The Louisiana Wrestling News "Best of 2017-18" paperweight award winners
April 17th, 2018| Written by: Editor



The editor creates this list to recognize those wrestlers who, in his opinion, had the best overall seasons.  Hence winning a Division I state champion is not an automatic "lock."  Several factors come into play.  They include, but are not limited to, season results at the dual meet and tournament levels, strength of schedule, significant wins, number of matches won or lost (limited to Louisiana competition), and injuries sustained or overcome during the season, among others.  Certain tournaments, such as the state championships, the Louisiana Classic, the Ken Cole and the Trey Culotta are generally weighted higher than other events.  Weight classes chosen for the wrestlers on this list usually represent the weight class in which a wrestler competed for the majority of the season.  Dropping down a weight in February will not place a wrestler in that weight class on this list, unless the wrestlers' fluctuated weight classes throughout the season.

The criteria are a little different for wrestlers in Divisions II and III re the Louisiana Classic.  The weight class D II and D III contenders choose in this event is most likely the one in which they would compete and for what they want to be remembered were they in a Division I program.  In many tournaments, especially the state championships, Division II and Division III wrestlers will compete at a different (usually higher) weight class.   The reasoning is that if they can win against Division I Louisiana Classic competitors, they have a good chance of winning in a higher weight class in Divisions II and III.  In doing so, they may not have to cut as much weight and may feel stronger than at the lower weight.  This may also allow other teammates to join a state championship roster, making their team stronger in their state divisions.   Louisiana Classic champions Blake Mateu, Cooper Simon and Gavin Christ wrestled a weight class higher in their state tournaments.  Camdyn Ingram, Dane Harter and Tyler Carriere did not, but they did not have to work much to make their respective weight classes all season.

Nine wrestlers recorded undefeated seasons against Louisiana competition.  They were Joshua Sarpy of North Desoto, Blake Mateu of Rummel, Jordan Theall of North Vermillion, Daniel Croy of Brother Martin, Gavin Christ of Basile, Patrick Evans of Brother Martin, Camdyn Ingram of Live Oak, Jacob Fereday of Catholic and Tyler Carriere of Rayne.

Some may disagree with the editor's choices, and all comments are welcome.  Let the flaying begin!

Unless noted by "overall", records presented below are against Louisiana wrestlers only.  They do not include forfeits, byes or matches won via the 5-match rule.)

Best of 2017-18 - 106 Pounds
Connor Hoffman -
Brother Martin, Sophomore
Connor Hoffman posted a 39-1 record, his sole loss coming 6-3 in his first match vs. Holy Cross eighth-grader Jacob Frost.  Hoffman owned their next three matches, however, winning by major decisions of 10-2 and 12-4, and 11-4 in the Division I state championships. 

He won the Mandeville Open, the Black Horse, the Trey Culotta, the Louisiana Classic and the Catholic League Championships prior to the Division I state championship.

Frost was 27-4, and aside from Hoffman, only lost one other match, an upset by De la Salle's Zachary Lauland in the Louisiana Classic (Frost came back to place third).  He won the Raider 8, the Brusly 8 and the Jesuit Invitational, and was 2nd at the South Walton Border Wars.

Goodson posted a record of 24-10.  Five of those losses were at 113 lbs.  Four of the other five were to Hoffman and Frost.  He won the Wildcat Open, placed second at the Greater Baton Rouge Championships and third in the Division I state championships.
 Jacob Frost
Holy Cross
 Hunter Goodson

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Best of 2017-18 - 113 Pounds
Blake Mateu - Rummel, Senior
Injuries plagued Mateu's senior season, but they were not severe enough to prevent him from winning his third Louisiana Classic title, his third Division II state championship title, and every other match he wrestled.  His 22-0 record included wins at the Brusly 8 and the Dale Ketelsen Memorial, and wins over defending or soon-to-be state champions Alex Yokubaitis of St. Louis, Colten Sonnier of Teurlings Catholic and Clayton Hill of Live Oak.  He defeated Parkway's Zachary Harper in the Division II state finals in a 1-0 match.

Yokubaitis, a sophomore, posted a 29-1 record for the Division III team champion St. Louis Saints, with his only loss coming from Mateu in the Louisiana Classic finals by a 5-3 score.  The now twice Division III state champion won the Wildcat Open, the Live Oak 8, the Jacob McMillan Memorial, the Brusly Invitational, the Ken Cole and the Division III state title.

Catholic junior Luke Romano was 26-4 on the season, but three of those losses occurred when he was competing at 126 lbs. and 120 lbs.  At 113 lbs. his only loss was to Colten Sonnier of Teurlings Catholic in the Louisiana Classic quarterfinals 8-5, a loss he avenged the next day in a 4-2 Sudden Victory consolation finals.
 Alex Yokubaitis
St. Louis
 Luke Romano

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Best of 2017-18 - 120 Pounds
Cooper Simon - Rayne, Senior
In 39 matches Simon fluctuated from 120 lbs. to 138 lbs.  His only loss was to Chris Montalbano of Rummel in the Jefferson Invitational.  He won the Jacob McMillan, the Lone Survivor, the Louisiana Classic, the Lafayette Metro tournament, the Ken Cole and his second Division II state title, in which he avenged his loss to Montalbano with a pin in 2:34.  At the Louisiana Classic Simon defeated Division I state champion Michael Lundin of Holy Cross, Division I runner-up Justin Leal of Brother Martin and Division I 4th-place finisher Josh Fitzpatrick.

Lundin's sole Louisiana loss in his 22-1 season was to Simon in the Louisiana Classic finals.  He won the Jesuit Invitational and placed second at the South Walton Border Wars.  Later he won the Catholic League Championships and then the Division I state title.

Theall posted a 31-0 record which included wins at the Jacob McMillan, the Brusly Invitational, the Ken Cole and the Lafayette Metro prior to his second Division III state title.  One could make an argument for Theall, however, to have had a better year than Simon or Lundin.  Lundin, however, faced 17 Division I opponents, and he defeated ones who placed second, third and fourth in the state championships six times over the season.  Of those last three, Theall and Lundin only have Fitzpatrick in common, whom Theall pinned and over whom Lundin scored a technical fall.  The overall strength of schedule, however, gives Lundin the nod and validates Simon's top ranking as he gave Lundin his only loss.
 Michael Lundin
Holy Cross
 Jordan Theall
North Vermillion

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Best of 2017-18 - 126 Pounds
Daniel Croy - Brother Martin, Junior
The defending Division 1 champion was 30-0 in Louisiana, and 37-1 overall, with his only loss coming in the finals of the Prep Slam.  He won the Bulldog Brawl, the Trey Culotta, the Louisiana Classic, the Catholic League Championships and a second Division I state championship.  In the Louisiana Classic finals, he gutted-out a 3-2 win over South Walton's Ethan Pickren, who later placed third in the Florida Division 1 state championships.

Stein went 29-3 on the season, and won the Raider 8, the Mandeville Open, the Dale Ketelsen Memorial, the South Walton Border Wars and the St. Tammany Parish Championships.  The junior placed second to Croy at the Trey Culotta, and fourth in the Division I state championships, in which he lost to Jacob Spahn of Holy Cross 8-6 in a Sudden Victory period.  Prior to that loss, however, Stein had defeated Spahn 9-6 and 15-6.

Spahn, a veteran senior for the Tigers, posted a record of 20-8.  He won the Jesuit invitational and placed third at the Louisiana Classic, the Catholic League Championships, and at the Division I state championships.  Six of those losses were to Croy and Stein.  The other two were in his first match of the season, and via a 1-1 season split with Raheem Bonnet of Shaw.  It is a safe bet placing third when seeded fifth felt better than last year, when he was seeded second but placed fifth.
Brandon Stein
St. Paul's
Jacob Spahn
Holy Cross

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Best of 2017-18 - 132 Pounds
Gavin Christ - Basile, Junior
Nobody could have asked for a better season than that had by Basile junior Gavin Christ.  He went 57-0, with 36 falls, seven technical falls and six major decisions.  Only two of his matches, both against Division II champions from Parkway, were won by less than four points - Trey Fontenot gave him a 5-2 match and Trevor Tamburo a 4-2 one.  If anyone thinks Christ wrestled a mainly Division III schedule, they need to think again.  Of the six previous or soon-to-be LHSAA state champions he defeated this season, only one, Ouachita Christian's Mikey Gordy, was from Division III.  Aside from Tamburo and Fontenot, he also defeated 2016 Division I champion Luke Cotton of Brother Martin twice.  He beat this year's Division I state champion Trent Mahoney.  He also defeated this season's Division II state champion, and good friend, Morgan Manuel of Rayne (x4). 

Christ won the Central Wildcat, Griffin Open, Spartan Invitational, Jefferson Invitational, Trey Culotta (with an OW award), Lone Survivor and Louisiana Classic titles for the first time.  He won his second Brusly Division III tournament, and defended his Ken Cole championship (as well as his Ken Cole OW award from 2017). He won his third Lafayette Metro Championship and his fourth Jacob McMillan championship.  After winning his third Division III state championship (and second Division III State Championships OW award), he remains set to become a four-time Division III state champion in 2019.

At the start of this season East Ascension's Trent Mahoney was best known as the kid who pinned Steven Shields in the 2017 Louisiana Classic.  His start in the 2017-18 season, though, did not look promising for the sophomore.  He lost two of his first eight matches.  One was a 5-4 loss to Airline's Thomas Barringer.  The other was a whopping 19-3 technical fall to Covington's Hunter Verret.  Anyone could be a little despondent about such a lackluster start.  But this is East Ascension coach Pat Mahoney's son, and it is doubtful despondency is allowed in that family.  When the season concluded, Mahoney was the Division I 132 lbs. state champion and the Division I Outstanding Wrestler award winner.  He also set a record for wins in a season, with 84, five more than the previous record set by Live Oak's Cody Hill.  In that streak he defeated defending state champion Trey Fontenot of Parkway, and soon-to-be state champions Adam Larriviere of Division I Jesuit (x3), Morgan Manuel of Division II Rayne and Mikey Gordy of Division III Ouachita Christian (x2). 

As for his losses, he convincingly avenged the ones to Barringer and Verret twice apiece.  He had three other losses on the season, and all were from previous or soon-to-be state champions.  Cole Houser of St. Paul's and Richard Mack, III, of North Desoto defeated him by a combined five points.  Those losses were at 138 lbs.  His only other loss was at 132 lbs. to Gavin Christ of Basile in the Ken Cole finals. 

The editor hates giving ties (particularly as it requires a lot of photograph resizing to fit the photos decently), but in this case it seems justified for Brother Martin's Luke Cotton and Jesuit's Luke Eccles.  Heading into the state championships, Cotton's record in Louisiana was 13-2, losing only to Christ.  Eccles had a 12-2 record, losing to Christ and to Brandon Stein of St. Paul's.  Both won only one tournament in Louisiana, and Eccles' win over Cotton in the state semifinals may, in theory, have made-up for his loss to Stein-up for his loss to Stein anIn the state semifinals, Eccles edged Cotton 12-8.  The reason they tied in the editor's mind is that both had horrific endings to their seasons prior to the state championships.  Not via losses, but to physical ailments.  Eccles was slammed in the Louisiana Classic consolation semifinals on January 13th, spent a few nights in a hospital and did not compete again until the state tournament.  Cotton missed three weeks of competition after the Louisiana Classic with the flu and had a relapse prior to the state tournament.  Yet despite these setbacks, both performed admirably in the state championships with Eccles as the runner-up and Cotton taking third.
Trent Mahoney
East Ascension
Luke Cotton
Brother Martin
Luke Eccles

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Best of 2017-18 - 138 Pounds
Cole Houser - St. Paul's, Senior

While it may not have ended as he hoped, Cole Houser still had a spectacular 2017-18 season.  Until the state championships, his only loss was in Holy Innocents' Prep Slam, a rigorous tournament in which he placed third.  Houser won the Raider 8, Mandeville Open. Dale Ketelsen, South Walton Border Wars, Trey Culotta and, for the third time, the Louisiana Classic.  Prior to the state championships he had a record of 28-0 against Louisiana competition, which included wins over Trent Mahoney, Dyllon Bernard, Morgan Manuel, and his Catholic League opponents Alex Duncan of Brother Martin and Mason Macaluso of Holy Cross.  He had not, however, faced a Jesuit wrestler during the season, and when he did in the state semifinals, Adam Larriviere deprived Houser of a chance to win his third-consecutive Division I state championship, handing Houser a 7-4 loss.  Houser had little trouble placing third, with wins of 8-0 over Macaluso and 10-0 over Duncan.  Houser can also lay claim to being the last wrestler to defeat Basile's Gavin Christ, which he did in the finals of the 2017 Louisiana Classic.

Adam Larriviere has had an up-and-down career.  In 2016, seeded first as a sophomore at 113 lbs., he placed fifth (the title was won by Houser).  A tough 2017 season had him seeded sixth at 138 lbs., yet he did not place.  He had a very late start in the 2017-18 season and only compiled a record of 10-3 against Louisiana competition, with all three losses coming from Trent Mahoney of East Ascension.  His record merited him only a fourth seed, behind Houser, second-seeded Dyllon Bernard of Comeaux and third-seeded Alex Duncan of Brother Martin.  Yet, after defeating Houser, the Blue Jay senior was not to be denied a state championship, despite a great effort by Bernard in a 5-4 finals match.  Coming two years apart, both Larriviere twins have state championships, with each beating a well-established #1 seed in doing so.  (In 2016, Eli Larriviere, as sophomore, demolished heavily-favored Javarious Jones of Airline via a 14-4 Major Decision in the finals.)

Dyllon Bernard should have another championship run in the 2017-18 season after a runner-up finish in the 2017 state championships.  Prior to the state finals, Bernard at least came away from every tournament he entered with a win.  He started the season winning the Ronnie Suarez SPOT District Tournament.  He placed third in the Jacob McMillan by defeating Rayne's Morgan Manuel, and he placed third in the Trey Culotta, losing to finalists Trent Mahoney and Houser, but twice defeating Alex Duncan of the Crusaders.  Fifth-place also means winning one's last match, which he did at the Louisiana Classic by defeating Richard Mack, III (his losses at the Louisiana Classic were also to Mahoney and Houser).  Two weeks later he finally won his first Ken Cole title at his home school of Comeaux.  He defeated Parkway's defending Division II state champion Trevor Tamburo in the finals, giving him a 2-1 edge over Tamburo on the season.  That was a big win for the Comeaux junior who missed the 2017 tournament due to an injury at the 2017 Louisiana Classic, and lost a controversial finals match as a freshman in 2016.  After the state finals match, Bernard ended the season with a very respectable 36-6 record.

Adam Larriviere
Dyllon Bernard

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Best of 2017-18 - 145 Pounds
Patrick Evans - Brother Martin, Junior
Junior Crusader Patrick Evans dominated the 145 lbs. weight class.   He was 27-0 against Louisiana opponents, and 50-3 overall.  He won the Mandeville Open, the Cinco Ranch Big 12, the Black Horse, the Louisiana Classic, the Catholic League Championships and the Division I state title.  The only Louisiana tournament in which he did not reign supreme was, oddly enough, Brother Martin's Trey Culotta Invitational.  But it took an out-of-state wrestler, Cullen Tefler of Strawberry Crest, Florida, to defeat Evans in the finals.  However, during that event he did post an important 6-4 win over defending Division I state champion Jared Thieler of St. Paul's.

Matthew Matherne posted a 29-2 record with his only losses coming from Evans in the Louisiana Classic finals and to Live Oak's Camdyn Ingram in the Warrior Open finals (at 152 lbs.)  He won the Central Wildcat, the Bulldog Brawl, the Central (AR) Classic, the All Saints (TX) Tournament, the Evangel Holiday Classic, the Brusly Invitational and the Ken Cole Invitational.  At Bossier City, in his fifth Division III finals appearance, he won his first state championship with a fall in 2:00 over St. Louis' Adam Verrett.

Nakie Brown of St. Amant posted a 44-13 record, which belies how good a season he had. Six of his losses came at the hands of Patrick Evans, Matthew Matherne and Camdyn Ingram (two apiece).  He avenged losses to Comeaux's Dylan Ames and East Ascension's David Pellerin, and split matches with Zachary's Clayton Landry and Zion Marable of Dutchtown.  He had a 1-2 record against Lance Robinson of St. Michael's, and lost a 9-7 match to Aaron John of Sam Houston.  However, Brown beat Taylor Clay of Carencro, Charles Hudson of and Dylan Ames (twice) of Comeaux, all of whom defeated Robinson.  John did not wrestle another event with Division I wrestlers and did not wrestle at all after December 13th.
Matthew Matherne
Ouachita Christian
Nakie Brown
St. Amant

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Best of 2017-18 - 152 Pounds
Camdyn Ingram - Live Oak, Sophomore
Live Oak sophomore Camdyn Ingram was an easy choice.  He won every tournament in which he entered en route to an overall 65-1 record.  His one loss came at the Deep South Bayou Duals to a Virginia opponent.  He won the Warrior Open, the Brusly 8, the Live Oak 8, the Spartan Invitational, the Zachary Big Horse, the Trey Culotta, the Louisiana Classic and the Ken Cole prior to his first Division II state championship title.  He soundly defeated the Division I 152 lbs. runner-up Grant Hughes of St. Paul's, Division I third-place winner Charles Hudson of Comeaux, Nakie Brown of St. Amant, and he gave Matthew Matherne one of his two losses.

Jesuit senior Nathan Koenig started the season like a state champion, winning the Jesuit Open and placing third in the South Walton Border Wars, losing 10-7 to a then undefeated returning Florida state champion.  He was 17-3 after placing seventh in the Kansas City Stampede, but after that he injured his foot.  He returned to competition a month later at the Louisiana Classic, in which he lost twice to Comeaux's Charles Hudson and placed fifth.  After that, though, he returned to state championship form and did not lose again.  He won the Catholic League Championships and knew that he would be seeded third at the state championships due to his losses to Hudson and Hudson's loss to Grant Hughes of St. Paul's in the Louisiana Classic.  In the state championships he defeated Hudson 7-3 and Hughes, in the finals 3-2.  From fifth in the Louisiana Classic to the Division I state title in five weeks is a masterful achievement, proving Koenig had the wherewithal to overcome any adversity that might have deprived him of a second state championship.  Koenig finished the season with an overall 35-5 record, ending on a 15-0 run.

Grant Hughes, as he always has, performed as well as and, in this pundit's opinion, better than he may have been expected to do.  He posted an overall 43-5 record, losing only to Patrick Evans, Ingram (twice), Koenig in the state finals and to an out-of-state wrestler at the Prep Slam.  He won the Raider 8, the Dale Ketelsen, the South Walton Border Wars and the St. Tammany Parish championships.  He placed second to Evans in the Mandeville Open, third in the Prep Slam, second in the Trey Culotta and Louisiana Classic (both times to Ingram), and was the Division I runner-up to Koenig.  Whenever he was asked to over the years, Hughes rose to the occasion, and this year he peaked at the state championships, and he was the highest place-winner for St. Paul's.
Nathan Koenig
Grant Hughes
St. Paul's

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Best of 2017-18 - 160 Pounds
Paul Treuting - Jesuit, Senior
Senior Paul Treuting of Jesuit won his first three matches at 170 lbs., which included a 3-1 win over Holy Cross rival Caden Mumme at the Jesuit Invitational.  In his fourth match he ran-up against two-time Division I runner-up Jacob Fereday of Catholic, which did not pan out as the Blue Jay would have hoped as it entailed an 8-2 loss.  Treuting stayed at 170 lbs. until the Louisiana Classic.  In that time, he won the South Walton Border Wars, and defeated Mumme for the second time via a 14-2 MD.  He placed eighth in the Kansas City Stampede, but did not place at the Prep Slam, an event in which he lost to Mumme 3-1.  In the Louisiana Classic, after a tough 3-0 semifinals win over Comeaux's Evan Richards (which unfortunately ended the Spartan senior's season), he scored a technical fall over Shaw's Martin Garrett in the finals.  After the Louisiana Classic Treuting posted a 12-1 record, with the loss coming to Fereday again, when Treuting moved up to challenge him one last time in a dual meet against Catholic.  Oddly seeded second at the state championships to Jared Thieler of St. Paul's, who had not wrestled a match at 160 lbs. or, for that matter, since December 30th, Treuting nevertheless dominated the event, defeated St. Amant junior Hunter Hawking 9-5 in the finals.  Overall, Treuting posted a 33-7 record, with four of those losses coming from out-of-state competition.

Hunter Hawkins posted a 69-4 overall record, losing to St. Louis' Robert Christman at the Warrior Open in a controversial match which did not involve the wrestlers, twice to Treuting and to Bowman Hill of Vestavia Hills, Alabama in the Trey Culotta finals.  He won the Griffin Open (his second), the Spartan Invitational, the Zachary Big Horse, the Ken Cole (his second) and the Greater Baton Rouge Championships (also his second).  He placed third in the aforementioned Warrior Open, second at the Trey Culotta and second to Treuting in the Division I state championships.

Parkway Division II state champion Dalton Driggers recorded a very good 32-4 record (33-5 overall).  He won the Riot on the Red, the Lone Survivor, placed fourth at the Jacob McMillan and eighth at the Trey Culotta, losing twice in the last two mentioned events.  In the McMillan, one loss was to Evan Richards, whom nobody would see again after an injury in the Louisiana Classic, and the other to Church Point's Haven Dominguez, who would later drop to 152 lbs.  At the Culotta he lost to Bowman Hill of Vestavia Hills, whom he would not see again, and to the defending Division II state champion Martin Garrett of Shaw via a fall in 5:30.  After the Culotta Driggers went 17-1, losing only to Camdyn Ingram.  Seeded second in the Division II state championships, Driggers avenged his earlier loss to the top-seeded Garrett with a 7-4 win and a Division II Outstanding Wrestler award.
Hunter Hawkins
St. Amant
Dalton Driggers

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Best of 2017-18 - 170 Pounds
Jacob Fereday - Catholic, Senior
Catholic senior Jacob Fereday came up one match short of a Division I state championship as a sophomore and a junior, losing first to Airline's Christian Walden and then to Joey Foret of Holy Cross, both multiple state championship winners.  Evidently that did not sit well with Fereday, as he showed this season with a 36-0 record (44-3 overall) that included 30 falls.  He won the Warrior Open (his second), the Brusly 8 (his second), the Trey Culotta, the Louisiana Classic and the Greater Baton Rouge Championships (his third).  He then dominated the Division I state championship with three major decisions (9-0, 11-1 and 16-2), a 5-0 semifinals win and a 9-2 championship over Brother Martin's Mason Massicot.  In his 2017-18 wake he left Shaw's Eduardo Garcia, Holy Cross' Caden Mumme, Jesuit's Paul Treuting twice and Massicot twice, among 30 others.

Tiger junior Caden Mumme posted a 24-6 Louisiana record, albeit he did not win a tournament championship.  He placed second at the Jesuit Invitational (Treuting), third in the South Walton Border Wars (Treuting again), fifth at the Prep Slam (where he placed fifth and defeated Treuting 2-1), second at the Louisiana Classic (Fereday) and second at the Catholic League Championships (Treuting again).  In the Division I state championships Mumme placed third, losing to Treuting for the last time in an 8-2 semifinals match.  His only other loss was to Shaw's Eduardo Garcia, in a 12-10 Sudden Victory match in a dual meet - a loss he avenged 9-4 at the Louisiana Classic.  On the year he also defeated Martin Garrett of Shaw 8-5 and 170 lbs. Division I runner-up Mason Massicot three times: 3-1, 4-1 and 7-2.  Mumme is classified here in the 170 lbs. weight class as he only moved down to 160 lbs. on February 3rd.

Shaw's Eduardo Garcia, a Division II runner-up in 2017, posted an overall record of 55-2.  His losses only came from Fereday and Mumme.  He won the Raider 8, the Mandeville Open, the Jefferson Invitational and the Catholic League championships, placed second at the Trey Culotta and third at the Louisiana Classic.  He had the one win in Sudden Victory over Mumme, a very hard 6-5 win over soon-to-be three-time Division III state champion Brandon Turner of South Plaquemines, and defeated Massicot 6-3 and 3-1.  He won the Division II state championship with a 5:55 fall over Billy Clay of Carencro.
Caden Mumme
Holy Cross
Eduardo Garcia

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Best of 2017-18 - 182 Pounds
Dane Harter - St. Michael, Senior
Dane Harter won the first state championship for St. Michael the Archangel since 2012, and he did it easily.  In the Division II state championships, he recorded falls in 1:12 and 0:17, received a forfeit in the semifinals, and pinned his finals opponent, Parkway's Kaleb Garcia, in 1:55.  That was the last of the 38 falls he recorded on the season, in which he was 47-2.  His two losses were to McKinley's Gavin Bonilla, who would later win the Division I state championships at 195 lbs.  Harter gave up a lot of weight to Bonilla in those matches, which looked to be a large problem as Bonilla first defeated him 16-7.  Three weeks later, in their final match before Harter dropped to 182 lbs. (his natural weight requiring little work to maintain), Harter cut the gap to one point, losing 7-6.  He competed at 182 lbs. for the rest of his season.

Aside from the runner-up finishes to Bonilla in the Spartan Invitational and the Zachary Big Horse, Harter won every tournament he entered, pinning his finals opponent in all but the Louisiana Classic (a 7-2 win over Jesuit's Thomas Arseneaux).  He won the Trey Culotta, the Louisiana Classic, the Ken Cole and the Division II state championship.  His swath of victories included soon-to-be Division I state champion D.J. Evans, whom he pinned in 2:56 in the Culotta finals, two wins over Jesuit's Thomas Arseneaux (0:47 and 7-2), an 8-1 win over Jake Arena of St. Paul's and three pins of Parkway's Kaleb Garcia (in 3:12, 3:00 and 1:55).

D. J. Evans of Airline posted a 39-2 record, losing only to Harter and to Arseneaux (8-4 in the Louisiana Classic), a match he avenged in the Division I state semifinals with an 8-7 win after the first tie-breaker round.  Evans won the Riot on the Red, the Eagle Invitational, the Lone Survivor and the Northwest Louisiana Regions prior to the state tournament.  Pitted against second-seeded Spencer Rayes of Holy Cross in the Division I finals, he was at first being handled well by the senior Tiger, until Evans saw and took the opportunity to inflict a wicked head-and-arm toss, putting Rayes on his back and scoring a fall in 3:17.

Rayes started the season well with a runner-up finish at the South Walton Border Wars and scored wins over Jake Arena of St. Paul's (11-2 MD and 12-0 MD) and Michael Clapp of Brother Martin (11-5).  He was injured in his fourth match at the Prep Slam on December 30th and did not return to action until the Catholic League Championships, at which he competed for the only time at 170 lbs.  He placed third in that event, but in the state championship brackets he was seeded second due to his win over Clapp and Clapp's win over Arseneaux in the Catholic League Championships (at 182 lbs.).  In Bossier City, Rayes scored two falls and beat Clapp 11-0 prior to meeting Evans in the finals.  Rayes finished his senior year 11-2.
D.J. Evans
Spencer Rayes
Holy Cross

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Best of 2017-18 - 195 Pounds
Tyler Carriere - Rayne, Senior
At the Louisiana Classic everyone was looking forward to the 195 lbs. finals match between Defending Division I state champion and top-seeded Matt Salinas of Airline, and the undefeated McKinley junior Gavin Bonilla.  Salinas was 30-1, only losing to an out-of-state opponent, and had 29 pins.  Bonilla was 14-0 with 12 pins.  The third and fourth seeds had records of 32-3 and 28-7 (counting forfeits and the like).  Very few people, if any, thought Rayne's fifth-seeded Tyler Carriere would play a significant role in the event.  Due to football ending on December 1st, Carriere had only competed in the Lone Survivor tournament at Parkway, in which, at 220 lbs., he went 6-1, losing to Haughton's D.J. Monroe via a fall in overtime.

A defending Division II state champion, Carriere did not care about the Salinas-Bonilla match-up - that could wait until the Division I state championships.  Hence after pinning his first opponent in 1:24 (Parkway's Peyton Miller, whom Carriere would pin again in the Division II state finals) and his second, fourth-seeded Brandon Young of Brusly in 2:47, he gave no quarter when facing the top-seeded Salinas.  The match was a very low scoring affair, and everyone was waiting for Salinas to instigate a fast multi-point move.  But that did not happen.  Carriere shut Salinas down and won the match 4-3.  In the finals, in which he was again a major underdog ("underWolf?"), he had an easier time handing Bonilla his only loss of the season 5-2.  Carrier finished the season 27-1.

As for the Division I 195 lbs. wrestlers, Salinas and Bonilla were in a class by themselves, pinning every opponent until the finals.  There, though, it was the junior Bonilla who came out victorious with a 6-1 score.

Bonilla won the Spartan Invitational and the Zachary Big Horse, and finished the season with a 23-1 record.

Salinas won the Riot on the Red, the Eagle Open, the Trey Culotta Invitational, the Lone Survivor and the Northwest Louisiana Regionals.  The Airline senior finished with a record of 35-2.
Gavin Bonilla
Matt Salinas

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Best of 2017-18 - 220 Pounds
Perry Ganci - Jesuit, Junior
Defending state champion Perry Ganci had a phenomenal year after defeating the undefeatable Darion Mitchell of Barbe in the 2017 state championship finals.  After a third-place finish at the South Walton Border Wars, Ganci, only a junior, placed second at the Kansas City Stampede and won Prep Slam X.  He followed those tournaments with wins at the Louisiana Classic (in which he was voted the Outstanding Wrestler), the Catholic League Championships and another Division I state championship title.

Ganci's only problem during the season was Zachary junior Wes Brady.  In the first of three matches, Ganci pinned Brady in 1:16 in the Louisiana Classic finals.  After that, Brady defeated Ganci 10-7 in the Division I Duals State Championships.  To many that loss looked to be merely a "wake-up call" for Ganci.  That was not the case, however, as the two met again in the Division I state finals, and Ganci required a takedown in Sudden Victory to earn his second Division I championship by a score of 3-1.  Ganci finished the season 22-1 (37-3 overall).

Aside from Ganci, only two other wrestlers defeated Brady.  One was East Ascension's Devon Clark in the Zachary Big Horse finals.  Brady, however, avenged that loss three times: in the Trey Culotta finals; in the Greater Baton Rouge Championships finals; and in the Division I state championship semifinals.  The other was Haughton senior D.J. Monroe, who scored an 8-6 win over Brady in the finals of the Ken Cole.  Monroe also won the Eagle Open, the Lone Survivor and the Northwest Louisiana Regionals before winning the Division II state championship.  His only loss in his 36-1 overall record was in the finals of the Riot on the Red, in which Salinas pinned him in 4:42.

As good a season as he had (23-4), Brady, due to Ganci and Monroe, only won the Trey Culotta Invitational and the Greater Baton Rouge Championships of the six Louisiana tournaments he entered.  He was the runner-up in the other four.  Should Ganci and Brady see each other in the 2018-19 season, it would be a pretty good bet to say the matches would be more like the last two between them this past season, as opposed to the quick Louisiana Classic pin by Ganci.
D.J. Monroe
Wes Brady

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Best of 2017-18 - 285 Pounds
Mack Brown - Brother Martin, Junior
Brother Martin junior Mack Brown' first two tournaments were disappointments, as he lost in the finals of the Black Horse in Tennessee (to a Tennessee opponent) and in the finals of the Trey Culotta to East Ascension's Jordan Campbell via a fall in 1:26.  Brown, however, would not let Campbell, whom he had defeated 13-6 in a dual meet in November, nor anyone else, defeat him again.  He won the last two matches against Campbell via a 6-1 Sudden Victory win in the Louisiana Classic finals and a fall in 5:59 in the Division I state finals.  Aside from the Louisiana Classic and the LHSAA state championships, Brown won the Catholic League Championships with a fall in 1:19 over Brady Maillet of Holy Cross.  He finished the season 27-1 against Louisiana competition, and was 33-3 overall, which included runner-up finishes at the Black Horse and the Prep Slam.

East Ascension senior Jordan Campbell recorded a 4404 record during the 2017-18 season.  His lost an early match to Live Oak's Anthony Ingram, whom he pinned in their next three matches, and had the three losses against Brown.  After placing third in the Spartan Invitational he won the Zachary Big Horse, the Trey Culotta Invitational, the Ken Cole (over soon-to-be Division II state champion Miles Santiago of Teurlings Catholic) and the Greater Baton Rouge Championships (his second).

Miles Santiago, a junior from Teurlings Catholic, posted a 35-2 record in the 2017-18 season, with his only losses coming from Brown (a fall in 2:33 in the Louisiana Classic semifinals) and Campbell (a 5-2 loss in the Ken Cole finals).  He won the Jacob McMillan, the Lone Survivor, placed third in the Louisiana Classic, second at the Ken Cole and won the Lafayette Metro championship. In the Division II state finals, Santiago defeated defending champion Anthony Ingram of Live Oak 8-5.
 Jordan Campbell
East Ascension
 Miles Santiago
Teurlings Catholic

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© 2017-8 by Louisiana Wrestling News

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