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Holy Cross Division II Duals should influence LA Classic seeding

New Orleans--More than just the results of a five-team dual meet tournament were at stake at the Holy Cross Division II Duals on Saturday. Due to the quality of the competition the seeding committee for this weekend's Louisiana Classic will certainly take note of the results.

While only two wrestlers who should be guaranteed top-seeding were present (Live Oak's Cody Hill at 126 lbs. and Holy Cross' Michael Yeatman at 220 lbs.), other wrestlers may have earned spots in the bottom half of their brackets, which does not schedule them to meet the top-seeded wrestlers until the finals.

The largest winner was probably Shaw's Blake Faust at 170 lbs.  Faust defeated St. Louis Catholic's Conway Lebleu 5-2 in the second meeting between the two wrestlers, with the first won by Lebleu.  Faust should vault into the top three seeds as, at 170 lbs., his only losses have been to LeBleu and to Brother Martin's Aaron Gambino.  Gambino's teammate Robin Albrecht should be the top seed, followed by Rummel's Michael Darwin.  170 gets a little blurry after that, so if Faust's two losses at 182 lbs. are not weighted too heavi¹y¹, he may be legitimately seeded at the third spot.

Shaw's Kody Woodson virtually guaranteed that he would be seeded second or third with his 9-7 win over St. Louis' Louis Stutes in "Sudden Victory."

Holy Cross' Alex Nicosia (120 lbs.), George Benoit (138 lbs.), Porter Dazet (182 lbs.) and Daniel Relayson (195 lbs.) all but "locked up" number three spots.

[Left] St. Louis Catholic's defending 160 lb. state champion Louis Stutes, at literally the last second, merits an escape point to tie his match with Shaw's Kody Woodson and send it to a "Sudden Victory" period.

[Right] Woodson scores a SV takedown over Stutes at the Holy Cross Division II Duals.

Five teams representing a microcosm of the Division II state competition converged on Holy Cross High School for a “round-robin” dual meet competition.  Archbishop Shaw from the Westbank was joined by Live Oak of Baton Rouge, St. Louis Catholic of Lake Charles and Parkway from Bossier City for the event.

It came to nobody’s surprise that Holy Cross, the consensus favorite to win Division II next month, won all four of their matches, dispatching of Live Oak 50-22, St. Louis 58-14, Shaw 63-13 and Parkway 66-12.  St. Louis placed second with a 2-2 record..  Aside from the loss to Holy Cross, the Saints also lost a heartbreaker to Parkway.  Tied 39-39 after the individual matches were completed, a technical violation against a St. Louis wrestler was amended from a Parkway individual match point to a Parkway team point, resulting in a 40-39 Parkway victory.

That was Parkway’s sole victory of the day, as the lost to Live Oak 46-33 and lost a heartbreaker themselves to Shaw.  With only the 220 lb. match left to contest, Parkway was ahead 39-34.  But Shaw’s Matthew Blair rose to the occasion, pinning Dillon Long in 1:48 and securing a 40-39 victory.  Shaw dropped their match to Live Oak 51-18 and against St. Louis 44-24, but placed fourth at 1-3 due to their victory over Parkway, which also went 1-3.  Live Oak, at 2-2, placed third due to a 45-36 loss to St. Louis.

Below are summaries of the results in each weight class:

[Records do not include forfeits or defaults, unless cited Photographs marked with an asterisk (*) courtesy of Tim Roberts.  All photos enlarge when clicked.]

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106:  Parkway's Alex Simmaly showed why he has 14-1 record, with his only loss coming at 113 lbs. early in the season.  Simmaly went undefeated with a 3-1 victory over Live Oak’s Colt Olinde and a fall in 1:05 over Holy Cross’ Beau Bush.  He also won over Zachary Collins of Shaw and received a forfeit from St. Louis.  Olinde’s toughest match after Simmaly was Bush, whom he defeated 12-9.

Alex Simmaly (PKW) vs. Beau Bush (HC) Alex Simmaly (PKW) vs. Beau Bush (HC) Colt Olinde (LO) vs. Beau Bush (HC)*

113:  Holy Cross’s presence was somewhat lacking as Dylan Soileau was resting a minor injury.  His replacement, David Clement, did very well in his absence.  Clement lost to Live Oak’s Jacob Chenevert, (who went 4-0 with three pins at 113 lbs. and one at 120 lbs.), but after a forfeit to Shaw he pinned St. Louis’ Dylan Trahan in 1:49, and won an exciting match, albeit one called a medical forfeit, against Parkway’s Brady Williams.  The now 11-5 Williams initially took down Clement, but Clement reversed his Parkway opponent to his back for a 5-2 lead after one period.  On bottom for the second period, Clement reversed Williams, allowed an escape and then took Williams down, ending the period ahead 9-3.  Starting neutral in the third, Clement took Williams down and the score was 11-3 before medical reasons forced Williams to withdraw. 

David Clement (HC) vs. Brady Williams (PK) David Clement (HC) vs. Brady Williams (PK) Jacob Chenevert (LO) vs. David Clement (HC)* Jacob Chenevert (LO) vs. Brady Williams (PK)*

Chenevert was never in trouble during the day, scoring falls in 3:00, 1:01, 3:33 and 0:43 while improving his record to 29-9.  Eight of Chenevert’s defeats have come from Division I wrestlers and the other loss is to a Division II wrestler who has since moved to a different weight class.

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120:  Returning state champion Alex Nicosia had no problems, receiving a forfeit and pinning his other three opponents in 0:42, 1:42 and 4:35.  Nicosia’s two losses to Louisiana wrestlers were to returning Division I state champions.

Alex Nicosia (HC) vs. Jason Pitts (PK) Alex Nicosia (HC) vs. Jason Pitts (PK)
 Alex Nicosia (HC) vs. Jason Pitts (PK)  Alex Nicosia (HC) vs. Jason Pitts (PK)

126:  Live Oak’s Cody Hill improved his record to 44-2, and even went up to 132 for the first time all season to defeat Colin Guerra 19-6.  At 126 Hill pinned his three opponents.  Of all of the wrestlers who competed, Hill should be the only top-seed at the Louisiana Classic this weekend.  Dean Roberts wrestled 126 against Holy Cross, defeating James Jeffrey 13-7.

Collin Guerra (HC) vs. Jason Pitts (PK) Collin Guerra (HC) vs. Jason Pitts (PK) Bryce Ballas (SH) vs. Terrell Stelly (SL)
Cody Hill (LO) vs. Bryce Ballas (SH) Cody Hill (LO) vs. Bryce  Ballas (SH)* Dean Roberts (LO) vs. James Jeffrey (HC)*

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132:  Nicholas Bonck is the starter for the Tigers at 132.  It is not known, nor is it a coach’s prerogative to make it known, why he did not wrestle Hill at 132 and instead took a forfeit against Live Oak at 138 lbs.  But he dispatched two of his other three opponents with aplomb, in falls of 0:45 and 1:57, while wrestling to a hard-earned 3-0 victory over Parkway's Austin Smith, in which the only scoring was an escape and a takedown by Bonck in the second period.  Roberts is Live Oak’s starter at 132 and he won matches against Shaw and St. Louis in 2:30 and 3:39, but lost via a fall to Parkway’s Smith. 

Nicholas Bonck (HC) vs. Austin Smith (PK) Dean Roberts (LO) vs. Cameron Bertot (SH) Dean Roberts (LO) vs. Cameron Bertot (SH)
Cody Hill (LO) vs. Collin Guerra (HC)* Dean Roberts (LO) vs. Cameron Bertot (SH)* Dean Roberts (LO) vs. Cameron Bertot (SH)

138:  Holy Cross’ Benoit is now 21-3 and is the favorite to win Division II at 138 lbs. after returning from a leg injury.  Two of his losses have come to Division I wrestlers, while his third came via a one point decision to Belle Chasse’s Jordan Mastrianni, also of Division II, in his last match before missing a month’s worth of matches.  Against Live Oak he went to 145 lbs. to get a match against Austin Hodge, which he won 13-0.  At 138 lbs. he defeated Andrew Pousson of St. Louis 7-0 and Hunter Huckabee of Parkway 7-1.  Against Shaw he received a bye.

George Benoit (HC) vs. Hunter Huckabee (PK) George Benoit (HC) vs. Hunter Huckabee (PK)

Live Oak’s Bosarge only wrestled two matches but they were impressive wins over St. Louis’ Pousson in 2:54 and of Parkway’s Huckabee in 2:28.

Seth Bosarge (LO) vs. Hunter Huckabee (PK)*

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145: This weight class was “owned” by Parkway’s now 21-0 Cody Thomas.  The Panther senior pinned his Shaw opponent in 0:29 and his Holy Cross foe in 0:54.  He was ahead of St. Louis’ Lehrue Stevens, IV, 14-2 before scoring a fall in 5:12, and he was ahead of Live Oak’s Austin Hodge 7-0 before scoring a fall at 5:57.

George Benoit (HC) vs. Austin Hodge (LO) Lehrue Stevens, IV, vs. Austin Hodge (LO)
 Lehrue Stevens, IV, vs. Austin Hodge (LO)  Lehrue Stevens, IV, vs. Brad Albarado (SH)

Shaw’s Max Chambers wrestled at 152 lbs. most of the day, but dropped a weight class and avenged at 7-6 loss to Holy Cross’ David Olivier last Wednesday, by scoring a 12-2 major decision over the Tiger.

152:  Austin Doyle of Holy Cross had two forfeits and two wins on the day, one over Live Oak’s Jonathan Hagen.  Hagen had wins against Chambers and Blake Thibodeaux of St. Louis, while receiving a forfeit from Parkway.  Chambers pinned Thibodeaux in 1:46.

Max Chambers (SH) vs. Blake Thibodeaux (SL)

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160:  This weight class had by far the most implications re seeding for the LA Classic and for the state tournament.

St. Louis’ Louis Stutes is a retuning state champion and his only loss on the season came from Brother Martin’s Devin LeBlanc. Stutes beat Shaw’s Kody Woodson 6-4 at Brother Martin on December 8th.  Until last week some had considered Holy Cross’s Brice Duhe a slight favorite over Woodson.  When the two met at Shaw that notion was dismissed as Woodson dominated Duhe, winning by a major decision 11-3.  Stutes and Duhe had not met during the season until Saturday.

Duhe wrestled better against Woodson than on Wednesday but lost 6-3.  The Stutes-Duhe match was dominated by Stutes and resulted in an 18-3 technical fall.

That left a rematch between Stutes and Woodson.  Stutes took Woodson down in the first but was called for a very important locking hands penalty, and the period ended 2-1 in favor of Stutes.  Choosing bottom in the second period, Woodson escaped from Stutes but was taken down again.  Woodson scored one more escape and that period ended 4-3 with Stutes still in front.  On bottom starting the third, Stutes escaped but this time Woodson took him down tying the match at 5-5.  Stutes again escaped and took a one point lead.  As time was running out Woodson took Stutes down for his first lead of the match at 7-6.  Stutes struggled and almost gained a reversal as time ran out.  Shaw coaches and wrestlers cheered believing the match was over.  But a conference between the officials correctly determined that while Stutes did not have time enough to complete a reversal for a win, he had diminished Woodson’s control over him enough to merit a one point escape.  Hence the match was tied and relegated to a “Sudden Victory” period.  This period belonged to Woodson.  While he may not look as strong as Stutes, he was in this period, manhandling the St. Louis wrestler and whipping him to his back to end the match with a takedown.

This match may have serious implications re the seeding at the Louisiana Classic.  Brandon Luckett of Catholic will be seeded first unless and out-of-state team enters with a 160 lb. wrestler deemed better than Luckett, and that is highly unlikely. The “wild card” is St. Paul’s Jordan Peterson.  Against Louisiana wrestlers Peterson has only lost to LeBlanc of Brother Martin, who has since moved to 152 lbs.  Peterson could easily be placed in the second or third spots, which would place Woodson third and Stutes fourth in Luckett’s half of the bracket.  Regardless, with his victory, Woodson should be seeded no lower than third and if he sees Luckett, barring any upsets, it will be in the finals.

Brice Duhe (HC) vs. Caleb Spears (PK) Brice Duhe (HC) vs. Caleb Spears (PK)
 Brice Duhe (HC) vs. Caleb Spears (PK)  John Pruitt (HC) vs. Chris Trahan (LO)

Duhe did win against Caleb Spears of Parkway, pinning him in 3:05, and he scored a 16-0 technical fall against Chris Trahan of Live Oak.  Trahan pinned Caleb Spears of Parkway in 5:56 and John Pruitt of Holy Cross pinned Trahan in 3:02.

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170:   Shaw won another rematch when Blake Faust defeated St. Louis’ Conway Lebleuu 5-2. Faust, who has been plagued by 13 forfeits but has managed an 8-8 record, had lost to5-2. Faust, who has been plagued by 13 forfeits but has managed an 8-8 record, had lost to Lebleu 5-1 in early December.  Four of Faust's losses were at the hands of out-of-state wrestlers and two others were at 182 lbs.  The other two at 170 lbs.  include the previous loss to Lebleu and a loss to a Brother Martin second-string wrestler. 

Conway Lebleu (SL) vs. Blake Faust (SH) Conway Lebleu (SL) vs. Blake Faust (SH) Conway Lebleu (SL) vs. Blake Faust (SH)

Only three other matches were wrestled at 170.  Faust beat Live Oak’s Brody Bonura 7-4.  Bonura pinned Holy Cross freshman Nicholas Nugent and Stutes moved up from 160 lbs. and defeated Michael Efferson of Live Oak in 1:03.

Conway Lebleu (SL) vs. Nicholas Nugent (HC)* Louis Stutes (SL) vs. Michael Efferson (LO)

182:  Holy Cross’ “Big Three” in the upper weight classes start with Porter Dazet.  Dazet pinned his opponents from Parkway and Live Oak and received a forfeit from St. Louis.  Shaw’s Jaime Balleza was a different story.  Dazet cruised to a 5-0 win last Wednesday, but in this match went into two overtime periods before Dazet secured a 7-5 win.

Conway Lebleu (SL) vs. Brody Bonura (LO)

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195:  The Tigers’ Daniel Relayson was never challenged, receiving a forfeit from Shaw, and scoring pins over his other opponents in 1:35, 2:00 and 2:48.  Blake St. Romaine of St. Louis won his other three matches by falls, including one in 4:47 over Balleza, who moved up a weight class to avoid taking a forfeit.

220:  Michael Yeatman had scored three falls and a major decision for Holy Cross.  His hardest match was a 13-3 victory over St. Louis’ Robert McPherson. 

Michael Yeatman (HC) vs., Dillon Long (PK)

285:  Jordan Showalter went 2-0 for the Tigers, and avenged a pin by Shaw’s Jay Driggers in 0:59 last Wednesday with a pin of his own in 1:49.  He defeated St. Louis’ Aaron Tanner 13-6.  Tanner had the second best day in the weight class with three victories coming at the expense of Live Oak’s Brennan Burrick, Parkway’s Connor Craig and Driggers, all by falls.

Travis Gardner (HC) vs. Conner Craig (PK)

St. Louis is scheduled to compete at Rayne, and Live Oak at St. Amant, on Wednesday.  Parkway has a match at Airline on Thursday.  Shaw and Holy Cross are taking the rest of the week off to prepare for this weekend's Louisiana Classic in Baton Rouge.

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¹  Some things are just too irresistible.

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