"Landon knows how to wrestle and he's just now showing it," stated cousin Ben Baker Saturday after an unseeded Landon Baker made it to the 170-pound finals of the NHC Tournament, losing in overtime.
Ben had the win of the day, finally getting his man Spencer Raypole of Carroll in his fourth try with a takedown in the final ticks of the clock at 195 pounds.
However, the surprise of the day was Landon Baker shaking out of a season of doldrums as he knocked off the No. 4 and No. 1 seed in the tourney to earn his shot at victory. Landon's 6-4 win over DeKalb's Garrison Snyder in the semis had a doubling factor as he racked up key points while denying Snyder points for DeKalb, the team that looked to give Bellmont a run for its money Saturday.
"Landon's a dangerous kid with a losing record right now," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote. "It's good to see him wrestling up to his ability. He's been looking good in the practice room."
Ben Baker, however, was the Daily Democrat Outstanding NHC Wrestler as he finally closed the deal on the slippery Raypole. He needed the full six minutes to do it. "The timing was perfect. He didn't have to worry about riding," stated BHS assistant coach Paul Gunsett.
NHC NOTES: 19 of the 29 slots in the championship round belonged to Bellmont (6), E. Noble (6) and DeKalb (7). Obviously, nobody got much help. 36 of the 56 placement slots were won by the big three...BHS frosh Trevor Gray won only one match, placing sixth, but kept DeKalb from scoring at that weight.
Officials Hold Onto Whistles
After watching most of the first round at the ACAC Tourney Saturday, then watching the final two rounds of the NHC ... well, it was evident that the officials were reluctant to move things along. I did not see one stalling warning given, and it wasn't because hundreds of wrestlers were inspired to go all out.
"Ben Pfister lost a takedown on a scramble in the first period, and the kid (Cody Conrad) just stalled us out. He could have been called for fleeing the mat," said AC coach Doug Schultz on the 182-pound final at Monroe.
"The only fleeing the mat call that I saw was against us along the edge of the mat, and I agreed with the call. The refs were just reluctant to call stalling all day," added Schultz.
Pfister, 33-2, is the top seed over Bellmont's Brad Busse (31-2) for this week's Jay Sectional.
Congratulations for the Jets on taking charge of the ACAC Tourney, adding the tourney crown to their regular season 7-0 mark. Schultz and assistant Tony Currie have worked their tails off to get the Jets back to the top, and it has paid off.