"We need a little more attitude on the mat," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote on his evaluation of his team from last week's narrow loss to Carroll at the NHC Tournament.
"We didn't have that extra toughness. It was attitude more than anything. In some of the key matches we had kids that looked like they were going through the motions instead of wrestling with pride and guts."
Bellmont will be looking for it's 21st straight sectional wrestling championship, all under Faurote, Saturday at Jay County. The ninth-rated Braves will be tested by No. 17 South Adams, which is fresh off of it's victory in the ACAC Tourney.
On the line is a spot in the Feb. 2 Adams Central Team Regional. The Jay winner will meet the Delta winner, which will be No. 5 Yorktown. The Tigers snapped Bellmont's 12-year skein of going to Team State a year ago.
The Braves come in with five top seeds, three No. 2 seeds, and six returning champs from the 2010 squad, which had nearly a 100-point victory over the Starfires.
South Adams has four top seeds, including unbeaten senior Josh Ehr at 152 pounds, and a pair of No. 2 seeds.
"We want to take it up another notch, and score in all the weight classes, get as many champs and as many guys into the finals as we can so they can set up their regional the following week," offered Faurote.
On paper, the Starfires don't have enough star power to stay with the Braves.
"It's nice to be mentioned in the same sentence with Bellmont," stated sixth-year SA coach Eric Myers. "But if we're not ready to go, we're going to lose by a hundred points again."
Unbeaten Bellmont heavyweight Daniel Meyer, ranked No. 1 in the state at heavyweight, will be looking for a third straight sectional crown, as will 215-pound senior Travis Thatcher, who moves up a class after netting a pair of 189-pound titles.
Brooks Faurote at 140, John Mahlan at 160, and Ryley Hankenson at 171 are all returning champs for the Braves, and all are up one weight class. Last year's 171-pound champ, senior Anthony Stebing, dropped three classes to 145 pounds and enters as a non-seeded grappler, directly in the path of South Adams senior No. 1 T.J. Burnfield.
Ehr was the only SA champ last year. Junior Todd Batt at 125, and senior Ga
The top four wrestlers in each class will advance to the Jay County Regional. Action will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Adams Central has returning champs Cody Walburn, Derek Roe, and Jarod Schwartz. Walburn and Roe go up a class to 112 and 119 pounds respectively. Roe is a top seed while Walburn was not seeded this past Monday. He's expected to get his doctor's release (broken hand) this week and could inherit the No. 3 seed given to teammate Josh Thieme.
Schwartz is seeded second to Ehr after losing a one-point decision in the dual meet.