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Bayou Duals attracts stiff national competition
December 26, 2013 | Written by: Editor

(9:05 p.m. update)

The fifth annual Deep South Bayou Duals, a monstrous event hosted by Brusly High School, gets underway this weekend in the exhibition halls of the Baton Rouge River Center (click for map and directions).  Forty teams from 38 schools will vie in a dual meet tournament format, providing athletes with an abundance of wrestling experience prior to the new year and runs for state championships.

Twenty-one of the schools hail from Louisiana (Brother Martin and Jesuit are sending two teams each).  The remaining 17 programs are less familiar to local fans.  Florida, Georgia and Texas are represented by four teams each.  Alabama is the home state of two teams.  Platte County High School is returning from Missouri.  Mississippi's Ocean Springs is making the trip again.  And the team which automatically wins the award for the "Farthest Travelled" goes, hands down, to Wrightstown High School of Wisconsin.  Wrightstown is a few miles south of Green Bay.  "South" there is simply a downward-pointing arrow.  No connotations with which we are familiar apply.

To describe the caliber of wrestling competition at the event one only has to go back to the 2012-13 season.  The Division I state champion Brother Martin Crusaders lost only one dual meet last season while competing in Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, and against several out of state teams at their Trey Culotta Invitational.  The only dual meet they lost was in the semifinals of this event, to the eventual tournament winner, MacArthur High School of Oklahoma.  (MacArthur just won the Las Vegas Christmas Classic.)

Dual meet tournaments are an entirely different event than individual weight class (regular) tournaments, such as the state championships.  In the latter format, a team's best wrestlers can gain points commensurate with their abilities by advancing in the brackets and scoring falls.  In a dual meet, the best wrestler in the state is limited to scoring, at most, six team points with a pin.  A team that may have seven state champions on it can lose if just one of them only scores a five point technical fall (6x6+5=41), and the other team pins the non-state champions (7x6=42).  In a regular tournament, winning teams often rack up 300 points or more.  The highest score available in a dual meet is 84.  Granted, if a team has seven state champions, odds are the remaining wrestlers will be pretty good, so there is a correlation between dual meet and regular tournament success.  But the opposite is feasible.

Louisiana does not have dual meet state championships.  Georgia does.  Jefferson High School, who will participate in Baton Rouge this weekend, has won 12 dual meet state championships in the Georgia AA class in a row.  As impressive as that number is, the program has a string of 13 regular AA state championships.

Jefferson has a 14-0 dual meet record this year.  Brother Martin is undefeated, as is Airline of northwest Louisiana.  At least two of those teams will start the new year with a loss on their record.

It gets worse.  The Bobcats of Gilmore County, GA have won four Georgia AAAA dual meet state championships.  Roswell, GA's dual meet record in 2013-14 is 14-3, and their three losses have only been to Thompson Hills, AL (a perennial powerhouse), Baylor of Tennessee and Gilmer County.

Ocean Springs may have the only full team in the state of Mississippi, but one of their wrestlers, senior Tristan Rupert at 126 lbs., is the only wrestler to defeat Brusly freshman star Kendon Lee Kayser in 26 matches (6-5 on November 23rd).

South Walton High School is no stranger to Louisiana as they are a regular at the Trygg Memorial.  They have the brothers Pickren.  William, a freshman at 106 lbs., won the South Walton Border Wars and the Trygg.  His older brother Cody also won the Trygg, at 145 lbs.

St. Thomas, Texas was at the Trey Culotta last week.  Sophomore Andrew Munn may get another chance at Comeaux's Connor Stampley, who defeated him 8-7 in the finals of The Woodlands Invitational.

What brings a wrestling team from Wrightstown, Wisconsin to Baton Rouge?  As this is being written it is raining in Wrightstown and the temperature is 18°F (added ammunition to something one of the editor's high school coaches once told him: "Nobody retires to Wisconsin").  It is 56°F in Baton Rouge.  This is why the Saints hate playing playoff games on the "Frozen Tundra" that is Lambeau Field in Green Bay.  Wisconsin would not be a state without some virtuous qualities.    But Winter may not be among them.  Snow is only fun when it is falling.

Not listed as participating in the event are Division I's newest members, the Holy Cross Tigers.  That fact will add a little more work for the seeding committee of the January Louisiana Classic, but that is the type of thing that leads to upsets, and upsets are always fun to watch.

Wrestling is slated to begin at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, with the finals scheduled for around 3:30 p.m.  The TrackWrestling link to the tournament may be found by clicking here.

(9:05 p.m. update)

There are eight pools of five teams each:

Pool A:  Division II co-favorite Teurlings Catholic will get a taste of Division I in the defending Brother Martin Crusaders.  Brock Bonin at 120 lbs. might face Wade Nash of the Crusaders if Nash has recovered from an early season injury.  If not, Ryan Genco has done an admirable job in his place.  Arnold, FL, Houston, TN and Baton Rouge complete Pool A.

Pool B:  Kendon Lee-Kayser of Brusly may get another shot at Tristan Rupert of Ocean Springs at 126 lbs.  Roswell, GA, undefeated Airline and Shaw, with 170 lbs. standout Kody Woodson, are also in this group.

Pool C:  Jesuit is in Pool C, and that means undefeated Efosa Eboigbe at 152 lbs., a resurgent Ben D'Antonio at 120 lbs., and sophomore standout Guy Patron, Jr. at 182 lbs.  East Ascension has contenders in seniors Alex Betteridge at 106 lbs. and Graham Karwath at 285 lbs.  Clear Falls, TX, Ft. Walton Beach, FL and Hahnville, with their stellar sophomore Nick Lirette at 113 lbs., complete this pool.

Pool D:  Alex Martin of De la Salle has the best records at 160 lbs. which includes a Trygg finals win over St. Paul's' Tanner Leblanc.  He may be tested by Matthew Waddell of Gilmore County, GA.  Dutchtown (at 145 lbs. keep an eye on Brandon Cowell), Auburn, AL and Sulphur (at 132 Brennan Taylor, 195 Matthew Perez) are the other teams in this pool.

Pool E:  At 106 lbs. South Walton's William Pickren and Rummel's Robert Fairchild could be a good match.  Rummel's Rick Lacava at 138 lbs. and South Walton's Cody Pickren at 145 lbs. are two others to watch.  Central Phoenix, AL Platte County, MO and Zachary are also in this pool.

Pool F:  Live Oak's three defending Division II state champions, Jacob Chenevert, Cody Hill and Seth Bosarge, will be in this pool.  Locally they will face Jesuit's second team, which is comprised of some very good young men.  El Dorado, TX, N. Forsythe, GA and Lafayette round out the teams in Pool F.

Pool G:  Brother Martin-C is better than one would first expect: they won the Jefferson Invitational two weeks ago.  Baton Rouge Catholic is never easy, and they have two returning Division I state champions in Brennan Taylor at 138 lbs. and James Claitor at 145 lbs.  Junior Josh Matthews is also having a very good year at 120 lbs.  St. Thomas, TX and Andrew Munn at 126 lbs. are joined with Sam Houston and our guests from south Canada, Wrightstown, WI.

Pool H:  Returning Division I state runner-up and 2013 The Woodlands Invitational champion Connor Stampley leads Comeaux at 126 lbs.  Jefferson, GA is also in this pool, as is Pace, FL, a solid team that had two South Walton Border Wars champions.  St. Amant, last week's Big Horse winners at Zachary, and St. Paul's with Tanner Leblanc at 160 lbs. completes the pool. 

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