MISHAWAKA — "It was by far my most favorite match that I've ever had...in my life," stated Bellmont senior 220-pounder Fletcher Shaneyfelt after he outhustled and outsmarted his South Bend Riley foe, Tremayne Perryman, 11-8 in the final Bellmont match of the day, earning him at least an eighth place in the 32-team Al Smith lnvitational.
And he wasn't the only Bellmonter to excel as the Braves far exceeded their expectations with having only three wrestlers seeded, advancing seven to today's placement round, including winners' bracket wrestlers Daniel Gunsett at 120 and frosh Bryce Baumgartner at 160 pounds.
Going 4-1, along with Shaneyfelt, were: Mason Mendez at 106, Jon Becker at 113, Logan Neher at 145, and Brett Baker at 170. Bellmont is guaranteed 117.5 points and that total is good enough for fourth place so far in the two-day tournament. Defending champ Penn leads with 169 points and all 14 wrestlers still going, eight on the winners' side, while Merrillville is second at 130.5 followed by the 126.5 of Warren Central.
Host Mishawaka is fifth at 107, Central Grove is at 100, and Lowell 99.5.
"I'm really pleased," stated BHS coach Brent Faurote, who spend his day in the auxiliary gym with the wrestlers from 160 on up.
"Just this last round we had had eight guys still battling and five won. We had only three kids seeded, a fourth and two eighths, and we've got seven guys going on."
Faurote praised Shaneyfelt, who brought a 2-5 record into one of the toughest regular season affairs in the state. He's now 6-6, and ready. Perryman is now 18-9.
"Fletcher had a good day going, had won three wrestleback matches, then pulls off a big win in the last match of the day in this gym. He got down early, fought back, scored a takedown and nearfall, turned the kid one other time, and held him off. It was by far the best match he's ever wrestled. He was mistake free against a solid kid...a very good win," lauded the coach.
Shaneyfelt went to his back early and was down 5-0. He scored a reversal at the end of period one, nailed a tilt to start period two, then just kept scoring. When he stood up to start period three, it was tied at 7-7, then he took Riley down and again turned him over for the key nearfall in the 11-8 win.