Louisiana's top-two teams do not disappoint: St. Paul gets the best of Brother Martin 34-29
December 14th, 2019 | Written by: Editor



(NOTE: This article was spellchecked with the editor's HTML editor and his failing mind.  If it was proofed at all, it was by the editor's cat.  Revisions may be needed and will be addressed as discovered.  Photos will be available by, well, let us say XMAS at least, but probably much earlier.)

Luminaries from north of the lake, south of the lake and the Westbank were in abundance Friday night at the St. Paul old gymnasium for what a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map might call a one-in-10-year dual meet between the defending Division I state champion Brother Martin Crusaders and the consensus top challenger for the 2020 Division I title, the St. Paul Wolves.

Past state champions Connor Hoffman, Mason Massicot and Cole Ulfers were there...wait, they were wrestling.  Legendary coaches Craig Ketelsen, Rick Zimmer, James Casadaban, Jr., Matt Pinero, Brother Martin head coach Andrew Nicola and others were in attendance...wait...well, they were coaching.  Officials Neil Badeaux and Andrew Mullet were there...yet they were officiating. 

OK, how about Jim Ravannack, Hahnville head coach Dan Erwin, Stan Mikal, James Casadaban, Sr., head official Jerry Schmidt, Daniel Croy's father (it is so close...), former Brother Martin state champion Paul Ulfers, now the father of the wrestling Ulfers twins.  And not affiliated with either school, Jesuit parents of Jordan, Kelly and Gary Giewat.

Jim Ravannack, Neil Badeaux and Dan Erwin Messrs.. Mikal, Croy, Ulfers, Casadaban Sr., Schmidt

On December 12th the editor estimated St. Paul's to be favored in eight matches, Brother Martin in three and that three matches were toss-ups.  He had a 50-50 chance re the toss-ups as either St. Paul would win all three, or St. Paul would win two and the other would win one.  And thus, he was correct as St. Paul's won two of the toss-ups and Brother Martin won one of them.

While favoring the Wolves to be victorious, he was correct in that they won eight matches to the Crusaders' six.  They just were not the ones he expected.  He though the Crusaders would dominate from 182 lbs. to 285 lbs.  Instead, the teams split those matches.  It fell to the smaller guys, from 106 lbs. to 126 lbs. who ran-off four consecutive wins, and an unexpected effort by Grant Nastasi who took 2018 Division I state champion Connor Hoffman to a Sudden Victory period before falling 9-7.

Result Brother Martin
St. Paul
What the Editor Recalls
145 Alex Duncan (BM) pinned Grant Vicknair (StP) in 3:04 6 0 Vicknair put up a good fight until the middle of the second period.  Trailing only 2-0 after the first two minutes it appeared Vicknair had a better chance than some would have thought.  But the state champion Duncan took just over a minute of the second period to escape, take Vicknair down and score a fall.
152 Peyton Ward (StP) defeated Riley Horvath (BM) 7-6 after TB-1 6 3 This match was all Ward's until the middle of the second round when Horvath, behind 5-1, took Ward down to his back for a five-point move and a 6-5 lead.  Ward escaped and the first six minutes ended in a 7-7 tie.  Nobody could score during the SV period, and Ward was able to ride Horvath for the 30 seconds of the first half of the TB-1 round.  Horvath, however, could not keep hold of Ward in the second half of the TB-1 period and, after Ward escaped, was unable to score again on Ward.
160 Mason Massicot (BM) defeated Ben Davidson (StP) 5-3 9 3 This match lived up to its hype.  Massicot got the win, but Davidson showed he could contend with the defending state champion, and came close to scoring a takedown along with his escape and reversal which could have sent the match to overtime or won it outright for Davidson.  If neither opts to move from 160 lbs., some good matches should be had between these two.
170 Blain Cascio (StP) defeated Eli Hope (BM) 8-7 9 6 Cascio almost ended this quickly with a first period lateral drop, but he could not finish it.  However, after his first attempt at pinning Hope failed, sweat had become an issue and he missed a second lateral attempt and he was only ahead 5-3 after the first period.  After a second period escape and takedown Hope was ahead 6-5, and Hope's second takedown of the round after a Cascio escape put Hope ahead 8-6 entering the third period.  Cascio started on bottom, escaped, took Hope down for a one point lead and held onto the Crusader to preserve the 9-8 win.
182 Joshua Sabadie (StP) Pinned Anton Brown (BM) in 1:41 9 12 The experience of Sabadie proved too much for Brown, who had only one match "under his belt" before the evening started. 

This was how the editor thought the last four weight classes would go.
195 Cameron Frederick (BM) pinned Evan Ulfers (StP) in 2:31 15 12 Ulfers looked better in the first period albeit only nursing a 2-0 lead.  He escaped to start the second period and looked to end the match with a head-and-arm throw, but Frederick did not let Ulfers settle into his throw and rolled through it putting Ulfers on his back.  Frederick did settle his position and was awarded a fall at 2:31.
220 Cole Ulfers (StP) pinned Kyle West (BM) in 2:48 15 18 If this match is repeated over the season it should get better.  The defending Division I runner-up West had not wrestled a match all season while the defending Division I state champion was 9-1.  West got the first takedown for a 2-0 lead, but then Ulfers escaped, took him down, scored two nearfall points and then three more for an 8-2 lead after two minutes.  Ulfers let West escape to start the second round and then took just 48 seconds to take West down again, put him on his back and score a fall.

If one remembers last season, West was pinned by Holy Cross's Ryan Duty in his fifth match of the season, but defeated Doody in their next two meetings, including the state championship semifinals.
285 Adam Bourgeois (BM) pinned Matthew Gros (StP) in 1:14 21 18 Initially Gros looked better when the two started the match, but he erred and ended up on his back.  Bourgeois, who appears very strong, kept him there.
106 Jacob Houser (StP) defeated Mason Eisensohn (BM) 3-0 21 21 This match was as close as expected but Houser dominated it more than the 3-0 score indicates.  He took a 2-0 lead into the second round, in which he scored his escape point. Herd round and he rode Elsensohn for the entire third period.  One mistake by Houser in their next meeting and there could be a much different result.  Just not on this night.
113 Trey Faherty (StP) defeated Dylan Moser (BM) 8-3 21 24 The editor thought this would be closer, but Faherty looked very, very sharp throughout.  Neither should be overlooked by their opponents, but Faherty dominated this one with three takedowns and a reversal vs. only two escapes and a penalty point for Moser.
120 Carter Duet (StP) defeated Jake Spellman (BM) 10-0 MD 21 28 NOTE TO SELF: Do not limit Carter Duet's potential to win as a "toss-up."  I knew Duet was good - it took a soon-to-be and a former state champion to give him his two state tournament losses in 2019.  But his two second-place tournament finishes did not appear to entail the caliber of competition that Spellman's two third-place finishes did.  No matter to Duet.  The St. Paul junior held Spellman pointless, and more importantly his extra team point via his 10 point major decision sealed the win for the Wolves.
126 Michael Rader (StP) pinned Ty Duncan (BM) in 3:32 21 34 The St. Paul junior was too experienced for the Crusader freshman.
132 Ethan Castex (BM) pinned Sean Cripple (StP) in 3:41 27 34 This looked to be an easy match for Castex as the defending Division I runner-up opened with a takedown and a three-point nearfall.  But Cripple put an end to that thought by reversing Castex to his back and scoring five points of his own.  Castex gathered himself in the second round to escape, take Cripple down and pin him, but it is just another example of how one little mistake can mar a match or a meet...or a tournament, for that matter.
138 Connor Hoffman (BM) defeated Grant Nastasi (StP) 9-7 SV 30
34 Despite that Nastasi had a 14-2 record with a Dale Ketelsen Memorial championship and a fourth-place finish at the Border Wars, while Connor Hoffman's record was only 1-0 (albeit a very good 1-0 coming from a 5-3 win over Rummel's Jacob Ramirez), few if anybody thought Nastasi had much of a chance against a healthy 2018 state champion Connor Hoffman.  All except Nastasi, perhaps.  In the first two periods the two traded two takedowns and two escapes apiece to enter the third period tied 6-6.  An escape gave Nastasi a one-point lead in the third period, and a stalling point on Hoffman gave the St. Paul wrestler a two-point lead.  Hoffman, though, was able to manage a takedown to tie the score at 8-8 and force a Sudden Death period.  Hoffman got the win in the Sudden Death minute, but kudos go to Nastasi who performed more than admirably.

Brother Martin was assessed a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct called on Coach Nicola.


Some may mention that defending Division I state champion Logan Bertot was not on the Brother Martin roster, and that had he pinned Rader at 126 lbs. the Crusaders would have prevailed 35-28, or had he simply decision Rader the Crusaders would have squeaked out a 32-31 win.  But there were too many other close aspects in this match to think any one match would have made a significant difference.  And do not forget that Rader was injured at the Border Wars in 2018 and only had 13 matches last season, garnering a 10-3 record with his three losses coming from Jacob Frost.  His wins included the likes of Jesuit's Sam Dreuil, Teurlings Catholic's Matthew Carrier and Catholic's Ethan Ourso.  Were there a second match between the two teams, would Frederick and Bourgeois prevail that time?  Could Houser afford another close match with Elsensohn or would Nastasi take Hoffman into an overtime period.  Who knows.

This was a great match between the two favorites to take home the Division I Brother Melchior Trophy.  The Crusaders know they are beatable (albeit this was only their second dual meet loss to a Louisiana team since 2011) and have some work to do if they want to retain their trophy.  The Wolves have vindicated themselves against anyone who thought they would not give the Crusaders a match, no matter how good they may look on paper.

There's lots'a wrestling left.

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