Sixth-seeded Ulfers earns Division I OW with improbable match run
LHSAA State Wrestling Tournament
Division I, 195 Pounds
May 8th, 2019| Written by: Editor

Weight Class Synopsis Early Championship Rounds Quarterfinals Semifinals Consolation Rounds 3rd and 5th Finals

Cole Ulfers surprised everyone just getting to the semifinals, much less to the finals and the top of the 195 lbs. podium.  Seeded sixth, Ulfers dominated his half of the bracket and then soundly defeated top-seeded Devon Clark of East Ascension.  Ulfers became the first St. Paul's state champion since his brother Shane won one in 2017.  Their father Paul won a Division I state championship for Brother Martin in 1986.

Place 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Name Cole Ulfers Devon Clark Kyle Boell DaiJon Bibbs Alex Newman Jaylon Etienne
School St. Paul's East Ascension Fontainebleau Chalmette St. Amant Comeaux
Seed 6 1 8 5 7 Not Seeded
Class Junior Senior Senior Junior Junior Senior
Final Record* 24-7 45-5 29-8 41-10 35-21 18-14

*    Louisiana opponents only, not including any types of forfeits, byes or junior varsity events.

Weight Class Synopsis

The Division I 195 lbs. weight class looked pretty simple as far as determining who the favorites would be.  With the exception of a 3-2 loss at 220 lbs. to Gavin Bonilla, McKinley's defending state champion, Clark was undefeated against Division I opponents.  (Even had Bonilla opted to go down to 195 lbs., he would not have been a factor due to an LHSAA ruling disallowing McKinley High School from participating in championship events.) 

Brother Martin's Cameron Frederick was seeded second having lost only to Bernard and Division III's William Jicks of St. Lewis.  Holy Cross' Logan Heffner, who was 1-1 versus Frederick, was seeded third quite possibly as, aside from losing matches to Clark and Bernard, he also fell to Brother Martin's Jason Evans.  As Evans lost to Frederick in a wrestle-off, that meant Heffner lost to a Crusader non-starter. 

Byrd's Bailey Creasy was a good choice for the fourth seed, as was DaiJon Bibbs of Chalmette in the fifth spot.  In the sixth spot was St. Paul's junior Cole Ulfers, whose 20-7 record was a bit deceiving.  Four of his losses were at 182 lbs., three to Caden Mumme and one to Michael Clapp, who placed first and third respectively at this event.  At 195 lbs. his losses were to Grant Rabel, Clark and Evans.  When Ulfers lost, he lost to some very good competition.

In this weight class, however, only Ulfers, Clark and Bibbs placed in the top-six.  Frederick was beaten in the first round and only won one other match.  Creasy lost to Bibbs, and a #5 beating a #4 is not uncommon.  Yet Creasy did not recover and lost his next match.  After Ulfers defeated Heffner in the quarterfinals, Heffner managed only one consolation win.  Aside from Ulfers, it can be argued that unseeded Jaylon Etienne of Comeaux had the best performance in the weight class.  He defeated the second-seeded Frederick in the first round and followed that with a round-two fall in 3:27.  In the quarterfinals he beat seventh-seeded Alex Newman of St. Amant.  After his loss to Ulfers he lost a 1-0 match to eighth-seeded Kyle Boell of Fontainebleau in the consolation semifinals.  He then put up another gallant effort against Newman, losing this time 10-8 in a Sudden Victory round.  Yet going 3-3 and placing sixth is a very good state tournament for a non-seeded wrestler.

Now to revert back to the previous synopses model, Clark won the Mandeville Open, the Griffin Open and the Zachary Big Horse.  He placed second at the Spartan Invitational, the South Walton Border Wars and the Trey Culotta Invitational.  At the Ken Cole and the Louisiana Classic he took third.  After a first-round bye and a second-round pin in 1:27 Clark had to survive two very close matches to make the finals.  In the quarterfinals, seventh-seeded Kyle Boell of Fontainebleau fell to Clark by only a 3-2 score and in the semifinals Clark advanced by only one point in a 3-2 win over #5 DaiJon Bibbs.

Ulfers' tournament places included second at the Dale Ketelsen Memorial, fourth at the South Walton Border Wars, eighth at the Trey Culotta and sixth at the Louisiana Classic.  The only tournament Ulfers won was at the St. Tammany Parish Championships, at which he defeated Boell via a 17-2 technical fall.  That was the last tournament before the state championships.  It is hard to believe that win would serve as a portent of things to come.

Early Championship Rounds

R1: (8) Kyle Boell (FNT) pinned Christian Crais (COV) in 5:35
R1: Brian Hibbard (CAT) defeated Hayden Harms (DUT) 5-0
R1: Jaylon Etienne (COM) defeated (2) Cameron Frederick (BM) 6-5
R2: (4) Bailee Creasy (BYR) defeated Brian Hibbard (CAT) 9-2
R2: (3) Logan Hefner (HC) pinned Caleb Daigle (ZAC) in 3:00
R2: (7) Alex Newman (StA) pinned Christian Carradine (AIR) in 2:29
R2: Jaylon Etienne (COM) pinned DaVortez Simmons (HNV) in 3:37

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(1) Devon Clark (EA) defeated (8) Kyle Boell (FNT) 3-2
(5) DaiJon Bibbs (CHL) defeated (4) Bailee Creasy (BYR) 3-2
(6) Cole Ulfers (StP) defeated (3) Logan Heffner (HC) 19-3 TF
Jaylon Etienne (COM) pinned (7) Alex Newman (StA) in 2:33

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(1) Devon Clark (EA) defeated (5) DaiJon Bibbs (CHL) 2-1
(6) Cole Ulfers (StP) pinned Jaylon Etienne (COM) in 2:33

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Consolation Rounds

C3: Denarius Robinson (BRB) defeated Caleb Daigle (ZAC) 6-4 TB-1

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Championship Consolation Rounds

(7) Kyle Boell (FNT defeated (5) DaiJon Bibbs (CHL) via disqualification to place 3rd
 (7) Alex Newman (StA) defeated Jaylon Etienne to place 5th

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(6) Cole Ulfers of St. Paul's defeated (1) Devon Clark of East Ascension 9-4
The sixth-seeded Ulfers owned the first period.  Off the first whistle he shot a double-leg attempt.  Clark stopped it before either dropped to their knees, and when Clark tried to throw Ulfers with a "whizzer," Ulfers dropped the "whizzer" arm to Clark's waste, reached with his other arm collapsed Clark's knee, causing Clark to fall to his back with Ulfers on top.  Ulfers kept Clark on his back for 30 seconds until Clark was able to bridge out of the pinning combination and flip Ulfers to his back temporarily, but Ulfers got out of the predicament before nearfall points could be awards.  With Ulfers leading 5-2, the two went out-of-bounds.  On the restart, Ulfers stood-up once but was taken back down to the mat, then stood-up again and escaped.  The first period ended 6-2 in Ulfers' favor.   Unbeknownst at the time, that would be all the lead Ulfers needed.  Clark chose the bottom position to start the second period and escaped with a stand-up after 40 seconds.  No more points were scored, and the second period ended 7-3 for Ulfers.  Taking the bottom for the third period Ulfers escaped in 10 seconds after a stand-up and took Clark down 45 seconds later with a single-to-a-double-leg lift with just over 1:05 remaining.  Clark stood-up and escaped with 50 seconds remaining.  Down 9-4 Clark tried tying-up with Ulfers to try a throw, but the junior from St. Paul's would not be set-up.  The match ended 9-4, and Ulfers became the lowest seeded wrestler to win a Division I state championship since 2016 when Matthew Putnam of Holy Cross defeated unseeded Brandon Greer of Jesuit.

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