Is this the year the rest of northeast Indiana catches up with Bellmont?
The Braves made an appearance in the team state quarterfinals last year – the last such event for the IHSAA because of rule changes – but graduation took a lot of talent from the perennially strong program.
Adams County, though, won’t be short on wrestling talent.
Bellmont’s neighbors to the south, Adams Central and South Adams, look strong this season.
Here’s a look at some of the wrestlers, teams and stories to follow in 2012-13:
Hayden Lee, Garrett: The junior finished third at state last year at 106 pounds.
Zach Krumlauf, DeKalb: The junior was a state qualifier last year at 120 last year, eighth at 103 in 2011 and is 132 this season.
Anthony Linnear, North Side: The senior is No. 3 at 182 and was third at 170 at state last year.
Kyle Jolas, Huntington North: The junior is ranked No. 6 at 145 this year.
Frank Martin, Homestead: The senior is ranked fourth at 160 after being a state qualifier at 152 in 2011.
Adams Central: The Jets came in as the preseason No. 1 team in the Class A rankings behind Cody Walburn (126), Derek Ellinger (138) and Ben Pfister (182).
South Adams: Sophomore Sawyer Miller (113) helps the Starfires check in at No. 2 in the Class A preseason poll.
Bellmont: The Braves lost eight seniors from last year, but senior Brad Busse (195) returns.
Snider: Junior Erique Early (120) returns for the SAC and sectional champions.
Leo: The 2A preseason No. 9 Lions have senior Nolan Wilson (220), who is ranked No. 5 in the state.
No team tournament: The IHSAA will no longer sponsor a separate team tournament for the first time in 16 years. A state team champion will now be determined by individual points built up in the state individual finals.
Another Lefever: In keeping up the family tradition, Carroll senior Riley Lefever is ranked No. 3 at 170.
Fill-in for Nix: Dwenger will try to replace Michael Nix, the school’s all-time leader in wins. One candidate is three-time SAC champion Ben Evans at 182.
Fiechter family: Senior Ben Fiechter and his three brothers, who all wrestled at Southern Wells, have accumulated a 469-90 record among the four of them.
Small-school success: In the Class A preseason poll, northeast Indiana teams had four of the top 10 spots in Adams Central (No. 1), South Adams (No. 2), Churubusco (No. 3) and Fremont (No. 10).