Crusaders eke out 20th state championship; St. Paul's runner-up status is best in Division I history for the Wolves
April 15th, 2020 | Written by: Editor



First-year Brother Martin head coach Andrew Nicola ended the 2020 Louisiana High School wrestling season with his first Division I team title for the Crusaders.  It was the Crusaders' third consecutive title and their 20th in school history.

Leading the way for the Crusaders were the 2018 Division I champion Connor Hoffman at 132 lbs. and defending Division I state champion Alex Duncan at 145 lbs.  They had some additional help, of course.  Freshman Kent Burandt, junior Ethan Castex and senior Riley Horvath were runners-up, and out of the ashes from early January Brother Martin reincarnated junior Chase Scott, who placed third.  Two choices which really paid off for Coach Nicola were moving Hoffman down to 132 pounds and including Scott in the lineup.

Champions - Brother Martin Crusaders Runners-up - St. Paul Wolves

On paper, barely, St. Paul looked like the team to beat.  Both teams had 12 seeded wrestlers.  St. Paul's average seed (combined seed numbers divided by 14, the lower the better) was 2.71.  The Crusaders' was 2.86.  Not much, certainly, but not much is all that is needed for a winning margin.  And before Friday was over, the Wolves' chances seemed to get much, much better.

Oddly enough neither the Wolves nor the Crusaders had the lead after Friday's wrestling.  Had it started raining in the CenturyLink Center on Saturday morning, the Catholic High Bears would have won the Division I state championship.  After Friday's bouts Catholic had 157 points to the Crusaders' 155 and the Wolves' 150.5.  The Bears had 12 wrestlers in the quarterfinals but only advanced five into the semifinals.  Thus, the Bears had seven wrestlers who were good enough to be in the quarterfinals competing Friday night in the fourth and fifth consolation rounds.  Brother Martin had 11 quarterfinalists and advanced eight, so they only had three such wrestlers for consolation rounds four and five.  St. Paul had 13 quarterfinalists and advanced 10, also with three to compete in consolation rounds four and five.

Brother Martin won two state titles and had three runners-up.  The Wolves had one state champion and two runners-up.  That accounts for seven points.  The Crusaders also scored more bonus points, particularly in the consolation rounds.  The Crusaders also outscored the Wolves in bonus points, 65 vs. 50.5.  Hence, the Crusaders had a cushion in the event some of their wrestlers did not perform as expected.

[L-R] Connor Hoffman and Carlos Bertot; Bertot, Alex Duncan and Hoffman; Hoffman and Jacob Elsensohn Pal; Brother Martin Coaches Will and Chuck Stall; Evan Ulfers, Grant Hughes ('18), Cole and Shane Ulfers

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Outstanding Wrestler

Cameron Vaughns - 160 lbs.
C.E. Byrd
Seeded eighth, the Byrd senior won his first two matches with a fall in 3:10 and a 21-4 technical fall.  Next up was defending Division I state champion Mason Massicot of Brother Martin.  Vaughns got past the Crusader 3-1, and then his matches just got harder.  He won his semifinals match over fifth-seeded Santo Ramos of East Ascension 10-8 in a sudden victory period.  In the finals, he faced third-seeded Ian Wyble of Catholic, and he needed another sudden victory period to win the title 6-4.

Final Team Standings

Division I

Division I Brackets in PDF

Place School Points Place School Points Place School Points Place School Points
1 Brother Martin 242 9 Live Oak 144 T-17 Acadiana 62.5 25 Destrehan 25
2 St. Paul 236.5 10 Jesuit 108.5 T-17 Zachary 62.5 26 Sam Houston 24
3 Catholic 209 11 Chalmette 102.5 19 Airline 60.5 27 Southside 23
4 Holy Cross 208 12 Sulphur 82 20 Covington 57.5 28 Central 19
5 Parkway 158 13 Baton Rouge 74 21 Dutchtown 45 29 Bonnabel 8
6 St. Amant 150.5 14 Fontainebleau 73 22 Mandeville 44 T-30 Grace King 6
7 C.E. Byrd 148 15 Comeaux 72.5 23 Barbe 36 T-30 John Ehret 6
8 East Ascension 146 16 Hahnville 64 24 Lafayette 33.5 32 Terrebonne 3

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Individual Champions and Runners-up

Weight Winner School Runner-up Schools Score
106 Ernie Perry, III Airline Jacob Houser St. Paul 1:07
113 Evan Frost Holy Cross Kent Burandt Brother Martin 2:36
120 Jacob Frost Holy Cross Carter Duet St. Paul 1:16
126 Joshua Keeler Parkway Ethan Castex Brother Martin 7-1
132 Connor Hoffman Brother Martin Peter Kelly Catholic 3-1
138 Demetri Teddie C.E. Byrd Caruso Signorelli Holy Cross 7-5
145 Alex Duncan Brother Martin Jacob Yawn C.E. Byrd 10-1 MD
152 Peyton Ward St. Paul Riley Horvath Brother Martin 5-1
160 Cameron Vaughns C.E. Byrd Ian Wyble Catholic 6-4 SV
170 Trent Mahoney East Ascension Blain Cascio St. Paul 2:53
182 Jarin Meyer Baton Rouge Kaleb Garcia Parkway 6-2
195 Christopher Allen Covington Evan Ulfers St. Paul 2-1
220 Logan Brimmer Hahnville Cole Ulfers St. Paul 5-2
285 Connor Finucane Catholic Gavin Soniat East Ascension 3-0

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Random Division I Photographs

Chalmette placers DaiJon Bibbs, Jaden Ben and Deven Durham Deven and Bee Durham The Chalmette Owls Gavin Soniat (EA) and Jaden Ben Gavin Soniat and the East Ascension flag Gavin Soniat, Jaden Ben and Logan Ahlborn on the 285 lbs. Podium

Holy Cross' Frost brothers flanking 4th-place finisher Brandon Gainy The Holy Cross Tigers Parkway's Peyton Miller looking for a ride Jarin Meyer, Shad Sheffie and Trent Mahoney before the finals Comeaux coach Glenn Bernard

Talk about support... Evangel coach John Tademy with Oklahoma City University and former Acadiana wrestler Raven Guidry.

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