Bearcats make sure Gavin Christ goes out with a team championship
LHSAA State Wrestling Tournament: Division IILHSAA State Wrestling Tournament: Division II
May 8th, 2019| Written by: Editor





Someone must have picked Basile as the favorite to win Division III this season.  Wait...someone did...last August.  Modesty certainly must be preventing the oracle from acknowledging himself, so simply learn that sometimes he knows what he is talking about.  Some die-hard Saints fans may have picked St. Louis to repeat, but the Saints lost two state champions and a runner-up to graduation.  The Bearcats, on the other hand only lost one senior.  They returned three state champions, three third-place finishers and two sixth-place finishers out of 13 who competed in the 2018 tournament.

Nobody should have bet against the Bearcats this season.  What they did without a full team was ridiculous.  It goes without saying that they were the top Division III school in everything but the Louisiana Classic, as they only had two wrestlers competing, and one was ill (although came very close to placing).  They placed seventh out of 20 teams in the Spartan Invitational.  That's a decent showing for any team, but the Bearcats only had three wrestlers!  They placed fourth out of 22 teams at the Jacob McMillan Invitational with only nine wrestlers. At the Trey Culotta Invitational they placed 8th out of 26 teams with six entrants.  In the Ken Cole they had 12 wrestlers and finished 6th out of 41 teams, but ahead of them were Division II powerhouses Teurlings Catholic and Parkway, and Division I's Comeaux, St. Amant and East Ascension, all of whom placed in the top-eight in the Division I championships.

All Brackets in PDF

Basile won their second state championship 28 years after winning their first.

Undoubtedly the team was led by Gavin Christ, a three-time Division III state champion.  This was his second consecutive undefeated season, and in both seasons he beat the best any team could throw at him.  He won the Trey Culotta twice, the Ken Cole twice and the Louisiana Classic twice in those years.  He joined Carmen Cortez with four state titles for Basile, and is one short of Jimmy Vidrine's record of five (1960-1964).

Yet Christ had a lot of help by sophomore Alex Menier and junior Isaac Cortez, who successfully defended their 2018 state titles.  Junior Hunter Langley had a good enough season to merit a top seeding at 132 lbs. and finished as a runner-up.  At 126 lbs. junior Blake Menier, Alex's older brother, was only seeded fifth yet won over a returning runner-up.  And Logan David, well, how many matches does one need to have prior to a state championship?  How about six, with five wins and a loss to a Division I wrestler.  Ten Bearcats placed in the top six spots.  Of those, only Christ and Dawson Ashford will graduate this year.  The Bearcats should be favorite in 2020 even without Gavin Christ to lead them.  (Care has been taken for four years by the editor to write "Gavin Christ" instead of just "Christ" in circumstances when using the latter may be considered by some to be disrespectful.  Plus, when the editor leaves the shackles of this world, he really wants to go to the snowball stand rather than the Escher stairwell.)

Alex Menier (2nd title) Blake Menier with Church Point's Timothy Routon
Gavin Christ (4th title) Logan David Isaac Cortez (2nd title)

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St. Louis was the defending team champion and won the runner-up spot by 31 points over perennial powerhouse Brusly.  Twelve of the Saints placed in the top six in their weight classes, but the average place of those wrestlers was 3rd.  Only Alex Yokubaitis won a championship.  It was his third-in-a-row, so he will be looking for a fourth title in 2020.

Runner-up - St. Louis St Louis' three-time state champion Alex Yokubaitis  3rd place - Brusly, with state champions Andrew Trahan and Calep Balcuns

Third place winner Brusly had consecutive titlists.  Second-seeded Andrew Trahan won at 132 lbs. and top-seeded Calep Balcuns at 138 lbs. won for the Panthers.  Archbishop Hannan won its first championship in its young program when Deionesio Talbot defeated Nathan Sistrunk at 152 lbs.  Church Point had two state champions: Timothy Routon at 106 lbs. and Bruce Arceneaux at 160 lbs.  Dunham's Robert Rabel won his third championship at 195 lbs. and in its first year, with its only wrestler, Iowa is one-for-one with state champion Dwight Johnson. 

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Outstanding Wrestler

In 2018 Christ was undefeated, and everyone knew he was the best wrestler in the state at 132 lbs.  How that outshone the performance by his freshman teammate, Alex Menier, who defeated a St. Louis senior who had beaten him in their five previous matches is beyond this editor's comprehension.  He proved to be the best wrestler in the 2018-19 season at 132 lbs. also, recording another undefeated season and jumping up to 145 lbs. for the state championships.  Yet the editor believes another Basile teammate, Blake Menier, who was seeded fifth but won the finals over a tough Jamar Brown of De la Salle, should have received that honor this year.

Certainly, Christ deserves outstanding wrestler awards, and he has a lot.  This season he won the OW awards at the Louisiana Classic, the Trey Culotta Invitational and the Jacob McMillan Memorial.  He certainly won his share in his undefeated junior year, and who wants to bet against his winning a few in his freshman and sophomore years?  As a freshman he only lost to senior Seth Oubre of Comeaux in the Ken Cole (Oubre placed third in Division I).  As a sophomore his only loss was to junior Cole Houser in the Louisiana Classic finals (Houser was a defending 2016 Division I champion and would repeat in 2017). 
Gavin Christ - Basile 145 pounds

This was the third time that Christ won the Division III Outstanding Wrestler award.  As far as the editor is concerned, he earned the one in 2017 by defeating a defending state champion.  In 2017 one can use the same argument to see that Jourdan Theall of North Vermillion earned it by defeating a defending champion from Basile, Brennan Langley.

Perhaps national recognition would be better.  Yet wait...he was honored as the best wrestler in Louisiana by the Wrestling Insider News-magazine (WIN) this year and last year.  Odds are he will soon get a Dave Schultz award in the near future.

Honestly one cannot blame the coaches for voting Christ the Outstanding Wrestler awards.  Wrestlers can hope to get them, but they do not have control over whether they do.  Simply put, Christ has been the outstanding wrestler in Louisiana for the last two seasons.  He has earned every recognition he has received.

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Final Team Scores

Place Team Points Place Team Points Place Team Points Place Team Points
1 Basile 282 8 Kaplan 74.5 15 Iowa 30 22 11 South Plaquemines
2 St. Louis 224.5 9 Lakeside 73 16 Haynes 23 23 6 Bolten
3 Brusly 193.5 10 North Vermillion 69 17 Calvary Baptist 19 24 4 Episcopal
4 Hannan 151 11 South Beauregard 65 T-18 Parkview Baptist 18 25 3 Crescent City
5 Church Point 120 12 Dunham 61.5 T-18 Summerfield 18 26    
6 Evangel 92 13 John Curtis 55.5 20 Notre Dame 17 27    
7 De la Salle 84 14 Ouachita Christian 41 21 Thomas Jefferson 15 28    

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