Bellmont freshman 160-pounder Brett Baker hit a chin rip and flattened Homestead junior Brennan Durr in 3:14, starting a string of six straight wins as the No. 18 Bellmont Braves thumped Homestead 55-14 Thursday night, capping a perfect 7-0 NHC wrestling campaign.
"That wraps up another undefeated dual season in the conference, so now the challenge is to come back in a few weeks and win the tournament," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote.
The Braves, which have lost only one dual meet in the 22-year history of the conference, came in second to Carroll in last year's NHC tourney.
A tougher challenge will take place Saturday when the 17-2 Braves will host its annual "Main Event" with five state-ranked teams, plus Whitko and Fairfield slated to compete. The first whistle will be at 9 a.m. in the five-round affair.
After Brett Baker's six-pointer, his brother Landon followed with his strongest effort of the season, a 4:11 fall of Homestead David Strvelecki at 170. Brad Busse turned in the shortest match of the day as he pinned Conner Fleck in 27 seconds at 182. Ben Baker stopped Caleb Gardner in 1:21 at 195 and Isaac Birch switched to a headlock to flatten Zach Swartz in 1:29 at 220 pounds.
BHS junior Skyler Hayes locked up the head of 295-pound DeShawn Lewis with his left arm with seven seconds left in the heavyweight battle, scoring a five-pointer in a 9-4 victory.
Faurote was particularly pleased with four of the 10 BHS wins Thursday: Landon Baker's effort at 170, the varsity debut of Quinton Ganaway at 120, Willie Mahlan's quick fall at 138, and Hayes perseverance with a big challenge.
Keuneke was ill, but should be in the lineup Saturday. Senior heavyweight Brian Hakes missed the meet because of a hockey match, but will be there Saturday.