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Jefferson Open initiates the 2014 "Of or Like Wrestling" season
April 28, 2014 | Written by: Editor


The first-graders who participate in the freestyle and Greco-Roman events know more about those two "of or like wrestling" styles than I do, so I cannot write about these events with any authority.  (I am only slowly becoming inured to using the adjective "folkstyle" instead of "collegiate" to describe the sport as I learned it.)  Hence most of what is published on this Website re those competitions will be photographs. 

I appreciate that these styles are older than folkstyle and are the standards of international and Olympic competitions.  Young American wrestlers need to be exposed to these styles in order to realistically pursue dreams of competing at that level, and such dreams are no longer limited to wrestlers from Oklahoma and Iowa - Louisiana has come a long way.

The events do not compete with the high school folkstyle season from October through February (and March and April for national events).  When asked "who won state at 160 lbs. in (insert year here)"  people will still look to the LHSAA State Championships to come up with a name.  But the two alternative styles provide valuable experience for takedowns (freestyle) and throws (Greco-Roman) when folkstyle competitions are not available.  Basically they are off-season practices which have helped a lot of wrestlers improve significantly faster than when wrestling was limited to the high school season.

The USAW "of or like wrestling" season in Louisiana started on April 26th at Grace King High School in Metairie, Louisiana with the Jefferson Open.  The clubs participating were generally from the GNO area but several came from the GBR and Lafayette areas.  The wrestlers ranged from 50 lb. 1st-graders to 285 lb. seniors.

[NOTE: Some match scores will be noted.  More often than not the names, divisions and weight classes of the participants will be the only information made available.  As for the names, the editor does not recognize half of the kids he saw last February, so he will not even try to decipher which wrestler is which.  Photographs should not be mistaken to be indicators of who won a particular match, particularly regarding the matches involving younger grapplers - these kids redefine "flip-flopping."]

Landon Boudreaux vs. Cole Carter - Novice 75 lbs. freestyle consolation finals Morgan Manuel vs. Michael David
Schoolboy 105 lbs. freestyle finals
Lilly Richoux vs. Brody Gray - Schoolboy 105 lbs. freestyle consolation finals
Peyton Ward vs. Joshua Vincent - Novice 80 lbs. freestyle finals
Nicholas Lirette vs. Jordan Giewat - 120 lbs. Cadet freestyle finals
Dylan Soileau vs. Jonathan Matthews - 132 lbs. Junior freestyle finals  Max Grosch vs. Cole Clement - 138 lbs. Junior second place match 
 Jake Rando vs. Mitch Vidrine - 145 lbs. Junior consolation finals
This match and another to follow defines the differences between the freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines.  At the start of this match Vidrine threw Rando to his back to take a quick 4-0 lead.  Once on their feet again, though, Rando dominated control of Vidrine's legs with shot after shot to amass an 18-8 lead for a technical fall.  A while later Vidrine got to take advantage of his upper body strength in the Greco-Roman event, handily defeating Rando by a 10-0 technical fall (with the last move exposing Rando's back, accounting for the extra two points).
  George Benoit vs. Griffin Mason - 152 lbs. Junior finals
This match is a prime example of how freestyle rules have very little in common with folkstyle rules.  Benoit scored a takedown early for a 2-0 lead.  Next he crossed and held on to Mason's ankles.  Then he rotated his body 360 degrees which, due to the ankle hold, caused Mason to turn 360 degrees, which of course meant involuntarily exposing his back to the mat for two points.  Then Benoit did that again, again and again, and the match was called after 40 seconds via a 10-0 technical fall rule.  In folkstyle a pinning combination that does not result in a fall can only score three back points.  For more nearfall points to be scored, the scoring wrestler must lose the first pinning combination and then reinstate another one.  That makes back points a little harder to score in folkstyle than in freestyle, yet it takes a 15 point scoring differential to merit a TF in folkstyle as opposed to a 10 point differential in freestyle.  It gets worse in Greco-Roman.  Scoring there is by upper body moves, generally throws.  Throws are much more likely to entail back points than single-leg takedowns, again making points easier to score once a move is initiated.  Yet it takes only an eight point differential to register a TF in Greco-Roman.  Go figure!
Jake Eccles vs. Efosa Eboigbe - 170 lbs. Junior finals
The two Blue Jay seniors had done this before, of course, if only in the Jesuit practice facilities, but they did not disappoint onlookers.  Eccles used a throw and back exposure to take a 4-0 lead at the end of the first three-minute round.  Eboigbe came back with a throw of his own to tie the match 4-4, and then he forced Eccles out of bounds to earn another point and his first lead, 5-4.  With about five seconds remaining in the match, though, Eccles was able to complete a takedown on the mat to eke out a 6-5 victory.
Rebel Pride 
Micah Roby of Baton Rouge High School sports a Lee High singlet to honor Baton Rouge's Coach Bill Bofinger, who coached the Rebels from 1970 to 2009.  Roby, wrestling for the HammerDown Wrestling Academy in the Junior 132 lbs. division, placed third in the freestyle and second in the Greco-Roman competitions.

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