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Brother Martin and Louisiana Wrestlers Dominate Trey Culotta



The Brother Martin Crusaders, with seven champions and one runner-up, dominated the competition at the Trey Culotta Invitational Saturday.

Mason Mauro, Taylor Gambill, Paul Klein and Austin Meyn won the first four finals matches of the day.  They were followed later by wins from Daniel Albrecht, Kyle Delaune and Ross Brister.  Josh Tapia added a second-place finish, pushing the Crusaders to a 235 point margin of victory over Catholic, their nearest competitor.  The Crusaders scored 909 points to Catholic's 674.

Brother Martin was missing Dominic Casadaban at 138 lbs. and Tyler Robertson at 145 lbs.  In their stead Daniels Evans and Patrick Hoppe fared just fine, taking 5th at 138 lbs. and 3rd at 145 lbs. respectively.  The Crusaders had additional 3rd place finishers in Mason Williams at 132 lbs. and Devin LeBlanc at 160 lbs., a 4th place finish by Yehia Riles at 195 lbs. and a 5th place finish by Jordan Giroir at 152 lbs.  Even Crusader wrestlers not wrestling for Crusader points did well.  Stephen Rumney at 106 lbs., Wade Nash at 126 lbs. and Aaron Gambino at 182 lbs. each placed 4th, leading a team of "Unattached" wrestlers which outscored three of the participating school teams.

The addition of Casadaban (unbeaten this season) and Robertson (one loss in overtime this season) would have been interesting as their 138 lb. and 145 lb. weight classes were won by James Claitor of Catholic and David Englehardt of St. Paul's, respectively, both of whom are undefeated so far this year. 

(All photos enlarge when clicked.)

Catholic's Brandon Luckett, the Outstanding Wrestler Award winner, stops Ricky Regas from escaping in the 160 lbs. finals match. Brother Martin's 285 lb. Ross Brister shoots for a single in his finals match against Vestavia Hills, AL's Jahaad Jackson, on his way to winning the tournament and the Trey Culotta Award.

Not that Brother Martin needs any help to be considered favorites to repeat as Division I state champions, but of the nine times a Louisiana team has won the Trey Culotta Invitational, the winning team went on to win the Division I state championship seven times.

Four out-of-state teams participated this year: Vestavia Hills of Alabama, who won the tournament in 2008, Houston of Germantown, Tennessee, St. Thomas of Houston, Texas, and Shawnee High School in Oklahoma.  Shawnee had a champion in Daylan Stuteville at 152 lbs. and had runners-up at 113 lbs., 120 lbs. and 195 lbs.  Vestavia Hills had a champion in Dalton Campbell at 220 lbs. and a runner-up at 145 lbs.  St. Thomas had a runner-up at 160 lbs.  Vestavia Hills placed 3rd with 657 points followed by Shawnee in 4th place with 655 points.

Jesuit placed 5th (618) followed by St. Paul's (506), East Ascension (388), St. Thomas (356), Fontainebleau (339), Houston, TN (248), Mandeville (216) and Archbishop Shaw (129).  Technically, a team of "Unattached" wrestlers, comprised of extra wrestlers in weight classes other schools could not fill, placed 10th with 334 points.

No one who participates in the Trey Culotta Invitational goes "two and out."  Friday can be considered a day of attrition.  With few exceptions, each wrestler wrestles five times, as each weight class is divided into two pools of six which are run in a round-robin format.  The top four wrestlers in each pool are seeded, based on their pool records, for Saturday's bracketed tournament.  As such, each wrestler is guaranteed at least two matches in the bracketed section.  The two wrestlers in each pool who do not qualify for the bracketed section are also guaranteed two matches on Saturday against the members of the other pool of their weight class.

Complete results may be found on

A description of the finals and other notes per weight class is presented below.  (All photos enlarge when clicked.):

Weight Finals/Notes
Alex Betteridge of East Ascension and Mason Mauro of Brother Martin were initially seeded 1 and 2 and each won their pools with 5-0 records.  The match was close throughout with Betteridge maintaining a two point lead through most of it, but only leading 8-7 in the 3rd period.  Mauro escaped and, when Betteridge tried a double-leg shot, Mauro whipped him almost to his back, but enough to score a takedown for a 10-8 win.

Betteridge now has a record of 13-2 while Mauro is 10-0.  Nicky Charles of Jesuit placed third.
[Above: Mauro in gold & red; Betteridge in blue & white.]

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Ben D'Antonio of Jesuit was the top seed and he won all of his pool matches, but two were very close.  Bryce O'Connor of Shawnee, Oklahoma, who made it into the brackets but not as a top-4 seed, got revenge in the semifinals with a pin over D'Antonio in 2:55.  Brother Martin's Taylor Gambill pinned his way to a 5-0 pool record and was seeded second on Saturday.  He had a very tough semifinal match against East Ascension's Jacob Bernard, winning by a 4-3 score.  The finals were close in the first two periods.  Gambill had been trying ankle picks most of the match, but shot a double in the third period.  O'Connor whipped him to his back but Gambill rolled through it, putting O'Connor on his back and pinning him in 4: 46.
Gambill is now 18-1 for the season.
D'Antonio did not wrestle after his semifinal match so Jacob Bernard placed third.

[Above: Gambill in gold & red; O'Connor in white.]

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Top-seeded returning Division I state champion Paul Klein, and Michael Smith, who placed 3rd in the Oklahoma state championships for Shawnee last year, won their pools easily to be seeded #1 and #2 on Saturday.  Klein advanced to the finals with two major decisions while Smith won a tough semifinal with a 4-2 SV win over Hayden Hill of Vestavia Hills, AL.  Scoring was rare in the finals, but impossible for Smith, who gave up a takedown in the 1st, could not escape from Klein in the 2nd and allowed Klein to escape in the 3rd, resulting in a 3-0 win for Klein.
Klein improved his record to 21-1 with his only loss coming from a wrestler not from Louisiana.
Hayden Hill placed third.

[Above: Klein in gold & red; Smith in white.]

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Catholic's top-seeded Brennan Taylor and Brother Martin's 2nd-seeded Austin Meyn had no problems in the pools on Friday, nor much difficulty making it to the finals on Saturday.  Taylor's five losses on the year are deceiving.  Four are to Live Oak's Cody Hill (whom Taylor has also beaten twice) and the other an OT loss to Rummel's two-time defending Division I state champion Matt Calcote (Calcote's only loss this year - Cody Hill).  Three of Meyn's five losses on the season were to wrestlers from Texas.  Another was early in the season to Ehret's Stefon Foster, whom he beat a few days later.  Meyn's other loss - Cody Hill.

Taylor was the aggressor during most of the match but Meyn countered his single-leg and fireman's carry attempts.  In the 2nd period Meyn did a stand-up switch for the first points of the match and rode Taylor until the end.  In the 3rd period, Taylor managed an escape but again could not manage a takedown, preserving Meyn's 2-1 win.

As it stands now, seeding for the LA Classic could have Taylor, the only wrestler to beat Hill this season (and twice at that) seeded 4th in Hill's top half of the bracket, which would leave Calcote and Meyn (who have not wrestled this season) 2nd and 3rd.  Add Foster, Jacob Guillory of Comeaux, Angelo Medina-Perez of King, Josh Caskey of Benton, Devin Bazinet of Basile, Wyatt LeJeune of Brusly, Jorge Sanchez of Helen Cox - this weight class is stacked.
Meyn now sports a 19-5 record while Taylor is 21-6. 
Quinn Perret of St. Paul's placed third.

Hill was off this week.  Calcote won the Teurlings Rebel Open while Foster placed 2nd at the Jefferson Parish Championships at 132 lbs.
[Above: Meyn in gold & red; Taylor in black.]

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One reason 126 lbs. is so hard this year is that St. Paul's senior Connor Campo is at 132 lbs.  Campo was an undefeated Division I state champion last year and is undefeated this year, including tournament wins at Mandeville, the St. Tammany Parish Championships and the Capital City Classic in Tallahassee.  Campo had five pins and two technical falls in his pool matches and his road to Saturday's finals.  Second-seeded Matthew Mire also went 5-0 on Friday but had a close 5-4 semifinal win over Mason Williams of Brother Martin.  Mire entered with an impressive 13-1 record, although his one loss was a 2nd period pin by Campo.  History repeated itself.  Campo was ahead 6-0 after the first period via a takedown and two tilts, and he pinned Mire in 3:07 for the title.
Campo improved his record to 20-0 while Mire is 20-2.
Mason Williams of Brother Martin placed third.
[Above: Campo in yellow; Mire in black.]

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Catholic's James Claitor does not seem to have received much attention this year, despite amassing a 12-0 record and winning the Spartan Invitational and the Bulldog Open before entering the Trey Culotta.  Claitor was seeded second on Friday and won his pool convincingly.  A major decision against St. Paul's Trey LeBlanc put him in the finals.  Vestavia Hills' Morgan Paugh was the top seed at 138 lbs. on Saturday and pinned all of his pool opponents on Friday.  Seeding rules, though, put East Ascension's Michael Bernard in Paugh's half of the Saturday bracket and Bernard came through for the Spartans with a 7-6 victory in the semifinals.  Bernard entered the tournament at 6-6 with a loss to Claitor, and he lost to Claitor in 3:26 on Friday.  Claitor again dominated Bernard, taking a 7-4 1st period lead and not looking back, pinning Bernard in 4:46.
Claitor improved to 20-0 and is one of only four Division I contenders to remain undefeated.
Bernard is 13-7.

Morgan Paugh of Vestavia Hills placed third.
[Above: Claitor in black; Bernard in blue & white.]

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The top seed Friday was defending Division I state champion David Englehardt of St. Paul's, who was 9-0 entering the tournament, with wins at the Capital City Classic and St. Tammany Parish Championships.  Englehardt's 5-0 pool record had two wins by only three points but he advanced to the finals via a pin and a major decision.  Will Knox of Vestavia Hills was the second seed and only ran into trouble in Saturday's semifinals, needing a 6-4 SV win over Brother Martin's Patrick Hoppe. 

Englehardt started the finals taking down and releasing Knox, which seemed to frustrate the Alabama wrestler.  In the second period, when he was significantly behind on points, Knox was warned for stalling while he was riding Englehardt.  Later in the match Knox was penalized for pushing Englehardt off of the mat.  Englehardt was unfazed, though, and continued to a 16-3 major decision.
Englehardt is now 17-0.
Patrick Hoppe placed third.
[Above: Englehardt in yellow; Knox in gray.]

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The only "constant" at 152 lbs. was top-seeded Daylan Stuteville of Shawnee, Oklahoma, who placed fourth in the Oklahoma state championships last year.  Stuteville had four pins and a major decision on Friday and two pins on his way to Saturday's finals.  #2 seeded Jordan Giroir of Brother Martin appeared to be on his way to being a 2nd seed on Saturday until he matched up with Dominic Iovenetti of St. Paul's.  The 4th-seeded Iovenetti upset Giroir 6-5 to go 5-0 on Friday.  His Saturday semifinal match evened his record against Catholic's Kevin Moran.  Moran beat Iovenetti 7-6 in a dual meet earlier this season, but Iovenetti prevailed in this match 3-2.

Iovenetti stayed close in the 1st period and trailed only 2-0 beginning the 2nd.  Stuteville reversed Iovenetti and used a leg ride to score near-fall points.  In the 3rd period, Stuteville, starting on top, turned Iovenetti to his back again and pinned him in 4:30.
Iovenetti improved his record to 19-8 and certainly improved his seeding position for the Louisiana Classic.
Joe Timberlake of Vestavia Hills placed 3rd with a 5-1 victory over Moran.
[Above: Stuteville in white; Iovenetti in yellow.]

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On paper, the 160 lbs. final match should have been the event of the day.  Top-seeded Ricky Regas of St. Thomas in Houston is an All-American candidate, and earlier in the season gave Comeaux's Tyrek Malveaux his only loss of the season, in double overtime, at the Woodlands Tournament.  Second seed Brandon Luckett of Catholic is a defending Division I state champion and entered with a 21-1 record, with his only loss a 10-8 decision vs. Malveaux.  Both wrestlers went 5-0 on Friday, but Luckett did it in an easier fashion than Regas.  Regas did have to get through Brother Martin's Devin LeBlanc, the 3rd seed, who was undefeated until that match, won by Regas 6-1.  On Saturday Regas needed an SV round to defeat Christian Queyrouze of Jesuit and just barely got past Jordan Peterson of St. Paul's 4-2.  Luckett won his first two matches handily on Saturday, including an 8-1 victory over LeBlanc.

In the finals one understood why "candidate" was attached to Regas' All-American status.  In every way he resembled "candidate" President Obama in his first debate with Mitt Romney this year.  Regas seemed bored and did absolutely nothing, to the point that he was warned for stalling in the first period while the wrestlers were still in the original neutral starting positions.  Luckily, though not surprisingly, Luckett was able to infiltrate Regas' defensive posture with a takedown and an escape.  In the 3rd period Luckett let Regas go (Regas' only point) and when Regas realized his tactics were not going to work on Luckett, he got frustrated and lost a point by pushing Luckett off of the mat.  Luckett took the championship with a 4-1 win.  (To add to the Luckett family's good fortune on the day, his family also won a flat-screen television in a raffle.)

For his efforts in getting through Regas' defensive attack, Luckett was voted the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler by the participating coaches.
Luckett is now 29-1 on the season.
Devin LeBlanc placed 3rd with a 3-1 victory over Peterson..
[Above: Luckett in black; Regas in white.]

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Top-seeded Travis Bradford of St. Thomas allowed a lot of points in his pool rounds on Friday, but scored enough to post a 5-0 record relatively easily.  Second seed Daniel Albrecht of Brother Martin had an easier time until his last match against Jesuit's Jimmy Brown, but he prevailed 7-6.  But Brown was not finished, and as the 4th seed, he upset Bradford in the semifinals 5-1.  Meanwhile, Albrecht stumbled only a little on his way to the finals, getting by Jack Ingalls of Mandeville 7-4 in the semis.

Aside from his win over Brown in Friday's pool Albrecht had already beaten Brown 10-4 at the Mandeville Open in November.  In their third match Albrecht did not give Brown a chance, taking him down with a double-leg shot and pinning him at 1:11 of the 1st period.
Albrecht improved his record to 24-2, with his only losses coming from out-of-state foes.
Brown moved to 14-7 on the season.
Bradford placed 3rd with a 7-2 victory over Ingalls..
[Above: Albrecht in gold & red; Brown in blue.]

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Brother Martin's Kyle Delaune is tall, lanky, double-jointed and, in not only his own words, "funky."  Those attributes have served last year's state-runner-up well this season, as he had only one blemish, from a non-Louisiana wrestler, on his 17-1 record entering the Trey Culotta.  Delaune was not even tested on his way into Saturday's finals, scoring five pins, a technical fall and winning one match on a disqualification.  Second seed Gage Grush of Jesuit was 18-3 prior to the Trey Culotta.  A pool opponent's injury only necessitated three matches on Friday, but he won all three with pins and had a pin and a major decision on his path to the finals.  Delaune and Grush had not previously wrestled each other, but Delaune's aggression and agility proved to be too much.  The match was not as close as the 6-2 victory seems to indicate, but Grush served notice that Louisiana wrestlers are not going to "just lie down" for Delaune.
Delaune now has a 25-1 record.
Grush's stands at a very respectable 25-4
Walker Smith of Shawnee placed 3rd with a 16-7 victory over Aaron Gambino, an "unattached"  Brother Martin wrestler.
[Above: Delaune in gold & red; Grush in blue.]

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Jesuit's 16-2 Manny Armour's losses came at the Mid-American Tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He had three falls and four technical falls on his way to the finals.  His finals opponent, Gage Humphrey, was from Shawnee High School in Oklahoma, and he pinned seven wrestlers on his way to meet Armour.  Humphrey should have stopped after his seventh pin.  Armour man-handled Humphrey with a takedown and several near-falls en route to a 2nd period pin at 3:53.
Armour's record is now 24-2.
Caleb Sutton of Catholic placed 3rd with a 5-3 decision over Yehia Riles of Brother Martin.
[Above: Armour in blue; Humphrey in white.]

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Jovial and polite off the mat, Vestavia Hills freshman Dalton Campbell is quite different when the whistle blows.  The top seed at 220 lbs. pinned his five pool opponents on Friday and won on Saturday with scores of 9-4 and 10-2 to reach the finals.  Brother Martin senior Josh Tapia, with his 14-3 record, was seeded second to Campbell.  Tapia pinned his five pool opponents in a combined time of 3:47.  After a 1st period pin in Saturday's quarterfinals Tapia was challenged by 3rd seed Miles Nash of Catholic, but prevailed 6-4.  Campbell, though, was not impressed.  Early in the 1st period Campbell stood Tapia up and then back-tripped him and kept him on his back, pinning him in 18 seconds.
Tapia is now 23-4.
Dom Carmello of Jesuit took 3rd with a 1:29 pin of Nash.
[Above: Campbell in gray & red; Tapia in gold & red.]

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The winner of the 285 lb. weight class wins the Trey Culotta Award.  #1 seed Ross Brister of Brother Martin was 10-3, with his only losses coming from to non-Louisiana wrestlers.  Brister went 5-0 on Friday, although he ran into a little trouble against East Ascension's Conor Karwath, winning 5-2.  Zac Creel of Jesuit was seeded 2nd overall, or 1st in his pool, on Friday, but that pool was the least true-to-form of the tournament.  Creel went 3-2 on the day.  Shawnee's Ryan Goodfox and Vestavia Hill's Jahaad Jackson each went 4-1.  Jackson was pinned by Fontainebleau's Christian Ponson in 3:27, but Ponson only managed three wins in the pool.  Goodfox's loss was via a 3:44 pin by Jackson, so Jackson ended up winning the pool and being the second seed in Saturday's bracket.  Jackson had to pins on his way to the finals, but Brister had a tough 3-0 win against Ponson before a semifinals pin in 1:54 over Goodfox.

The finals match was scoreless after the 1st period but Brister started the 2nd with a reversal, let Jackson go, took him down and let him go again for a 4-2 lead.  In the 3rd period Jackson netted an escape but could not get a takedown on Brister, who was ahead 4-3 when the match ended. 
Brister moved to 18-3 on the season.
Karwath took 3rd for East Ascension with a pin in 2:20 over Jack Reidy of St. Thomas.
[Above: Brister in gold & red; Jackson in gray & red.]

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After a short Christmas break all of the local schools who participated in the Trey Culotta, with the exception of Archbishop Shaw, which will be at the Evangel Holiday Classic in Shreveport, are scheduled to participate in the Deep South Bayou Duals on December 28th and 29th at the River Center in Baton Rouge. 

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© 2012 by Martin Muller

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