LWN's "Best of 2016-17"
June 24, 2017| Written by: Editor



The Louisiana Wrestling News  "Best of ... " list is derived from how well wrestlers perform throughout the season, and not just at the state championships.  "Strength of schedule" can be a factor, as some Division II and Division III teams prefer to compete as much as possible within their own Division.

A lot of wrestlers cut down to a lower weight class in the last event of the regular season, allowing them to compete in the lower weight class at the state championships.  The LWN chooses to use the weight class in which a wrestler competed for the majority of the season.  One's showing at the last regular season event, and then the state championships, does not provide enough data to justify the LWN's choices.  Again, this list attempts to list those who had the best overall season - not just the best state tournament. 

In many weight classes, the emphasis will be on losses.  That is a Website time-saving tool.  One may safely assume that the chosen wrestlers won the matches in which they did not lose.

Injury or medical forfeits, normal forfeits and byes are not included as criteria for this list.

Please keep in mind that the below-listed choices are based on the 2016-17 season, and should not be used in any form imaginable to predict how a wrestler will fare during the 2017-18 season.  Some weight classes provide easy choices.  Others, however, may be decided by a point scored in November.  Feel free to offer any criticism you like, but please remember - the award is just a glorified paperweight.

106 113 120 126 132 138 145 152 160 170 182 195 220 285

106 Pounds

1)  Daniel Varnado - Brother Martin
2)  Austin Gouedy - Central
3)  Chris Montalbano - Rummel

Varnado posted a record of 42-2, losing to out-of-state wrestlers at the Blackhorse and the Prep Slam finals.  He won the Cinco Ranch Big 12, the Spartan Invitational, the Trey Culotta, the Louisiana Classic and the LHSAA state championships.  In Louisiana events he defeated Central's Austin Gouedy, Ben Stein of St. Paul's and Colten Sonnier of Teurlings Catholic.

Gouedy had a record of 40-3, with his losses coming from Montalbano (twice) and Alex Yokubaitis of St. Louis.  He won the Warrior, the Central Wildcat, the Griffin , the Jefferson Invitational, the Zachary Big Horse and the GBR championships. He placed 2nd at the Spartan Invitational, 5th at the Louisiana Classic and 3rd at the Ken Cole.  Counting his third Division II state championship (over Montalbano), Gouedy won seven tournament championships.  At the state championships he was voted the Outstanding Wrestler in Division II.

Montalbano, only a sophomore, was 2-1 against Gouedy, but the "1" happened to occur in the Division II finals.  He won the Brusly 8 and the Rebel Open.  He placed 2nd at the Raider 8 and the South Walton Border Wars, and finished 3rd at the Louisiana Classic.

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113 Pounds

1)  Daniel Croy - Brother Martin
2)  Cooper Simon - Rayne
3)  Jeremiah Johnson - McKinley

Brother Martin sophomore Daniel Croy lost one match at Blackhorse Invitational in Tennessee, in which he placed 3rd. He did not lose to any Louisiana wrestlers.  He won the Cinco Ranch Big 12, the Spartan Invitational, the Louisiana Classic and then the LHSAA Division I championship.  Croy, had wins over Mckinley's Jeremiah Johnson, Michael Lundin of Holy Cross and Rayne's Cooper Simon.

Simon suffered his only loss in the finals of the Louisiana Classic, losing 4-3 to Croy.  He won 37 other matches, which included championships at the Central Wildcat, the Pearly River Invitational, the Jacob McMillan, the Trey Culotta, the Lone Survivor and the Ken Cole prior to an LHSAA Division II championship.  Simon had wins over defending Division III state champion Brenan Langley of Basile (twice), North Vermillion's Jourdan Theall, Jerimiah Johnson of McKinley and Brandon Stein of St. Paul's.
Johnson, a senior, won the Zachary Big Horse and the Greater Baton Rouge Championships.  His 20-3 record included three wins over Michael Lundin of Holy Cross (thrice), two against David Kent of Brusly, and four over Tyree Morris of St. Amant. (four times).  His only losses were to Central's Gouedy, Croy of Brother Martin and Simon of Rayne

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120 Pounds

1)  Blake Mateu - Rummel
2)  Luke Cotton - Brother Martin
3)  Camdyn Ingram - Live Oak
The two-time Division II state champion once again proved he was the best at his weight class, losing only two matches.  One loss was to an out-of-state wrestler in the finals of the South Walton Border Wars.  The other was to Steven Shields of Brother Martin, whom the Rummel junior wanted to "test" before Shields graduated (Shields won the match 5-2, but Mateu did move up a weight class for the match).  Mateu won the Raider 8, the Rebel Open, the Louisiana Classic and the LHSAA Division II state championship.
Brother Martin's Luke Cotton won a state championship in 2016 at 106 lbs.  At 120 lbs. this season, Cotton lost to state champion Cole Houser of St. Paul's twice), Mateu, Jesuit's Luke Eccles (which Cotton later avenged at the Louisiana Classic), and once to an out-of-state wrestler at the Prep Slam in Atlanta.  Cotton won four tournaments, though.  He won the Cinco Ranch Big 12, the Spartan Invitational, the Blackhorse in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Trey Culotta Invitational.  He placed 2nd at the Prep Slam.

Ingram, a freshman, posted a 53-5 record.  Three of those losses were to Mateu, Cotton and St. Amant's Brier Babin.  Ingram won the Brusly 8, the Jefferson Invitational, the Zachary Big Horse and the GBR Championships.  He placed 3rd at the Louisiana Classic and 2nd in the LHSAA Division II finals.

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126 Pounds

1)  Steven Shields - Brother Martin
2)  Cole Houser - St. Paul's
3)  Gavin Christ - Basile

Shields posted a record of 47-4.  Three of those losses came from out-of-state competition.  He won the Cinco Ranch Big 12, the Spartan, the Trey Culotta, the Ken Cole , and placed 2nd at the Prep Slam in Atlanta.  His sole Louisiana loss was in the Louisiana Classic, to East Ascension freshman Trent Mahoney.  After that loss Shields got past defending Division I state champion Cole Clement of Holy cross to place 3rd.  Shields also won the Division I state championship for the 4th consecutive season, matching fellow Crusader teammate Paul Klein who accomplished that feat two years earlier. 

Houser, the first of three St. Paul's wrestlers to win a 2017 Division I state championship, posted a record of 44-5.  Four of those losses were to out-of-state opposition.  The only loss to a Louisiana wrestler was to Shields in the Trey Culotta finals.  Houser won the Raider 8, the Mandeville Open, the Louisiana Classic and the Dale Ketelsen Memorial, at which he first competed at 120 lbs.
Christ, a sophomore and defending Division III state champion, finished the season with a record of 42-2.  One loss was to St. Amant's Brier Babin in the Central Wildcat semifinals by a 12-6 score.  Christ avenged that loss with an 11-6 win over Babin in the Ken Cole finals.  His other loss was to Houser, 8-5, in the Louisiana Classic finals.  Christ won eight tournament championships over the course of the season: the Warrior Open, the Teurlings Catholic Rebel Open, the Eagle Invitational, the Jacob McMillan, the Brusly Invitational, the Ken Cole and the Lafayette Metro championship.  He capped off the season with his second Division III state title.

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132 Pounds

1)  Cole Clement - Holy Cross
2)  Jared Thieler - St. Paul's
3)  Anyone's Guess...
The returning state champion finished with a 29-3 record against Louisiana competition.  One loss was at the Louisiana Classic, to Jesuit's Jackson DeGruy, which he avenged in a later dual meet with Jesuit.  The other two were to Steven Shields, who defeated Clement 3-1 in the consolation semifinals.  Clement won the Casio-Shriever and placed third at the South Walton Border Wars.
Thieler, who wrestled the majority of his matches at 132 lbs., was 30-4 on the season.  Three losses were to out-of-state wrestlers.  The other was to Clement.  Thieler dropped to 126 lbs. for the state championships, which he won.  Thieler was 2-0 vs. Bernard and 1-0 vs. DeGruy.  He placed 5th in the South Walton Border Wars, 1st in the Trey Culotta and 1st at the Dale Ketelsen Memorial. 
3rd was too tough to call as no wrestler had a season significantly better than the others.  Possibilities are listed below (in alphabetical order):
Dyllon Bernard - Comeaux: 32-9.  1-1 vs. DeGruy; 3-1 vs. Mahoney and 1-0 vs. Carpenter.  4th at the state championships; 6th at the Louisiana Classic; 1st at the Spartan; 2nd at the Trey Culotta.  Cameron Carpenter - Catholic: 18-7.  3-1 vs. Mahoney.  6th at the state championships; 1st at the Warrior Open; 1st at the GBR Championships.
Jackson DeGruy - Jesuit: 24-7.  1-1 vs. Bernard; 1-1 vs. Carpenter.  3rd at the state championships; 2nd at the Louisiana Classic; 2nd at the Warrior Open. 
Trent Mahoney - East Ascension: 56-14. 
2-0 vs. DeGruy.  5th at the state championships; 1st and OW at the Louisiana Classic; 1st at Griffin; 1st at Zachary Big Horse; 2nd at the Central Wildcat; 2nd at the Ken Cole; 2nd at the GBR Championships.

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138 Pounds

1)  Patrick Evans - Brother Martin
2)  Shane Ulfers - St. Paul's
3)  Joshua Bell - John Ehret
The Crusader sophomore finished the season with a 32-7 record.  Five of his losses, though, were to out-of-state competition.  In the Brother Martin-Jesuit dual meet, Evans lost to Eli Larriviere 1-0.  In the Division I state semifinals, Evans avenged that loss with a 3-1 win over Larriviere.  His other loss was to two-time defending Division I state champion Jake Rando of Holy Cross in the Division I state finals. During the season Evans won the Blackhorse Invitational, the Trey Culotta and the Louisiana Classic. 
The last of the three St. Paul's Division I champions, Ulfers compiled a 41-5 record.  Of his five losses, two were to out-of-state wrestlers.  Two were to Evans, (one via injury).  The other was a 3-2 loss to Evans in the Trey Culotta finals.  His last loss was in the finals of the LA Classic against Ehret's Joshua Bell.  Ulfers defeated Bell in the Mandeville Open and in the Division I state championships.  Aside from the Mandeville Open and the state finals, Ulfers won the South Walton Border Wars and the Dale Ketelsen, and placed 2nd in the Trey Culotta and the LA Classic.
Joshua Bell was 39-3 over the season.  Two of those losses, occurring in the Mandeville Open and the Division I finals, were to Ulfers.  The other was an early season loss to Josh Partin of Airline.  Bell avenged that loss by defeating Partin in the Louisiana Classic semifinals.  He placed 3rd at the Warrior Open and second to Ulfers in the Mandeville Open.  Between his two losses to Ulfers, the Patriot senior won the Bulldog Brawl, the Trygg, the Jefferson Invitational, the Jefferson Parish Championships, the Louisiana Classic, the Ken Cole and the Greater New Orleans 5A District Championships. 

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145 Pounds

1)  Eli Larriviere - Jesuit
2)  Grant Hughes - St. Paul's
3)  Austin Franklin - Brusly

Larriviere had a great 23-3 season, considering that for most of it he was held together with duct tape and Velcro.  He won the Casio-Shriever and the South Walton Border Wars early in the season.  In his best tournament he placed 2nd.  That was the Kansas City Stampede, a brutal event in which Larriviere went 7-1, and also earned a 5-3 decision over Kendon Kayser, formerly of Brusly.  Larriviere had to withdraw from the LA Classic after his quarterfinals match due to injury.  That injury was more than evident in the state championships.  But, after losing to Evans 3-1, Larriviere made the consolation finals in which he lost a 3-1 decision to Grant Hughes of St. Paul's.  Previously, in his second match of the season, Larriviere defeated Hughes 8-2.
Hughes was 35-11 for the Wolves, but six of those losses were to out-of-state competition.  The Louisiana losses were to Brother Martin's Noah Roux, Jesuit's Eli Larriviere, Brady Butler of Holy Cross, Patrick Evans of Brother Martin and, in the Division I semifinals, Jake Rando of Holy Cross.  Hughes won the Mandeville Open and Dale Ketelsen, placed 2nd at the Trey Culotta and the Louisiana Classic, and 3rd in the Division I state championships.
Brusly's Austin Franklin had a 34-1 record.  His only loss was to Grant Hughes via a 13-11 SV in the semifinals of the LA Classic.  He won the Raider 8, the Brusly 8, the Brusly Invitational, and the GBR Championships.  His most important win, however, was his last one.  Pinning Matthew Matherne of Ouachita Christian in the Division III finals placed him in the elite club of four-time state champions, matching the accomplishments of the Panthers' Tim Leblanc, Austin Schermer and Trevor Schermer.

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152 Pounds

1)  Jake Rando - Holy Cross
2)  Conrad Wyre - De La Salle
3)  Nathan Koenig - Jesuit

Rando dominated everyone he faced, and only suffered one defeat, by only one point, in the finals of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.  In the rest of his matches, an eight-point decision was the closest anyone came to beating him, and that was a Florida wrestler.  Rando dropped to 145 lbs. just before the state championships, but no one was going to deny him his third Division I title.

By a very small margin, Wyre got the second-place nod over Koenig.  They split their two matches during the season.  Koenig defeated Wyre in the semifinals of the Casio-Shriever.  Wyre, however, got his win in the semifinals of the Louisiana Classic.  Wyre may have had an easier schedule than Koenig, but he won five tournaments, including the Ken Cole, and then won the Division III state championship.  Koenig only won one tournament all year.  It was a good one to win, however, as it was the Division I 152 lbs. championship.

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160 Pounds

1)  Christian Walden - Airline
2)  William Rosevally - Jesuit
3)  Jeffrey Argrave - Holy Cross

Walden won his third Division I state championship to cap an undefeated season.  A Texas wrestler came close to beating Walden in an 8-7 match, but nobody from Louisiana could touch him.

Roseberry could be considered one of the most improved wrestlers this season.  He lost a match to Brother Martin's Paul Elmer in the quarterfinals of the Louisiana Classic, but rebounded and defeated Elmer to place third.  He earned a 2-1 series with Elmer with a win in the state semifinals.  All of his other Louisiana losses were to Walden, including the Division I 160 lbs. finals.

Argrave was an easy pick for third.  His Louisiana losses were to Walden, Rosevalley and Koenig, and he placed third at 152 lbs. in the state championships.

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170 Pounds

1)  Joseph Foret - Holy Cross
2)  Jacob Fereday - Catholic
3)  Paul Treuting - Jesuit

Joey Foret, like Walden before him, did not lose a match all season, and won his second Division I championship over Jacob Fereday of Catholic.

Jacob Fereday won four tournament championships, including the Trey Culotta.  He was defeated twice by St. Amant's Sage Nugent, but Nugent went up to 182 lbs. for the state championships.  He lost to Jesuit's Paul Treuting by one point in the consolation finals of the Louisiana Classic.  In the state championships, however, Fereday defeated Treuting 6-2 in the semifinals.

Paul Treuting won two tournament titles (Casio-Shriever and Ketelsen Memorial) and only lost to Michael Benton of Holy Cross (at 182 lbs.), Joey Foret of Holy Cross and Fereday.

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182 Pounds

1)  Josh Ramirez - Rummel
2)  Richard Hunter - Brusly
3)  Sage Nugent - St. Amant

Josh Ramirez also had an undefeated season, and won by falls or technical falls over all but three opponents.

Richard Hunter gave Ramirez his toughest match all season, losing just 5-4 in the Louisiana Classic.  He then went on to win his third Division III championship for the Brusly Panthers.

Sage Nugent might have received the second-place spot, but he "dropped the ball" in the Ken Cole finals.  To be more precise, he accidentally dropped Hunter to the mat, rendering the Panther wrestler unconscious for a few moments.  Hunter was awarded the championship as it was technically an illegal slam which prevented him from continuing the match.  Nugent, always a class act and unflappable, assisted Hunter onto the top of the awards podium.

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195 Pounds

1)  Trevon Honor - Hahnville
2)  Mason Rabel - Dunham
3)  Matt Salinas - Airline

Trevon Honor did not wrestle a lot of matches, but he was consistent in winning all but his final one.  He won three tournaments during the season, and defeated Dunham's Mason Rabel 9-4 in the Louisiana Classic finals.

Rabel, now a two-time Division III state champion for Dunham, lost to only two opponents during the season.  One was to Honor in the Louisiana Classic finals.  Earlier, in the Trey Culotta finals, he lost to James Edwards of Vestavia Hills, Alabama.  Rabel was also 2-0 over Airline's Matt Salinas.

Salinas had a great record, and his third period fall over Honor ended it nicely with a Division I state championship.  During the season, though, Salinas lost to Haughton's D.J. Monroe, Rayne's Tyler Carrier, and twice to Rabel.

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220 Pounds

1)  Darion Mitchell - Barbe
2)  Perry Ganci - Jesuit
3)  Mack Brown - Brother Martin
Barbe's Darion Mitchell lost only two matches all season.  One was a Sudden Victory 4-2 loss to David Hudson of Lafayette.  That was at 285 lbs., though.  He did not lose again until his one-point loss to Perry Ganci in the Division I state championship finals.  He won the Louisiana Classic, the Ken Cole, and the two other tournaments he entered.

Perry Ganci lost to only Mack Brown of Brother Martin and Darian Mitchell of Barbe.  Brown defeated Ganci in the consolation finals of the Louisiana Classic, but prior to that Ganci defeated Brown twice, and would do so again at the state championships.  In his first match with Darion Mitchell, in the semifinals of the Louisiana Classic, he lost via a fall in 5:26.  In their next meeting, however, in the Ken Cole quarterfinals, Ganci closed the gap between the two, losing only via a 3-1 Sudden Victory match.  The third match was a charm for Ganci, as he defeated Mitchell 2-1 in the Division I state championship finals.

Mack Brown only lost to two Louisiana wrestlers during the season.  Mason Rabel defeated him in the Trey Culotta pool rounds, while Ganci defeated him in a dual meet and in the Louisiana Classic quarterfinals.  Brown's one victory over Ganci was in the consolation finals a day later.  Ganci defeated Brown in the semifinals of the Division I state championships, but Brown rallied to place 3rd.

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285 Pounds

1) Corey Dublin - Jesuit
2)  Jeremiah James - De La Salle
3)  Randy Amos - Holy Cross

Dublin's only loss was his first match of the season, and that was to an Oklahoma opponent.  While going undefeated the rest of the season, he eked out some close matches with Randy Amos of Holy Cross (3-2 and 1-0) and Jeremiah James of De La Salle (4-2).

James' only Louisiana loss came in a 4-2 decision against Dublin.  He defeated East Ascension's Jordan Campbell twice, which placed him behind Dublin and James in this list.

Randy Amos' only Louisiana losses were his two via Dublin, and one to East Ascension's Jordan Campbell, whom Amos had defeated earlier.

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