Braves top Cavemen; Falcons, Kingsmen go 5-0

    Brad Busse came off of his back and pancaked Mishawaka's Trey Taylor, capping 48 seconds of pinning fury and igniting Bellmont to a 38-30 victory over the defending state champs Saturday at the BHS Main Event Super Dual.
    The Braves also downed No. 14 Bloomington South, 43-21, and took out two-time state finalist Castle, 39-31, before losing to No. 2 Perry Meridian and No. 7 Penn to go 3-2 on a very tough day on the mat.
    Brad Busse's win was just the start of the match between the No. 9 Braves and the No. 6 Cavemen. Travis Thatcher took a forfeit at 215 and Daniel Meyer felled Braxton Eby in 2:33 for an 18-0 BHS start. Bobby Keuneke later scored a 16-1 tech fall, then Mishawaka rattled off five straight wins to take the lead.
    "We hadn't beat Mishawaka in five of six years, so I told those three seniors, this was their chance to step up and get it done. They did just that," said Bellmont coach Brent Faurote of Will Busse at 152, John Mahlan and Ryley Hankenson.
    Will Busse charged out and handled Brian Weldon in 1:35 to put Bellmont within a point. John Mahlan hit a few takedowns on Sam Abu-shehab and rode him out for an 8-3 win, and that left the match in the very capable hands of senior Ryley Hankenson. He put the icing on the cake after a double-leg takedown, locking down Robert Norris is 3:35.
    That was the third straight win on the day for the Braves, which faced four ranked teams and Castle, which had been rated until this week. Running low on gas and facing very strong teams in Perry Meridian and Penn, the Braves fell 52-15 and 46-15.
    "We'd like to have wrestled close with Perry and Penn, and I think we could cut that margin against Penn, but Perry is just solid. I told Coach Tonte that I'm going to vote his team No. 1 this week. I haven't seen (No. 1) Crown Point, but I can't imagine them having more than Perry," said Faurote.
    Both the Falcons and the Kingsmen went 5-0 on the day. They had wrestled earlier in the year, with Perry Merdian winning.
    "After those first two matches I though we were really wrestling well, with the only loss I was disappointed in was the (John) Mahlan loss (5-4) against South. We were winning all the ones I thought we would, and a few more. It's nice that kids wrestled with some pride. What I'm seeing is that we are definitely improving, and that's why we have these meets," said Faurote, whose Braves are now 20-4.
    After four straight wins in the upper weights, the lightweight Bellmonters came through big against South with five straight victories, starting with Jacob Girod's 2-0 win over Zach Runyon. Keuneke, who went 4-1 with a great day, scored a 2:40 fall, then Blake Adams had a 7-4 win over Dru Spires at 125.
    Willie Mahlan downed Bryce Vandivier 5-1 and Dewey Melcher was all over Seth Seitzinger for a 14-4 major.
    The Braves opened strong against Castle as Hankenson, who went 5-0, scored a 12-5 decision over Austin Warren. Ben Baker subbed in at 189 and felled Brian Plassmeier in 2:31, and Isaac Birch had a short day at 215, zapping Alex Iber in 43 seconds. Daniel Meyer, who also went 5-0, took a forfeit.
    Blake Adams, Melcher and Anthony Stebing all had wins in the key dual victory.
    "With the quality of teams here, any time you go 5-0 it's a great day," noted Meridian's Jim Tonte. "Mishawaka had a tough day, but they had some kids out and they'll bounce back. We have room for improvement, but our kids showed a lot of heart."
    "We had a hard team getting any extra points in the matches we did win. That's a real solid team," said Faurote of Tonte's Falcons.
    "A lot of our kids stepped up, and some avenged losses from last week. We knew we had to wrestle well against Bellmont or it could have gone the other way," said Penn's Brad Harper. "We're very proud of the kids."
     Penn's Mike Hummer avenged his loss to Will Busse at 152, by catching Busse for a fall. Devin Reagan at 215 eventually won by injury default over Bellmont's Travis Thatcher when the Bellmonter ran out of blood time, fighting off a bloody nose. He trailed 2-1 after a strange penalty point when the Penn wrestler went out of bounds.
    "It's just a dual loss. It doesn't change any of Thatcher's goals," said Faurote.
    Bellmont is now off until the NHC meet with Carroll on Jan. 22.