MISHAWAKA — Bellmont advanced three wrestlers, including unbeaten Brad Busse at 182 pounds, to Friday's placement round in the annual Al Smith Wrestling Invitational.
Freshman Daniel Gunsett went 4-1 at 113 pounds and advanced to the consolation side of the bracket for the Braves, as did Logan Neher at 152 pounds. Neher went 4-1 as well.
The Braves sit in seventh place after the opening day's matches, but it was close to being a better showing as four Bellmonters came within a match of advancing. Trevor Gray at 106, Brock Braun at 132, Fletcher Shaneyfelt at 195 and Cody Fields at 285 all went 3-2 on the day, while Diego Hutker went 2-2 at 126 pounds.
The Braves finished sixth a year ago and had four advancing, though Brooks Faurote and Ben Baker won titles.
"This is the kind of season we've been having, but we did gain some valuable experience today," said Bellmont coach Brent Faurote.
"The kids found out today exactly what its going to take to get where we want to go."
Penn leads the tourney with 154 points to the 139 of Merrillville, 123 of host Mishawaka and 116 of Center Grove. Elkhart Memorial is fifth at 108, followed by the 103 of Peru and 100 points of Bellmont. Laporte is seventh at 97, Goshen has 96 points guaranteed while Chesterton and Columbus East are tied at 94.5.
Garrett is in 22nd place with 59 points.
Merrillville has seven in the championship bracket and one in the consolation bracket. Penn has eight wrestlers in the final four and two more in the consolations. Mishawaka has five in the top four and three in the consos. Elkhart Memorial has four in the top four and three more in the consolation bracket.
Busse scored three falls, getting Jon Feliciano of Merrillville in 3:31, Jockque Floyd of Lawrence North in 4:40 and Alex Tucker of Lake Central in 3:50.
Busse, 14-0, was to meet 15-1 Tony Rodriguez of Hobart in the semi-finals. The other two grapplers are 18-1 top seed Tanner Adams of Jimtown and 21-2 Kaine Jenkins of Elkhart Memorial.