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Adams County will have six solid representatives, including returning placers Sawyer Miller of South Adams and Bellmont senior Brad Busse, in Friday night's preliminary round of the IHSAA State Wrestling Tournament.
Busse, seventh last year at 182 pounds, returns to that weight as a senior and will go in again as a semi-state champ. Miller took fourth as a freshman at 106 pounds and will be in the 113-pound class, coming in as a third-placer from Fort Wayne.
Action will start with the parade of champions at 5:35 p.m. followed by 6 p.m. wrestling at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Busse is Bellmont's only entry a year after taking four semi-state champs to Bankers. Miller is joined by 28-1 senior Lane Moser at 120 pounds, who makes his second straight trip to Indy. Adams Central's trio will be led by senior 126-pounder Cody Walburn, who is making his second trip in three years to the state finals. Senior Ben Pfister at 182 and sophomore Kaine Luginbill at 160 pounds are also in the tourney.
On Sunday, long-time BHS assistant wrestling coach John Friedt, who passed away two years ago this month, will be inducted into the Indiana Coaches Association Hall of Fame for his nearly four decades of contributions to Bellmont wrestling at literally all levels.
"Brad is wrestling well right now and he's definitely one of those kids in the hunt for the championship," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote.
"We're not looking past anybody, but Brad is definitely capable of winning that division. There's no one who stands out as head and shoulders above the rest."
Busse had to defeat Adams Central senior Ben Pfister in championship matches the last three weeks. A year ago, Pfister defeated Busse at sectional, and Busse came back to win at regional.
"I felt I wrestled great at semi-state, and I think this is the best that I've ever wrestled," said Busse. "I'm sure excited for Friday."
Busse, 88-12 with 62 falls for his career, will meet Fishers senior Seth Riley, 38-6, Friday. Two wins could put Busse against Perry Meridian's Jake Masengale, who defeated Busse in the Bellmont Super Dual.
"Masengale caught Busse with a headlock. We have to stay away from that. I like the way Busse is wrestling right now," said Faurote.
Matt Hurford, 5th at state a year ago and 44-0 for Culver Community, is on the other side with Pfister. Pfister, 103-26 for his career, will go against Brian Wagner of New Palestine. Second-rated Dakota Thacker of Bloomington South could be Pfister's second match. Busse defeated Thacker in the dual at BHS.
"I felt great all day at semi-state, close to 100 percent," said Pfister, who wears a brace on his left knee.
"I had a great day, it was just a good move on his (Busse's) part," he said of the second period fall.
"The way I look at it, I'm six minutes from the next level, and it's been the same the whole way through the tourney. That's all I need to focus on, the next guy, just do good for six minutes and beat that one guy."
"Pfister has a couple of winable matches," said Schultz.