Tigers unseat Crusaders in Division I, Teurlings Catholic and De la Salle repeat
February 13th, 2017| Written by: Editor



For the second consecutive year, the CenturyLink Center and the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission provided an excellent venue for the LHSAA Wrestling Championships.  Last weekend, on February 10th and 11th, spectators got to see history made.

Division I Division II Division III

Coach Eric Desormeaux of Holy Cross won a Division III championship in 2011, which was in between Division II championships the Tigers won in 2009 and 2013.  Last weekend Desormeaux's Tigers won the Division I team championship, making Desormeaux the only Louisiana coach to win titles in all three divisions of competition.  Coach Rod Cusachs may be next in line to accomplish that, as he now has Division III titles to his credit this year and in 2016, and he won a Division I state championship while coaching the Rummel Raiders in 2011.

The event saw Brother Martin's Steven Shields (left) win his fourth Division I state championship in a row, a feat first accomplished by Brother Martin teammate Paul Klein, who graduated in 2015.  Shields won Division I finals matches over Nicolas Lirette of Hahnville, Beau Bush of Holy Cross, Joseph Dupre of Jesuit and Cole Clement of Holy Cross.

Additionally, Brusly's Austin Franklin (right) won his fourth Division III state title in as many years, a feat last accomplished by the Schermer brothers, Austin and Trevor.  In his four Division III finals matches, three were against Ouachita Christian's Matthew Matherne.  In 2015 he defeated North Vermillion's Gavin Becker.

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Division I

Twenty-four years ago, in 1983, Holy Cross won their last Division I state champion all their own.  They also won in 1988, but that year there was a freakish tie for first place with Bonnabel, Jesuit and the Tigers.  Both of those teams were coached by the legendary Ed Kavanaugh, a 1967 state champion for the Tigers, who passed away earlier this year.

A lot of people thought that if Holy Cross were to defeat Brother Martin, they would have to wrestle flawlessly.  They did not, but neither did any other teams.  Additionally, in the finals the Tigers were more concrned about losing to the Blue Jays rather than the Crusaders.

The Tigers won on the backs of wrestlers who, for the most part, finished at or much higher than they were seeded:
Freshman Caruso Signorelli was seeded 3rd and placed 2nd; Michael Lundin was seeded and placed 3rd, and added points with two pins and a major decision.  (Lundin lost a semifinals match with Jerimiah Johnson of McKinley, who had previously pinned Lundin twice in the first period, 10-8).   Mason Macaluso, who was not seeded, placed 5th.  Cole Clement was seeded 2nd and placed 2nd, which was not to the defending state champion's liking, but proved very important.  Fifth-seeded Brady Butler placed 3rd.  Jake Rando was seeded 1st and finished 1st.  Jeffrey Argrave was seeded 5th and placed 3rd.  Caden Mumme was seeded 7th and placed 4th.  Joey Foret was seeded and placed 1st; and Randy Amos was seeded and placed 2nd.
There were a few setbacks - one #2 seed placed 5th; another placed 3rd.  One 3rd seed placed 4th.
The Tigers will return eight 2017 state starters.

The Tigers held off the Jesuit Blue Jays by a mere 6.5 points to win the team championship in Division I.  Brother Martin, holder of the last five team championships, finished 28 points behind Holy Cross and 11.5 points behind Jesuit.

St. Paul's had three #1 seeds in Cole Houser, Jared Thieler and Shane Ulfers.  All three won state titles for the Wolves, with Houser winning his second title.

Host Airline High School place fifth and was the highest-placing public school.  The Vikings were led by Christian Walden, who earned his third state title, and Matt Salinas, who earned his first.

Jesuit High School placed second, marking the fifth year in a row in which the Blue Jays were the Division I runners-up.  Jesuit last won the Division I championship in 2009.

The Blue Jays also had several wrestlers place better than they were seeded: Sam Dreuil was seeded 6th and placed 4th; Luke Eccles was seeded 4th yet placed 3rd; Jordan Giewat was seeded 5th and finished 4th.  Jackson DeGruy was seeded 6th and placed 3rd; William Rosevally was seeded and finished 2nd; Brandon Greer was seeded and finished 6th, but Greer provided three falls and a major decision.  Thomas Arseneaux was seeded 5th and placed 3rd; Perry Ganci, a sophomore, was seeded 2nd but defeated Barbe's Darion Mitchell 2-1 to earn a state championship.  Top-seeded Corey Dublin defended his title from last year with a 1-0 win against Randy Amos of Holy Cross.
Not all went well for the Blue Jays, either.  A #6 seed did not place.  A #3 finished 4th and a #2 finished 3rd.
Jesuit will return nine 2017 state starters.

The Crusaders had 12 wrestlers compete for the first time in the state championship, and were very well seeded. 

Daniel Varnado 106 lbs., Daniel Croy at 113 lbs. and Steven Shields at 132 lbs. won titles for the Crusaders.  Luke Cotton, a state champion last year who was seeded 3rd, placed 2nd, as did Patrick Evans, who was seeded 2nd and placed 2nd.  Mack Brown was seeded 3rd and placed 3rd.

 Another #2 seed for the Crusaders placed 5th, a #3 placed 5th.and a #4 placed 6th.  A #5 seed did not place at all, a #2 placed #3 and another #2 placed 6th;

Jake Rando of Holy Cross, who won his third consecutive Division I state championship, was voted the tournament's Division I Outstanding Wrestler.
Rando, seeded first, recorded falls in 1:25 and 1:35 to advance to the semifinals.  There, he defeated Grant Hughes of St. Paul's via a 25-10 technical fall.  In the finals, he defeated Brother Martin's second-seeded sophomore Patrick Evens via a fall in 1:06.
Rando was one of six Division I wrestlers who finished the season undefeated against Louisiana opponents.

Top 10 Division I Team Scores

Place Team Points   Place Team Points
1 Holy Cross 305   6 St. Amant 161
2 Jesuit 298.5   7 Comeaux 159.5
3 Brother Martin 277   8 Catholic 158
4 St. Paul's 178   9 East Ascension 130.5
5 Airline 172   10 Sulphur 95.5

Individual Division I State Champions

(Seeding in parentheses)

Weight Champion School   Weight Champion School
106 (1) Daniel Varnado Brother Martin   152 (1) Nathan Koenig Jesuit
113 (1) Daniel Croy Brother Martin   160 (1) Christian Walden Airline
120 (1) Cole Houser St. Paul's   170 (1) Joey Foret Holy Cross
126 (1) Jared Thieler St. Paul's   182 (1) Sage Nugent St. Amant
132 (1) Steven Shields Brother Martin   195 (2) Matt Salinas Airline
138 (1) Shane Ulfers St. Paul's   220 (2) Perry Ganci Jesuit
145 (1) Jake Rando Holy Cross   285 (1) Corey Dublin Jesuit

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Division II

With only one state champion, top-seed George Femmer at 145 lbs., Teurlings Catholic continued a streak by winning their fourth Division II state champion in consecutive years.  They did it in the consolation rounds with three 3rd-place finishes, four 4th-place finishers and three sixth-place finishers

During the season, Division II was expected to be a tight race between Teurlings Catholic and Parkway.  That remained the case after the first day, but on Saturday Rummel jumped into the fray and in the end placed second, 17.5 behind the Rebels.  Parkway fell to third, 23 points behind Teurlings Catholic and 5.5 points behind Rummel.

George Femmer, seeded 3rd, won the 145 lbs. weight class for the only individual title for the Rebels.

Rebels who fared at or better than their seeding were: Colten Sonnier who was seeded and placed 3rd; Matthew Carrier was seeded 5th and placed 5th; Charles Travasos was seeded 8th but finished 4th; Josh Hebert was seeded 7th and placed 4th; Kross Guillory was seeded 6th and placed 6th; Matthew Houston was seeded 5th and placed 5th; Brett Schneider was seeded 6th and finished 6th; and Josh LaFleur was seeded 6th and placed 4th.
A few Rebels, of course, did not place at or higher than their seeding:

A 4th seed placed 6th, a 3rd seed finished 5th and their only #1 seed placed 4th.
The Rebels will return nine of their 2017 state starters.

Rummel had three state champions in Blake Mateu, Dawson Mire and Josh Ramirez, all of whom will return for the 2017-18 season.  
Andrew Denapolis was seeded 6th but placed 4th.  Isaac Suarez was seeded and finished 6th and unseeded Derrick Munson placed third.
Not all Raiders did as well as expected.  One #1 seed placed 2nd and another placed third.  A third seed did not place in the top six
Rummel will return eleven of their 2017 state starters.

Central's Austin Gouedy won his third consecutive Division II state championship with a fall in 3:30 over top-seeded Chris Montalbano of Rummel.  Montalbano had defeated Gouedy twice during the season, but Gouedy knows how to wrestle state championship matches, albeit he knew little of accepting state tournament Outstanding Wrestler awards, as Central had left the arena before Austin's name was called.
Before his pin of Montalbano, Gouedy recorded falls in 1:02, 1:09 and an 8-1 decision semifinals win.

Top 10 Division II Team Scores

Place Team Points   Place Team Points
1 Teurlings Catholic 243.5   6 Rayne 164.5
2 Rummel 226   7 Carencro 144
3 Parkway 220.5   8 Central 96
4 Live Oak 188.5   9 North Desoto 92.5
5 Belle Chasse 183   10 Grace King 91

Individual Division II State Champions

(Seeding in parentheses)

Weight Champion School   Weight Champion School
106 (2) Austin Gouedy Central   152 (3) Chase Bates North Desoto
113 (1) Cooper Simon Rayne   160 (4) Martin Garrett Shaw
120 (1) Blake Mateu Rummel Central 170 (1) Josh Ramirez Rummel
126 (4) Trey Fontenot Parkway   182 (1) Byron Zeno Northside
132 (1) Trevor Tamburo Parkway   195 (1) Tyler Carriere Rayne
138 (4) Dawson Mire Rummel   220 (1) Anthony Ingram Live Oak
Haughton145 (3) George Femmer Teurlings Catholic   285 (5) JohnnyVan Veckhoven Haughton

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Division III

De la Salle repeated as Division III champions but, unlike last year, they had some state champions.

Conrad Wyre, Eric Hamrick and Jeremiah James won championships for the Cavaliers, who won the team title last season without an individual champion.
Placing at or high than their seeding were the following: Jamar Brown was seeded and placed 3rd; Grant Gebo was seeded and placed 4th; 5th seed Alex Ormond placed 3rd.  Second-seeded Ryan Hamrick was seeded and placed 2nd. 
A few wrestlers did not place as high as they were seeded.  Two #1 seeds placed 2nd; another #1 seed placed second.  A #3 seed placed 4th; and another #2 seed placed 4th.
De la Salle will return 10 of their 2017 state starters.

Brusly placed second for the second straight year.  The Panthers had three state champions, all seeded #1, in Austin Franklin (his 4th), Richard Hunter (his 3rd) and Owen Mabile (his second).

Placing higher or at their seeding were Franklin, Hunter and Mabile, of course.  Third seed Calep Balcuns placed 2nd and #5 seed Ethan Cascio placed 3rd.  Unseeded Matthew Anderson placed 6th.
A few did not place as well as expected: two #1s placed 2nd and a 2nd seed placed 3rd.
The Panthers will return nine of their 2017 state starters.

North Vermillion's Jourdan Theall was voted the Division III Outstanding Wrestler award after his 11-6 win over defending state champion Brennan Langley of Basile. 
Theall, the #2 seed, received a bye and then recorded a 16-0 Technical Fall in 2:16 to advance to the semifinals.  In the semifinals, he recorded a fall in 2:52.

Top 10 Division III Team Scores

Place Team Points   Place Team Points
1 De la Salle 252   6 Ouachita Christian 127.5
2 Brusly 216.5   7 Basile 127
3 St. Louis 167   8 Kaplan 82
4 John Curtis 151.5   9 Lakeside 77
5 North Vermillion 139   10 Hannan 55

Individual Division III State Champions

(Seeding in parentheses)

Weight Champion School   Weight Champion School
106 (2) Alex Yokubaitis St. Louis   152 (1) Conrad Wyre De la Salle
113 (2) Jourdan Theall North Vermillion   160 (2) Brandon Turner South Plaquemines
120 (3) Sam Pitts Ouachita Christian   170 (1) Owen Mabile Brusly
126 (1) Gavin Christ Basile   182 (1) Richard Hunter Brusly
132 (1) Rhett Maturin North Vermillion   195 (1) Mason Rabel Dunham
138 (1) Robert Christman St. Louis   220 (2) Eric Hamrick De la Salle
145 (1) Austin Franklin Brusly   285 (1) Jeremiah James De la Salle

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