FORT WAYNE — In its 25th and most likely final NHC wrestling contest with perennial state power Bellmont, Carroll did something Thursday night that it has never done before: win.
Taking charge of the 2012-13 NHC wrestling dual-meet competition, the favored Chargers scored five falls in the first eight matches, then added another pin later in a convincing 49-24 win over the Braves.
"They took it to us," said BHS assistant coach Paul Gunsett.
"Right now they're just a little bit better than us ... I guess a lot better. They're stronger, more physical ... these guys look pretty solid. They really didn't have any weak spots in the lineup."
The Carroll victory Thursday, along with their previous come-from-behind 34-30 win over East Noble, puts Scott Raypole's Chargers in great shape to take the dual-meet portion of the NHC as they go to 5-0. Bellmont slipped to 4-2, having lost this past Saturday to East Noble. Carroll is 10-0 overall and Bellmont 12-4.
It was the second NHC loss in a week, and the third in 25 years for Bellmont, which lost 11 starters through graduation and brought back only four current seniors. There are only four sophomores on the roster as well, but 12 freshmen.
"We knew, whether I was in charge or Paul, we were going to lose to teams we haven't lost to in many years," stated veteran BHS mentor Brent Faurote.
"This is a very good Carroll team. In the old team format, they are probably going through our regional. We don't have an answer for them, and Yorktown doesn't either. Carroll could have been in the final eight this year," said the coach. The IHSAA cancelled the State Team Wrestling Tourney this year after 17 years.
"I was hoping to win a few more matches. It was a good old fashion butt-kicking like we have administered over the years, but we took one tonight," admitted Faurote.
The future of the rivalry is in doubt with news this week that the NHC is likely in its last year as a group of athletic directors meet with the intention of locking out NHC big boys Carroll and Homestead.
Suspense never materialized as the Chargers jumped out 28-6, scoring falls at 160 with senior Spencer Malcom, at 170 with unbeaten Riley Lefever, a major win by Kayne Duncan at 182, then falls at 220 by Brad Sadelik and at heavyweight with Ty Douglas.
The only BHS points in that run was the 24-second dump by unbeaten BHS senior Brad Busse at 195 over Carroll's Corey Rickman.
Bellmont's Trevor Gray hit a tight cradle to score a 1:47 fall at 106 to cut the lead to 28-12, but Bellmont never got that close again. Frosh Daniel Gunsett was leading Ben Cauffman 4-2 in the second period, but was reversed and pinned in 3:41.
After Bellmont frosh Danny Baker turned in a solid 5-4 performance to beat Joe Israbian at 120, Carroll's undefeated senior Steven Cardenas felled Diego Hutker in 3:31 for a 40-15 lead.