Two wins critical for countyâ€™s 24 semistate wrestlers
ZEKE ATTACKS â€” Zeke Schultz of Adams Central hits a takedown on his Union City foe last week at the Jay Regional. Schultz will be going for a second straight state wrestling berth Saturday at the Memorial Coliseum. (Photo by Jim Hopkins)
"The team's going on, so now it's a matter getting as many individual tickets as we can this weekend. The kids have to refocus and get ready with just two days of practice," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote Thursday night as his squad tries to put behind it the incredible performance in whipping No. 5 Yorktown and No. 8 Carroll at the AC Team Regional Wednesday.
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Bellmont has 10 wrestlers involved in the Woodlan Semistate Saturday while Adams Central and South Adams both have seven. The draws, of course, are crucial. The individual regional champions won't meet other champions until the semi-finals, and by then the state slots are locked in.
However, the draw is only part of it. "We've seen kids get through tough draws, and we've seen kids stumble when the draw looked good. It's a matter of putting two good matches together for all the kids," said Faurote.
With four regionals feeding into the Woodlan semistate, there are plenty of obstacles, even for the those having a great year. Bellmont heavyweight Daniel Meyer, seeking a third straight state slot, has 37-2 Dominique Stauffer of Elkhart Central in his quarter-bracket.
SA's Maverick Morningstar, a freshman, has a real shot at getting out at 285. He faces 18-8 Tyler Maine of Marion in the morning. At 215 pounds, Bellmont's Travis Thatcher is also looking for a third state bid. His quarter-bracket looks good, but he could meet Taylor Grubb of Prairie Heights in the semis. Grubb nipped Thatcher in the Al Smith Invitational finals.
"Thatcher has been doing some real good things lately. He just has to find a way to get a takedown on Grubb," noted Faurote.
Senior Ryley Hankenson has been having a great year for Bellmont at 39-1. Returning 171-pound champ and a state placer last year, Jackson Bratcher of Eastbrook looms on the opposite side of the bracket.
Adams Central has a couple of former state streeters who would like another shot at a state place in 145-pound Zeke Schultz, who went last year as a fourth-placer from semistate, and 152-pound Jarod Schwartz, who made it in '09 to state for a round. South Adams has former state streeter Josh Ehr, rated No. 2 at 152 pounds, back in the hunt after his disappointing ticket round loss last year.
Schwartz will meet 33-6 Zack Zurbrugg of New Haven in the opening round. The other two wrestlers in that quarter-bracket have a total of 26 losses.
Schultz will meet 26-2 Josh Seldenright of Howe.
The Jets regional champ, Derek Roe, has a good draw through the state round, but then is bracketed with 37-1 Kody George of Homestead. "I intend to win, and set up my state run," Roe said after stunning Chandler Carroll of Yorktown to win at Jay last week.
Ehr is 40-0 and opposite Schwartz, but he's on the same side as 36-0 Reese Lefever of Carroll. Bellmont's Will Busse is in a good quarter-bracket. He'll face 25-7 Isaac Steury of Leo.
At 160, Bellmont's John Mahlan is in good shape in his quarter-bracket, but is on the same side with unbeaten Connor Lefever of Carroll. Lefever will face Chantz Luginbill of AC in the opener.
After downing Cole VanHorn of Yorktown Wednesday, Bellmont's Brooks Faurote is a solid threat at 140.
Another regional champ coming in is Todd Batt of South Adams at 125. He's in a good quarter-bracket, but is on the same side with 43-1 Nick Crume of Jimtown. Unbeaten Chris Workman of Taylor is on the other side.