By JIM HOPKINS
Senior Shea Pyle, originally thought to be out for the season, recently received clearance to wrestle for the 11-4 South Adams Starfires, who will visit the 12-5 Braves tonight at the Teepee.
While South Adams coach Eric Myers calls Pyle "questionable" at 160 pounds, the Starfires will be without unbeaten senior standout LJ Moser, normally at 120 or 126 pounds. Moser is serving a suspension but is expected to be back in the lineup for the Starfires' ACAC dual with Southern Wells.
The Braves come off a 41-26 loss to county rival Adams Central on Tuesday. It was the first win for the Jets over the Braves since the 1989-90 season. The Starfires have never beaten Bellmont in a dual.
"We're expecting another good match," stated Bellmont coach Brent Faurote.
South Adams went 27-0 two years ago, and last year took on the Braves for the first time in over 35 years. South Adams is rated No. 4 in Class A and will participate in the first annual IHSWCA State Team Duals this Saturday at Westfield High School.
"We're fairly healthy and we've had a solid week of practice," reports Myers, in his eighth year with the Stars.
"We're excited about the team state, but our No. 1 priority is Bellmont."
Though it was unthinkable just a few years ago that South Adams could challenge perennial state power Bellmont in wrestling, Myers has brought his program around while Bellmont lost 11 starters and has only 25 on its roster this year, including 12 freshmen. Bellmont lost a pair of NHC meets this year, only the second and third dual meet losses in 24 years of NHC competition.
The Stars won't be hurting at 120 and 126 as sophomore Matt Nussbaum is 9-4 at 120, and Eric Pimentel, normally at 132, is 11-4 and shifts down. Frosh Drew Pollard, 1-4, will go at 132.
Pyle, originally expected to be one of the standouts for the Stars this year, could face Bellmont sophomore Brett Baker, now 13-4.
The Stars will be led by sophomore Sawyer Miller, fourth in the state last year at 106 and 15-0 this season at 113. He'll go against talented BHS frosh Daniel Gunsett, 13-4.
Myers lists junior Andrew Beachey, 6-3, as the heavyweight starter ahead of sophomore Mason Morningstar, who has been dealing with a knee injury all season and is 4-2. Senior Mavrick Morningstar, 11-4, will be at 220.
Like Adams Central, the Starfires sometimes forfeit the 195-pound class. Junior Klayton Hinshaw, 14-1, can go at either 182 or 195. The same is true for 11-0 BHS senior Brad Busse.
Sophomore Boaz Marbach is 11-4 at 138, and will face BHS senior Willie Mahlan, 11-6.
All indications are that the match will be very close. The Starfires lost to the No. 1 Class A Jets earlier 46-23.