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WRESTLING-SPECIFIC MEDIA

1969 Mets and Jets, Buster Douglas, Seabiscuit, Ishtar got made...not this year
September 23rd, 2022| Written by: Nostradammit

 

 

Previewing a season is a crapshoot, at best.  I spent plenty of time producing the numbers presented below, but even my daughter's Magic 8-Ball realizes the folly of my attempt to quantify the 2022-23 season based on 2021-22 state championship results.  The Magic 8-Ball did pretty well, though.  There are 20 possible answers.  Ten indicate "Yes" and five indicate "No."  The other five are vague.  So, there was only a 25% chance I would get an answer like the one shown.  (And please, trust me.  I did not shake it until I got the answer I liked.  Many Magic 8-Ball owners know that if you can just get a readable answer you should accept it.  If this Magic 8-Ball knows anything, it knows I am not afraid of it and that I would find climbing an extension ladder just to throw it in the street enjoyable.)

Intangibles win championships.  Intangibles are "difficult or impossible to define or understand; vague and abstract," according to the OED.  Intangibles keep me in an air-conditioned house.

As a vague guide, the number of points per wrestler (PPW) scored in the 2022 state championships by wrestlers eligible to return for the 2022-23 season can be extrapolated to marginally predict how teams may fare at the 2023 state championships.  New kids, kids who get hurt, kids who quit - nobody can guess in September what will happen come the following February (or so says my high school physics and Algebra II teacher).  My daughter's Magic 8-Ball response, pictured at left, oddly, was predictable.  It should read "Why are you wasting so much time on this when you have a driveway to expand, shingles to replace, garden beds to 'minimalize' and a garage to put into some semblance of order?"  That, though, would take a rather large Magic 8-Ball, and one that knows way too much.


At least seven 2022 state championship team members must be eligible to return to make these lists.  Records may not match TrackWrestling data for 2022 state championship placers (LWN rules apply for placers' records).  Defending or returning state champions are bolded.

Division II   Division III

Division I 

1st - Brother Martin 2nd - Jesuit 3rd - Catholic 4th - East Ascension 5th - St. Paul

What may come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, the Brother Martin Crusaders should be a fairly heavy favorite to repeat as Division I champions.  Jesuit and Catholic will put up a fight through the semifinals, but some Blue Jays and Bears will need help from other teams to keep the Crusaders from locking up the title, if not before the finals start, then after Brother Martin wins an individual title.

2023 Brother Martin Prediction - 1st
2022 - 1st
Average points per returning wrestler: 17.94
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Trey Trainor 27-17 10th DNP 8
Richie Clementi 38-0 10th 1st 34
Jacob Elsensohn 48-3 11th 3rd 22.5
Ty Duncan 43-7 12th 2nd 24
Nick Cusimano 37-7 12th DNP 9
Kent Burandt 39-3 12th 2nd 27
Samuel Riles 34-10 12th 6th 13
Evan Huling 33-14 12th DNP 6

Crusader parents can bet half of their kids' college funds on the Crusaders defending their 2022 Division I title.   Five returning Crusaders were on the podium in 2022.  The three who were not will all be seniors (do not expect a "DNP" to be anywhere near Nick Cusimano's name this season).  They should be a tremendous help to the six Crusaders new to the tournament.

Senior Ty Duncan may earn an initial starting spot in the lineup as he was a 2022 finalist.  Classmate Kent Burandt, well, he only knows how to be a state finalist.  Nobody needs to tell Burandt he has not won any of his first three finals opportunities, though.  A different approach to thinking along that line is that in three years he has only lost to state champions.  And then there is sophomore Richie Clementi.  If other squads need any consolation, well, Clementi topped-out at 34 points.  He cannot score more than that in 2023.

Other bad news for the other teams is that the returning Crusaders average 17.94 points per wrestler (PPW).  That is 1.3 points higher than Jesuit and over three points better than Catholic.  But it gets worse.  The Crusader depth is extraordinarily strong.  Vying for a spot on the roster will be junior Hunter Chabert, who was 43-9 last season before falling in a wrestle-off to Ty Duncan.  Sophomore Rory Horvath has the pedigree and was 31-15 as a freshman.  He also defeated Basile's DIII state champion Luc Johnson twice at the Trey Culotta.  Seniors Bryce Hite (34-11), Matthew Meyer (11-7), Logan Dacuyan (23-17), Tai LeBlanc (24-15), Jake Allelo (22-12) and Gabriel Brewer (7-3), and five other Crusaders with winning records last season, will be available.  And that does not count incoming freshman Seth Oubre and classmate Mark Graffagnini, whose father was coached by someone the editor remembers seeing in a mirror long ago.

2023 Jesuit Prediction - 2nd
2022 - 2nd
Average points per returning wrestler: 16.64
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Bodi Harris 34-3 10th 2nd 24
John M. Bourgeois 18-6 12th DNP 10.5
Chase Haydel 25-12 12th DNP 7
Grant Herbert 17-13 12th 2nd 24
Wyatt Mire 9-7 10th DNP 8
Jackson Calderano 27-15 11th DNP 11
Spencer Lanosga 12-0 11th 1 32
While the Blue Jays might lack the depth of the Crusaders, their returners are pretty well seasoned and spaced-out well between weight classes.  With some quality new kids, they will still require a lot of outside help to win their first Division I title since 2009, though. 

Jesuit will have competitors at 195 lbs. and 220 lbs. to fill the hole left by Dennis Dougherty at 220 lbs. and to put up a fight with Sulphur's Corey Hyatt, who may go 195 or 220 lbs.  Senior Dominic Loguidice was 8-3 last season and junior Patrick Matthews was 19-10.  Sophomore Griffin Ellis was 11-3.  The Blue Jays will need good efforts from seniors Arthur Schott (14-12), Jack Seidel (12-9) and a healthy James Nolan (5-3), who was out between November 20th and February 5th last year.

2022 runner-up, sophomore Bodi Harris, and seniors John Michael Bourgeois, Chase Haydel and Grant Herbert, who was also a runner-up, give the Blue Jays a strong light-middle weight contingent. 

Then there is defending state champion junior Spencer Lanosga.  Like Brother Martin's Kent Burandt, he ends up in state finals matches.  Lanosga won his second one, though, and is expected to win two more.  And, unfortunately for other teams, and perhaps just in general, it is tough to get around him.  In the middleweights a coach can adjust the lineup to work around an opponent.  At the extreme weight classes, one cannot.  The kid who needs to wear wet towels on a scale to compete at 106 lbs. probably cannot add seven pounds to go 113 lbs.  And when a kid is already approaching 285 lbs., or even 250 lbs., cutting down to 220 lbs. is a tall order.  Such is life on the edges.

2023 Catholic Prediction - 3rd
2022 - 3rd
Average points per returning wrestler: 14.35
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Matthew Sanders 21-28 11th DNP 6
Grant Grizzaffi 29-7 12th 3 21
Watts Goodson 34-4 12th 1 26
Christian Worley 34-5 11th 4 15.5
Elijah Gilmore 28-15 12th 6 11
Gabe Cuba 22-10 11th DNP 2
Blake Landry 25-18 12th DNP 2
Thomas Domangue 31-6 12th 1 28
Nicholas Migliacio 36-10 12th 6 13
David Russell 22-9 12th 5 15
On paper a few seasons ago, the 2021-22 Bears were supposed to give Brother Martin a run for the Division I title.  They gave Jesuit a run for the runner-up plaque, though, only succumbing to the Blue Jays after the last Division I match of the event.  The 14.35 PPW average, however, may be deceiving.  The two points each scored by Cuba and Landry skew the final average.  Were they not counted, the Bears return seven 2022 state tournament team members with each averaging 17.44, which puts them above Jesuit and a mere half-point behind the Crusaders.  Were that the case, the Bears would have to add seven new state championship entrants - except that two of them would have state championship experience.  They will also have 12th Happy Butler.  Butler was 15-11 last season but did not compete in the state championships, possibly due to a hat incident.  He did in 2021, though.  He placed 6th and scored 15 points.

Seven returners were on the 2022 podium.  Six of those are seniors and the other a junior.  Three others scored points.  And the Bears have capable replacement wrestlers ranging from the lightest to the heaviest weight classes.  Freshman Kristian Scott was 11-0 and a J.V. state champion.  Juniors Landry Turner and Reece Knight had a combined record of 36-22.  Sophomore Caleb Shelton was 10-3.

It is good to have two returning state champions.  No other Division I teams can say that.   But the more one looks at the Bears, the stronger they get.  State champion seniors Watts Goodson and Thomas Domangue, with Grant Grizzaffi, Christian Worley and Elijah Gilmore, will give the Blue Jays some trouble.  And the Bears have the advantages in the heavier weights over the Blue Jays and the Crusaders with seniors Nick Migliacio and David Russell.

2023 East Ascension Prediction - 4th
2022 - 5th
Average points per returning wrestler: 10.67
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Aiden Krass 35-21 10th 5 17
Jesse Maneckshaw 48-15 11th 5 19
Joshua Wakefield 25-34 11th DNP 0
Lucas Maneckshaw 53-13 11th DNP (Injury) 9
Dylan Amedee 24-36 12th DNP 0
Daven Calvaruso 29-31 12th DNP 4
Jacobi Clement 33-16 11th 6 17
Gabriel Bonin 48-14 12th DNP 6
Jacob Schexnaydre 43-9 12th 4 24
Brian Cullen 20-27 10th DNP 0
East Ascension has 10 starters returning, none of whom care much about the hard work the state championships seeding committee does.  Senior Jacob Schexnaydre was seeded fifth and placed fourth.  Sophomore Aiden Krass was seeded seventh and placed fifth, as did junior Jesse Maneckshaw, who was seeded sixth.  Junior Jacobi Clement was not seeded in the top-eight yet finished sixth.

Of course, that works both ways.  Senior Gabriel Bonin wants another shot at being seeded at least third, and Lucas Maneckshaw, well, he just wants to finish on his own terms.  The two scored 15 points between them in 2022, but probably feel they left at least 20 points unclaimed.

Add new kids like junior Holden Wempren, and seniors Cameron Holmes and Brian Cullen, and you get the combined experience of an aggregate 63-27 2021-22 season record.  They will probably have another 150 more matches under their belts prior to the 2022-23 state championships.  Coach Pat Mahoney got some of his kids 50+ matches during the COVID-19 shortened 2020-21 season.  The Spartans will be ready, even if their next best shot to crack the top-three comes in the 2023-24 season.

2023 St. Paul Prediction - 5th
2022 - 4th
Average points per returning wrestler: 10.13
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Cole Mire 16-17 10th DNP 4
Conlan Enk 29-4 11th 2 23
Colin Cusimano 26-8 12th DNP 7
Brycen Dupre 19-15 12th DNP 1
Landry Barker 33-1 12th 1 30
Jared Paulino 27-14 11th DNP 8
Jackson Peak 33-13 10th DNP 4
Sam Gros 17-11 11th DNP 4
The Wolves lost a lot of good wrestlers to graduation.  Two-time state champions Jacob Houser and Grant Nastasi are gone, as are Trey Faherty (6th), Ethan Viator (3rd) and Ian Lyons (6th).  Only two returners for St. Paul were on the 2022 podium, but they were in the #1 and #2 tiers.  The others six scored points, though, and experience counts. 

State champion senior Landry Barker should lead the Wolves, as well as runner-up junior Conlan Enk.

St. Paul does not have the depth of Brother Martin, Jesuit and Catholic, but they do have four returners who know what it was like to be a member of, if not a starter, a state championship team.  Seniors Liam Schroeder and Nathaniel Theiss, and juniors Baylor Delaune and Matthew Burmaster, combined for 62 wins against only 38 losses in the 2021-22 season. 

It should be a race between the Spartans of East Ascension and the Wolves for fourth place.

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Wild Card - Holy Cross

The Tigers are young, and they may be in the running with East Ascension and St. Paul come the 2023-24 season, but with a little luck they might give the Spartans and the Wolves some trouble at the Brookshire Grocery Center in February.  Ten might return from their 2022 squad.  Should he want to, another experienced Tiger could return and probably fare very well in his 12th year.

Sophomore Landon Smith split with D1 fourth-place winner Luke Olsen of Airline at the state championships, in which he was not seeded yet placed sixth.  He defeated D1 runner-up Conlan Enk of St. Paul and defending D3 state champion Luke Caballero of St. Louis in the Louisiana Classic.

Nicholas Sauerwin may be on pace to match his older brother Charles' success.  Now a junior, the unseeded sophomore placed fourth in 2022.

Cardiac doctors may recommend not trying to predict what Gunner Guidry will do.  The sophomore was seeded eighth in 2022 and placed sixth.

Defending Louisiana Classic champion and state third-place winner Nick DiGeralamo, a sophomore, is the Tigers' best bet to be on top of the podium in February.  He might very well have placed higher than third if not for an unintended semifinals slam that cost him the match, albeit not the tournament.

Get-bys:

Yes, I just coined that.  Get-bys are returning or former state champions one has to get by to win a state title if they are in one's weight class.

No one stands out more than Airline's Ernie Perry.  In three years, he has yet to lose to a wrestler from Louisiana.  He has three Louisiana Classic titles and three Division I state championships to go with them.  He stands to win his fourth title before a home crowd in Bossier City, so one might expect some noise if he makes it to the finals, maybe even t-shirts.  Some (mostly myself) might think my mentioning this could jinx him in his 12th year.  If Perry feels that way, he will just work harder to WORK OUT THE JINX, so to speak.  Should he win again he will be only the third Division I wrestler to achieve the feat since Divisions were created in 1975, joining Brother Martin alumni Paul Klein (2015) and Steven Shields (2017).

Airline's Logan Olsen is another Viking of whom to be wary.  The junior placed fourth in 2022.

Catholic has two get-bys in Watts Goodson and Thomas Domangue.  Brother Martin's Richie Clementi will be looking for a second undefeated season, as will Jesuit's Spencer Lanosga.  Sulphur's Corey Hyatt will be looking for his third undefeated season.  Landry Barker of St. Paul is a good bet for a lossless season, as well.  ("Lossless" is a word?)

Others to watch:

Southside has a couple of senior looking for redemption from 2022.  Wiley Boudreaux and Landon Reaux did not place where they expected.  The top-seeded Boudreaux was upset in the semifinals and placed third.  Reaux was upset at the weigh-ins on Friday morning and did not have a chance to defend his 2021 title.  Sophomore Kael Reaux, no doubt, will expect to place better than his already unexpected fourth in 2022.

Keep a wary eye on Walker's Kye Karcher.  The sophomore Wildcat placed sixth from an eighth-seed spot in 2022 and has been gaining a lot of national experience over the summer.

Dutchtown's Cole Mire, a runner-up in 2022, has an odd advantage.  He lost to Ernie Perry in the 2022 finals.  Perry's other two finals wins were over Jacob Houser of St. Paul and Mason Elsensohn of Brother Martin.  Both won state championships the following year.

If Lafayette senior Jensen Bergeron can keep his head...I mean literally, if he can keep his head working...he should be a force in the 2022-23 season.  Two concussions kept him out of a lot of events last season, and thus he was seeded only sixth.  But he waxed third-seeded Gabriel Bonin of East Ascension 14-5 MD in the quarterfinals prior to being knocked unconscious in his next match.

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 Division II

1st - Teurlings Catholic 2nd - Rummel 3rd - North Desoto

For all practical purposes, the Division II Brother Melchior Trophy is back in the Teurlings Catholic safe, in a vault, in a volcano, which is now in the Metaverse, and the only one who knows the username and password lives in a house guarded by an unfed Cerberus.  The Rebels graduated two 2022 state champions and four runners-up, yet the returning half of the 2022 squad averages almost four PPW more than the graduated 12ths (20.43 PPW).

Only three teams are listed for Division II.  As Shaw moved down to Division III, Rayne looks to place fourth.  The fifth-place team would have been Carencro, but there was an 80-point difference between Rayne and the Bears.  Parkway may have something to say about that.    The Panthers will play a factor, but do not return the strength required to vie with Rummel or North Desoto team-wise.  The team battle in Division II, though, will be for the runner-up plaque.

 

2023 Teurlings Catholic Prediction - 1st
2022 - 1st
Average points per returning wrestler: 24.29
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Brennan Romero 31-7 10th 1 25
Brennan Boyer 26-6 11th 2 24
Ethan Boudreaux 38-7 12th 1 29
Brandt Babineaux 26-10 10th 2 22
Hudson Sharon 23-5 11th 2 23
Owen de Boisbanc 32-11 12th 3 19
Kole Hayes 21-10 12th 3 28

Last season Teurlings Catholic showed they were equal to Jesuit in being the second-best team in the state.  While overtaking the Crusaders is unlikely, they may take sole possession of that moniker this season.  Few schedules are available as yet, but the Rebels should have events with the likes of Jesuit and maybe Catholic before the Louisiana Classic.

Two state champions, sophomore Brennan Romero and senior Ethan Boudreaux, three runners-up and two third-place finishers are returning for the Rebels.

The Rebels have plenty in the coffers, too.  Sophomore Daniel Daspit (24-19) won the Griffin Open and the Rayne Invitational, placed fourth at the Jacob McMillan and the Lafayette Metro and seventh at the Black Horse.  Senior Layne Rivette won the Rayne Invitational and the J.V. State Championships, placed second at the Griffin Open, fourth at the Lafayette Metro, and fifth at the Black Horse.  Senior John Wayne Prejean won the Trygg Memorial and placed third at the Jacob McMillan.  Junior Noah Bernard won the J.V. State Championships, placed second at the Trygg Memorial and third at the Rayne Invitational and Lafayette Metro.  Senior Drew Snyder won the North Vermillion J.V. tournament, placed second at the Rayne Invitational and third at the Jacob McMillan and the Lafayette Metro.  Other non-state members with double-digit wins are sophomores Ryan Clavier (14-10), Thiery White (12-9) and Kade Leon (16-7), junior Evan Hebert (22-8) and senior Kyle Stephens (19-13).

The Rebels have an incoming freshman in Alex Rojas.  His first impression on the mat, most likely, could be filled with plaster so as to identify his first opponent.

2023 Rummel Prediction - 2nd
2022 - 3rd
Average points per returning wrestler: 12.60
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Kaiden Triche 42-15 10th 2 21
Stephen Kimball 38-12 11th 3 20
Jake Brandstetter 34-21 10th 4 15
Cameron Gandolfi 35-17 11th 5 13
Austen Shook 24-16 12th 3 18
Zach Truxillo 18-23 12th DNP 4
Marques Vazquez 9-13 12th DNP 4
Neil Borne 25-18 12th DNP 3
Lucien Paternostro 4-1 12th 3 21
Jack Seither 17-20 11th DNP 7
The Raiders may not have any returning state champions but they have a lot of talent, particularly in the lower weight classes.  Senior Neil Borne no doubt expects to have a better tournament in 2023 and one really does not know what to expect from senior Lucien Paternostro, who appears to have wrestled all five of his 2021-22 season matches at the state championships, resulting in a 4-1 record and a third-place medal.  Kaiden Triche is a returning runner-up, and Stephen Kimball and Austen Shook placed third for the Raiders in 2022.  Jake Brandstetter and Cameron Gandolfi look to better their respective fourth and fifth place finishes.

Dominic Durham should be on the state roster.  The freshman posted a 22-8 record last year as an eighth-grader at Holy Cross, which included wins over Kaiden Triche of Rummel (D2 2nd), Bryce Latino of Lakeshore (D2 6th), Matthew Sanders of Catholic (twice), Samuel Favaza of Fontainebleau and Lawton Royer of Dequincy (D3 5th).  He did not lose to any slouches, either.  Jesuit's runner-up Bodi Harris defeated him three times, and he fell to D1 defending state champion Landon Reaux of Southside and D1 3rd-place winner Layton Hirschey of Live Oak.

New to the state championship roster may be junior Nathan Heater (13-5), who made it to the semifinals of the Gulf Coast Clash and placed second at the J.V. State Championships.  Other potential Raider starters may include sophomore Dylan Stubbs (18-15), who won the Trygg Memorial and placed fourth at the J.V. State Championships.  Junior Mason Scholl (17-15) placed third at the Gulf Coast Clash.  Scholl's classmate, Antonio Caldera (5-5), placed third at the Raider 8 and ninth at the Gulf Coast Clash. 

If he can successfully return after an injury suffered at the Ken Cole, senior Kobe Wise (1-2) should be a factor.  Wise was a #1 seed in 2021 and placed fourth, and he placed fourth as a #6 seed in 2020.

The Raiders have leadership and talent, and just need to enter a few into the finals to give North Desoto a race for second.

2023 North Desoto Prediction - 3rd
2022 - 4th
Average points per returning wrestler: 11.50
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Michael Washington 5-6 10th DNP 0
Collin Bell 20-5 11th 5 13
Nathan Adams 19-17 11th DNP 0
Toby McLeod 15-21 10th DNP 0
Daniel Olivier 321 12th 1 26.5
Hunter Addison 26-2 12th 1 26
Caden Robison 20-8 11th 5 15
Marques Hampton 2-2 12th 5 15
Jeremiah Raney 14-9 12th DNP 8

While they were not going to catch Shaw or Teurlings Catholic in 2022, the Griffins were a little short-handed at the state tournament without a 113 lbs. entrant.  Having two returning state champions is going to help their chances this season.  Senior Daniel Olivier will make Nathan Adams and Toby McLeod better, and senior Hunter Addison will do the same for Aaron Jackson, Caden Robison and Jacob Freeman.  (No doubt they will find the time to keep each other sharp, as well.)  Jackson was 17-17 last season and placed fourth at the Cinco Ranch Big 12 J.V., the Heath Invitational and the J.V. State Championships.  Sam Jones should also be available for the Griffins, which should help immensely.

The "real new blood" may be the difference for North Desoto, as they should have a lot of new freshmen, being that North Desoto boasts the largest combined lower, middle and high school program in the state.  Dustin Burton is looking hard for a way to break Teurlings Catholic's grip on Division II and adding more runner-up plaques to the two he already has is a good start.

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Get-bys:

Sam Houston returns to Division II this season and brings defending Division I state champion junior Tyson Roach with them.  He will no doubt cause some problems for the 106-113 lbs. competitors.

Brennan Romero and Ethan Boudreaux are returning state champions for Teurlings.  Rummel does not have any.  North Desoto has Daniel Olivier and Hunter Addison.

Others to watch:

Rayne only has six 2022 state team members returning, and while they average 9.5 PPW, adding eight new members will make anything higher than fourth very improbable.  Sophomore Ayden Broussard (25-12) and junior Kaiden Carrier (30-13) placed fifth at the 2022 state championships, and juniors Kennedy Castille (11-14) and Robert Breaux (11-6) placed sixth.  Juior Allen Chiasson (22-26) placed second at the Rayne Invitational, fourth at the North Vermillion J.V. and sixth at the Lafayette Metro.  Senior Logan Alger won the Rayne Invitational and the Lafayette Metro, and junior Jaylen Harmon placed third at the Lone Survivor.

Parkway may challenge Rayne for fourth place, and the Panthers may enjoy an edge at the home venue.  The Panthers dropped back to Division II after three years in Division I.  Leading them should be seniors Christopher Bacot (36-31) and Kristofer Mesloh (29-5), who each placed third in 2022 in Division I.  Bacot won the Riot on the Red and the Lone Survivor, placed second at the North LA Regionals, the Beeson Memorial and the Big Cat Brawl, fifth at the Ken Cole and sixth at the Trey Culotta.  Mesloh won the Beeson Memorial, the Big Cat Brawl and the North LA Regionals, placed second at the Lone Survivor, third at the Ken Cole and fourth at the Louisiana Classic.  Bacot and Mesloh should be joined for a second appearance on the podium by Peyton Plunkett (29-9 - 6th in 2022).  Expect to see a lot out of senior Matthew Gallman (36-9).  Gallman won the Beeson Memorial, placed third at the Lone Survivor and the North LA Regionals and fifth at the Trey Culotta.  Senior Jake Morton won the Big Cat Brawl, placed second at the Lone Survivor and fifth at the Trey Culotta.  Sophomore Joshua Tell (17-11) placed fourth at the Riot on the Red and sixth at the Lone Survivor.

Sam Houston also returns defending Division I state champion Tyson Roach and fourth-place finisher Caleb Lavine.  Also look for sophomore Chevy Coleman and her brother, junior Pollex.

All of the top three 2022 Division II placers have been cited, graduated or, in the case of Shaw wrestlers, have moved to Division III, save two.  Senior Tyler Villareal placed third for Haughton at the state championships.  He posted a 21-10 2021-22 record, placed second at the Lone Survivor and third at the North LA Regionals.  Senior Ledgerrick Collins of Carencro, prior to placing third in Division II, placed third at the Lafayette Metro and fourth at the Rayne Invitational.

Brusly is going to bring some heat to Division II.  Junior Cameron Redditt, the 2022 Division III 113 lbs. state champion and Outstanding Wrestler award winner, will play a factor, as should runners-up Chris Miller and Huey Johnson, IV, both seniors.  Keep an eye on senior Anthony Denova as well.  The Panthers last won a Division II team championship in 1996 under coach Camille Plaisance.

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Division III

1st - Basile 2nd - De la Salle 3rd - Shaw 4th - St. Louis 5th - John Curtis

The orderly compliance of Division II predictions was replaced with anarchy in Division III.  Well, for a few days, at least.  Initial spreadsheets, no doubt compiled after midnight when the editor's typing and a myriad of mental capacities are at their most deficient, showed something remarkably interesting.  Four-time defending Division III champion Basile was only fifth re PPW, whereas St. Louis, who placed fifth, was predicted first by the numbers.  That St. Louis jumped up so far was not as baffling as it appeared, though.  The Saints have a returning state champion in Graham Montet, runners-up Luke Caballero and Henry Milligan.  Caballero and third-place winner Henry Hebert won titles in 2021.  They also return two sixth-place winners. 

A few days later the editor checked the spreadsheets again and found that he had forgotten to add the points scored by three Basile and two De la Salle state champions.  Perspective was achieved after a couple of days, even with the addition of Shaw, the 2022 Division II runner-up. 

Shaw posed a particular problem that was not so easily solved ("solved" being an optimistic word fro preseason predictions).  By rule, there are more Division II wrestlers than Division III wrestlers.  As such, there are more Division II matches than Division III matches.  There were 346 Division II matches in 2022 and only 240 Division III matches.  That means more opportunities for Division II wrestlers to score more points than their Division III counterparts.  It came down to reducing the Eagles' PPW by 31%, a figure approved of by Jim Marsalis, my algebra II and physics teacher, who was on a first-name basis with Isaac Newton.  He agreed with the math used but also felt obligated to mention that one does not know in what weight classes the returning wrestlers will compete, which kids were fed over the summer, who might be hurt and several other items which puts us right back at the earlier Magic 8-Ball photograph.

 
2023 Basile Prediction - 1st
2022 - 1st
Average points per returning wrestler: 16.50
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Pierson Comeaux 20-9 9th 2 23
Kye Smith 11-10 9th 5 8
Jayden Guillory 20-12 12th 1 26
Luc Johnson 31-4 12th 1 26
Luke Fontenot 23-12 12th 4 16
Parker Fontenot 24-15 12th 5 11.5
Cayden Luben 9-17 9th DNP 0
Christian Bergeron 18-3 12th 1 27
Emery Lejeune 10-10 11th 5 11

Basile will be led by senior state champions Jayden Guillory, Luc Johnson and Christian Bergeron.  Johnson and Fontenot, if the football season allows it, could have stellar seasons and vie for Louisiana Classic championships (Johnson already came very close as a runner-up in 2022).  With a little more consistency that last season, Guillory could find himself vying for a LACL title also.  Freshman Pierson Comeaux cannot be overlooked after placing second as an eighth-grader.  Nor can freshman Kye Smith, who placed fifth in 2022.

Freshman Austin Ashford won the Snowman J.V. and the Lafayette Metro Consolation Bracket, placed second at the Acadiana Invitational and third at the Jacob McMillan J.V.  The void left by Anphrony Guillory at 285 lbs. should be filled by junior Emery Lejeune or one of three sophomore, all with winning 2021-22 seasons: Scott Berzas (17-9), Blake LeBouef (8-6) and DeShawn Randell (14-10).  The Bearcats have no shortages of young gentlemen vying for open spots, including Patrick Fontenot (10-9), Drew Soileau (13-12) and Tanner David (7-6).  In the middle weights they have sophomore Cappi Soileau (8-7) and junior Jackson Courville (28-12), who placed third at the Jacob McMillan J.V. and the Acadiana Invitational and fifth at the Rayne Invitational.

Four state champions seems very likely for the Bearcats.  Then the others will just rack-up placement points.

2023 De la Salle Prediction - 2nd
2022 - 2nd
Average points per returning wrestler: 14.10
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Dylan Duvernay 40-10 11th 1 28
Dylan Brown 18-19 10th DNP 0
Jace Wagoner 12-24 10th 4 14
Shane Barbarin 32-21 12th 1 26
Malachi Benetrix 19-19 10th 6 9
Liam O'Connor 16-5 12th 2 20
Luke Robertson 29-6 12th 2 22
Jason Krail 37-12 12th 2 22
Jackson Perdue 1-1 10th DNP 0
Earl Reed 8-14 11th DNP 0

Just put all of the returning state champions in senior Shane Barbarin's weight class - he beat two 2021 state champions in 2022.  Well, perhaps not junior Dylan Duvernay, who maxed out at 28 points last season.  Get past those two Cavaliers and one's troubles are just beginning, as their middle-to-heavy weight classes will include 2022 senior runners-up Liam O'Connor, Luke Robertson and Matthew Krail.  The Cavaliers do not have a lot of unknowns with winning records...yet...but just returning 11 wrestlers will prove valuable.

The Cavaliers may need four state champions to prevent the Eagles from taking home a Division III plaque.

2023 Shaw Prediction - 3rd
2022 - 2nd in Division II
Average points per returning wrestler (16.36*0.69): 11.29
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Blake Andre 31-19 10th 3 18.5
Kobe Nguyen 23-17 12th 4 18
Carson Dalton 16-24 11th 6 6
Hayden Tassin 37-13 12th 3 24
Chris Falcon 6-12 12th DNP 4
Jason Brown 16-11 12th 3 20
Raymond Howard 18-10 11th 2 24

Shaw is not bringing any 2022 state champions with them to Division III but expect them to leave with a few.  Raymond Howard, Hayden Tassin, Jason Brown  and Blake Andre come to mind first.  So does Kobe Nguyen.  Freshman Giovanni Malta was 22-15 last season and classmates Dustin Tran (6-4) and James Nero (6-5) also had winning records.  If junior Bryce Hanley is healthy, things may change immensely for the Eagles.  Hanley was 16-1 last season at 285 lbs., falling only to 2022 third-place winner Kole Hayes of Teurlings Catholic in his last match, which was on December 29th.

Then there is incoming freshman Caden Judice.  He may make the difference against De la Salle.

Expect two Eagle state champions if they place third.  One more might top the Cavaliers.

2023 St. Louis Prediction - 4th
2022 - 5th
Average points per returning wrestler: 11.78
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Luke Caballero 29-8 12th 2 20
Finn Gage 3-14 10th DNP 3
Grant Habertz 6-2 10th DNP 3
Henry Hebert 13-4 11th 3 17
Kade Lounsberry 8-22 11th 6 9
Nolan McMichael 13-14 11th DNP 0
Henry Milligan 7-0 12th 2 24
Graham Montet 25-4 11th 1 24
Noah Williamson 12-16 11th 6 6

The Saints should be in a fight for the fourth-place spot with John Curtis. 

As mentioned above they have Montet, Caballero, Milligan and Hebert returning.  Two sixth-place winners will be joined by three with experience from 2022.  Unfortunately, the Saints do not have a lot of incoming wrestlers with much experience.  They will need to bring their "A+game" to the state championships, but having three state champions on the roster should help immensely.

Expect at least one St. Louis state champion.  Two or three is possible.

2023 John Curtis Prediction - 5th
2022 - 4th
Average points per returning wrestler: 11.08
Name 2022 Record 2022-23 Grade 2022 Place 2022 Points
Landon Schlette 1-14 11th DNP 0
Noah Nichels 0-7 10th DNP 0
Preston Curtis 12-10 11th 4 16
Wyatt Bostick 1-17 10th DNP 0
David Massicot 9-16 10th 5 12
Zachary Drake 8-11 11th 3 17
Aleks Cruz 4-6 11th DNP 4
Joshua Eames 26-11 12th 3 22
Adam LaBorde 12-11 12th 5 9
Anthony Smith 11-6 10th 5 11
Brandon Dang 14-3 11th 1 24
Nicholas Dalfares 10-4 12th 3 18

The Patriots are returning 12 wrestlers with 2022 state championship experience.  All state champion Brandon Dang can do is score four more points than in 2022 to max-out at 28.  The rest have room to improve and should they do so by one or two places, the Patriots will give the Eagles and Saints a run for third.

Unfortunately, senior Joshua Milton will have to get past Dang or third-place winner Nicholas Dalfares to earn a starting spot at 220 lbs. or 285 lbs.  Expect senior Joshua Eames to do better.  He already did two spots better than expected last season by placing third.

Expect at least on John Curtis state champion.

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Get-bys:

Basile has three in Jayden Guillory, Luc Johnson and Christian Bergeron.  From De la Salle Dylan Duvernay and Shane Barbarin have titles to defend.  St. Louis has three in Graham Montet and 2021 Division III champions Luke Caballero and Henry Hebert.  Preston Gautier will return for Hannan, Brandon Dang for John Curtis and Christian Johnson of Bossier. 

Others to watch:

2022 top seeds Bryce Fontenot of South Beauregard and Lawton Royer will look to improve on their 2nd and 5th place finishes. 

Evangel will have an impact with the Gilreath brothers.  Joseph, a sophomore, placed third last year and Michael, a junior, placed 2nd in 2022 and 2020 but won in 2021 as a freshman.  The Eagles should also get some strong performances from freshmen Jeremiah Yearby (3rd) and Christian Speight (6th), and senior Wingston Avila (5th).

Hannan should see good performances by defending state champion senior Preston Gautier.  seniors Wade Rist and 11th Joel Marchand, who both placed fourth in 2022, will help, as will 4th-place winner Colin Dalton and 6th-place winners Evan Hardin and Ryan Monier.

Junior Ryan Fobbes from Erath had a good 2021-22 season until he ran into Curtis' Nicholas Dalfares.  Expect better than fourth this season as the 2022 285 lbs. finalists both graduated.

The 195 lbs. weight class might be special.  State champion Christian Johnson of Bossier, James Baldwin of Dunham and fourth-place winner Rist will return.  Add Curtis' Anthony Smith with his newfound national success, and if he grew over the summer, maybe Basile's Bergeron, and it should be a very tough weight class.  A couple of them may grow into 220 lbs., but they should hope the returning 220 lbs. wrestlers move up as well.  Only one of the top-six, third-place winner Roger Holmes of St. Michael, graduated.

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