many times in compiling the second-longest sectional mat streak in Indiana history, including a six-point win over the Jets last year, but it was a truly championship Central squad that was just too much for the Braves Saturday as the Jets added this tourney crown to their Class A state title and ACAC tourney win.
"Bellmont had won this for 22 years. Enough is enough," stated Adams Central senior 145-pounder Zac Yoder, one of four Central champions on the day.
"At the end of the semis, we were up just five, but in the wrestlebacks for third and fourth and in the consolations, our kids got it done," said Central head coach Doug Schultz.
"We knew we had the depth and 13 of our kids qualified for regional."
Cody Walburn scored a second straight sectional title for the Jets at 126 pounds while Derek Ellinger at 138, Yoder, and Kaine Luginbill at 160 all added individual titles. The Jets had three runners-up, four thirds and two fourths in rolling up 250.5 points to the 210.5 of Bellmont.
The Braves, with champs Trevor Gray at 106 and Brad Busse at 182, advanced nine to the Jay Regional with five seconds, a third and a fourth. Bellmont had three fifths and a sixth.
South Adams had repeat champs in sophomore Sawyer Miller at 113 and senior LJ Moser at 120, and junior Klayton Hinshaw took the crown at 170 as the Stars finished third with 187 points. Jay County's Kyle Garringer won for a second time in three years at 195 and heavyweight Eric Hemmelgarn repeated as champ as Jay finished fourth with 163.5 points.
Hemmelgarn pinned SA sophomore Mason Morningstar in the title match.
Ben Fiechter of Southern Wells remained unbeaten as he won 8-0 at 132 over Bellmont's Brock Braun, while Bluffton's Briar Gerber clipped SA senior Mavrick Morningstar 4-3 to take the 220-pound crown.
"We should consider ourselves fortunate that our kids have wrestled well when we got to this point and we continued that for 22 years," said Bellmont coach Brent Faurote.
"It was a good run. I'm proud of what Bellmont wrestling has done, and what I've done with it. It was a neat streak.
"Adams Central showed that they have a lot of heart and guts and they've wrestled like that all year. We knew we had a shot today and I wish we could've made it closer," said the BHS coach, pointing to the pivotal third round as the undoing of his team.
The Braves rallied from 28 points down after the first round and cut the lead by going 7-2 in the semi-finals and 11-3 overall. The Jets answered by going 6-0 in the next wrestle-back round, and four of those winners took thirds for the Jets. The Braves went just 2-4 in that round and fell back by more than 40 points.
"I'm so proud of this group. There's not a quitter on the team. They just score and win all the matches that they can possibly win, and that's what's got us by all year long," praised Schultz.