Division II - 285 pounds: Blair's seventh tournament win nets him a state title
March 25th, 2016 | Written by: Editor


Shaw's Matthew Blair completed an almost flawless season with a second round pin over Riverdale's Justin Frost in the Division II 285 lbs. finals.  The Eagle senior was undefeated in all seven tournaments in which he was entered.


The seeding of this weight class was baffling, but fortunately the wrestlers took care of the discrepancies.

Matthew Blair of Shaw was the best 285 lbs. wrestler in the state this season, compiling a 37-2 record.  Only one of those losses was to a Louisiana wrestler - Jesuit's Corey Dublin, who happened to win the Division I 285 lbs. final.  Blair, however, had a win over Dublin at the Trey Culotta, which Blair won, and a Louisiana Classic finals win over the soon-to-be #1 seed in Division I, K.J. Wilson of Catholic.  Blair also won the Raider Invitational, the Mandeville Open, the Fontainebleau "Bulldog Brawl" and the Spartan Invitational.  That left only the Division II title to win for Blair to be considered the best of the big men this season.

Seeded second was Rayne senior Mason Benoit.  Of all of the entrants at 285 lbs., Benoit faced the most during the season.  He pinned #5 Nicholas Breaux of Sam Houston in 4:30.  He pinned #4 Johnathan McCleskey of Haughton in 1:34, and #6 Gabe Duplechain of Carencro in 3:59.  Yet he was 1-2 against St. Thomas More's #3 seed Ethan Wood, and all three of their matches were in tournaments.

Huntington's Fard Burnell's lack of seeding is a mystery.  Burnell was 9-3, with only one Division II loss to Wood, but he pinned both Duplechain and Benoit in the first periods of their matches.

But the largest sleight in this weight class went to Riverdale's Justin Frost.  Granted, Frost only had 11 matches to his credit, but he won 10 of them and garnered tournament titles at the George Trygg Memorial and the Bruin Invitational over no slouches in Christian Fortner of St. Paul's and Remy Toups of John Ehret.  Frost's winning percentage, according to TrackWrestling, was 0.929, second only to Blair's 0.957.  Breaux's was 0.704, whereas the 2-4 seeds were all at 0.667.  Of those three, Benoit and Wood won one tournament apiece, the Rayne Invitational and Lone Survivor respectively, neither of which carry any more clout than the Trygg.

Benoit placed third over the sixth-seeded Duplechain 5-2 while Bernell defeated #5 Nicholas Breaux 5-4 to place fifth.

Place Name School Seed Year
1st Matthew Blair Shaw 1 12
2nd Justin Frost Riverdale 7 12
3rd Mason Benoit Rayne 2 12
4th Gabe Duplechain Carencro 6 11
5th Fard Burnell Huntington >8 12
6th Nicholas Breaux Sam Houston 5 11

1st 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Matthew Blair Matthew Blair Justin Frost Mason Benoit Gabe Duplechain Fard Burnell Nicholas Breaux

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(1) Matthew Blair (SHW) pinned (8) Garrett Philpot (LO) in 0:32.
(5) Nicholas Breaux (SH) pinned (4) Johnathan McCleskey (HGT) in 1:15
to avenge a 40-second fall to McCleskey at the Evangel Eagle Open.
(6) Gabe Duplechain (CAR) pinned (3) Ethan Wood (StMo) in 4:37.
This was not really an upset as, despite Wood's choice as the #3 seed,
Duplechain was 2-1 against Wood prior to the state quarterfinals.
(7) Justin Frost (RIV) pinned (2) Mason Benoit (RAY) in 5:12.

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(1) Matthew Blair (SHW) pinned (5) Nicholas Breaux (SH) in 1:07.
(7) Justin Frost (RIV) pinned (4) Gabe Duplechain (CAR) in 5:23.

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Championship Consolation Rounds

(3) Mason Benoit (RAY) defeated (6) Gabe Duplechain (CAR) 5-2 to win 3rd place.
(5) Nicholas Breaux (SH) defeated Fard Burnell (HNT) 5-4 to win 5th place.

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(1) Matthew Blair of Archbishop Shaw pinned (7) Justin Frost of Riverdale in 2:35.
Blair pinned each of his opponents in this tournament and was only forced into the second period in the finals.

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