I can't remember a stronger Bellmont Super Dual (Main Event) than took place Saturday in a 10-hour marathon.
Of course, the old Indiana's Best with Mater Dei, Bellmont and St. Ed's was no day at the park.
This was the real deal with as good a Bellmont dual team as the Braves have had in some years, plus a rock-solid No. 2 Perry Meridian team, and then the ever-budding Penn squad (varsity one).
Of course, defending champ and No. 6 Mishawaka gave the tourney some flavor, then there was No. 14 Bloomington South. Castle, out of the rankings for the first time in a couple of years, brought two No. 1 wrestlers in. Little guy Fairfield knocked off Castle, despite the three Welches, showing that they belong.
Bellmont coach Brent Faurote was not as effusive about the event.
"I'd have to say this is one of the tougher ones because the depth of these teams today was pretty good," said the coach.
"Perry came in and dominated. Look at the score up there, 54-10, over Mishawaka, and we scored 15 on them. Impressive. The competition is good for the kids and good for wrestling."
I feel the competition was a little much, especially coming a week after the Mishawaka tourney. This event tourney already pretty good when Perry Meridian jumped in a couple of years back after falling to Bellmont at Team State. Castle was a sub-in last year and decided to stay.
It's pretty mean. I know these are young men, full of energy, but the tank was running low for Bellmont be the time Penn hit the mat at about 5:30 p.m.
Of course, the Braves didn't have to wrestle the five toughest other teams in the tourney. No one else did. There's probably a reason.
It was good for the kids, and good for wrestling, I guess.
If tough competition will make the Braves a better team, then they ought to come out smoking in two weeks in the NHC tourney at Carroll. Some of the younger Bellmont wrestlers took some lumps, but the next time out they won't be facing that kind of competition.
It seems to have worked in the past.
Some things came out in the tourney Saturday. The Welch boys of Castle are not likely over rated. Doug and Chad are ranked No. 1 and looked like it. Bellmont's No. 1 Daniel Meyer continues to look comfortable dominating his class, and he hasn't made a mistake in recent matches that would put him in harm's way.
Ryley Hankenson continues to dominate, and he doesn't get frustrated when foes just try to survive and avoid the fall. That could be a factor in the team tourney.
Bobby Keuneke, the Bellmont 119-pounder, is definitely better than he thought he was. "I didn't think I was that good," Keuneke told me after his eighth place finish at Mishawaka. He looks like he believes now, as shown by his tech fall against Mishawaka Saturday.
Bellmont's Travis Thatcher had a rough day with the bloody nose and the penalty points.
"This doesn't change a thing for Travis. He still has the same goals, and he can accomplish them," stated coach Brent Faurote.
That looks like the same story for the Bellmont team. Beating Yorktown and going back to state look very reachable.