"We deserved it," declared Bellmont junior Brooks Faurote, standing amidst the victory celebration at the Adams Central Team Wrestling Regional Wednesday night.
That they did. Brent Faurote's incredible Bellmont Braves turned the tables on No. 5 Yorktown and No. 8 Carroll to grab their 15th Team Regional Wrestling title, reclaiming a spot at Team State that the Yorkies took from them a year ago.
Everyone did their part as the Braves overturned a loss to Yorktown earlier to score a stunning 30-28 win in the opener. The Braves then quickly regrouped and dispatched a very strong Carroll team in the final, winning nine matches in a 36-23 title win.
The victory clinched the 14th Team State slot for Bellmont wrestling, a record the Braves share with Evansville Mater Dei. The Braves will face Penn in the opening round of Team State Wrestling at Center Grove on Feb. 26.
Key players in the latest Bellmont upset saga were Brooks Faurote, who knocked off Yorktown's hired gun, Cole VanHorn, the amazing Anthony Stebing, who lost one match by a point and then knocked off a regional champ, and Bobby Keuneke, who was on the mat to clinch both wins for the No. 9 Braves.
All Keuneke had to do was not get pinned or lose by tech fall at 119 pounds to Chandler Carroll of Yorktown, and he did that with a 10-4 loss in the final match of that meet. So pumped was the mat official that he raised Keuneke's hand afterwards, confirming the Bellmont victory. Keuneke then majored Carroll's Beau Blanchard 12-4 to assure the BHS crown in the next round as they huge BHS crowed celebrated at the Hangar.
"It's one of the great wins for the Bellmont program. It's right up there," stated Coach Faurote. "It'll be a shame if they take this away. There's so much more coaching, so much more strategy, and every kid is important," added, referring to the IHSAA's apparent intent to do away with Team State Wrestling.
"I'm thrilled for this group of guys going to the state tourmanent. We are one of the final eight teams again and we earned it and beat two good teams to get there, two teams that were ranked ahead us and had beaten us before. It's a neat win for the program. I'm glad for these kids to experience being regional champs and going to state," added the coach.
Brooks then did his thing, avenging a 1-0 loss Saturday to VanHorn. He draped around VanHorn for a second period takedown and got another in period three in the 6-2 win.
Then came the stunner. "I had it figured several ways, but always with Yorktown coming out on top. I told the kids someone had to step up, and it was Anthony Stebing," said Coach Faurote. "He's the Most Valuable Wrestler of this tourney."
Stebing yielded three takedowns to the regional champ, then got his own to cut the score to 6-5 at the end of the first. It was a dogfight the rest of the way with Hiestand scoring a 13-12 win. Later in the night, Stebing was too much for Carroll's regional champ, Jon Timmerman, in a 14-6 rout. Earlier in the year, Stebing had been pinned by Timmerman. The decision loss was one of the key factors and certainly sent the Chargers back on their heels.
"I don't know ... I just let everything flow tonight. I got in a scramble and just kept working," explained the senior.
Bellmont led 18-13 as the No. 1 heavyweight in the state, Daniel Meyer, came to the mat at 215, then felled Chase Edwards with a headlock in 1:02. Travis Thatcher bumped up to heavyweight and thumped Yorkie sub Matt Murray to his back in 1:39 as the Braves built a 30-13 lead.
With three matches to go, Yorktown needed three falls to win. They got two, but Keuneke was too much for Chandler Carroll. Keuneke later said that the loss felt a whole lot like a huge win, and chuckled about the official raising his hand.
"This is 100 percent Bellmont wrestling, down to the nitty-gritty. All team effort," described Daniel Meyer.
"I thought everybody stepped up and did something for us," said Thatcher.
"We did what we had to do. Now we're moving on."