"We told the kids at the start of the year that there would be adversity, we just didn't know where. As it turns out it comes with the injury to Brooks. We were the team to beat, it just didn't happen," stated veteran Bellmont assistant coach Tim Myers after the Al Smith Classic last week at Mishawaka.
Bellmont, with nine placers and three making to the finals, led most of the way, but yeilded in the end to Penn by three points.
It was a disappointment for Bellmont and for coach Brent Faurote, whose son Brooks broke his hand in the semis on Thursday morning.
"We hadn't won the tourney since 2003, so it was something we really wanted to do," said coach Faurote. "But you can't fault these kids and what they did. We walked out of there disappointed, but knowing that it really was a pretty good effort our of everybody. We wrestled almost to the best of our ability."
Bellmont did learn a lot of things from the annual Mishawaka slugfest, besides a reminder of disappointment in the loss of Brooks and probably at least eight points. Senior Ryley Hankenson took the defending state champ (Drake Stein) down twice in the first period, and now he knows that he can beat the guy, and anybody else at 171 pounds. Brad Busse, who opened his varsity career at Mishawaka, turns out is a tough guy who can pin under pressure as he battered his way back to third at 189 after an opening loss. Daniel Meyer can tighten things up and wait for his best chance, as demonstrated in his handling of the heavyweight division. Bobby Keuneke is better than he thought he was as he finished eighth at 119. Travis Thatcher faced the meanest looking guy he's going to meet this year, and was right there to the final double-attempt.
It's also evident that Penn is not going away, with Coach Brad Harper declaring that the win may have turned the corner for the Kingsmen. He has 100 wrestlers out and sends out as many as three teams to varsity meets on a Saturday.
We're assuming he's going to bring his first team to Bellmont this coming Saturday.
"You have to make them feel important, from the lowest kid to the highest kid, and I want to get each kid in the program 30 matches," said Harper, on his ability to keep a huge wrestling room overflowing. Of course, having 1500 boys to pick from doesn't hurt.
Mishawaka could have all it can handle right in its own back yard.