Spartans run away with the Public-Schools Wrestling Championships
January 1st, 2023| Written by: Staff writer



East Ascension dominated the first Public-Schools Wrestling Championships, held December 28th and 29th at the Lamar-Dixon EXPO Center in Gonzales.  The Spartans earned six individual titles, including four straight in the heavier weight classes, and outscored runner-up Fontainebleau 283.5 to 146.5.  The races for the runner-up and third-place trophies were very tight.  Fontainebleau edged Dutchtown 146.5 to 144, which decided the issue.  Were there a fourth-place team trophy, five schools would have been in the running, with four of them wishing one or two matches would have gone their way to make the difference.

The event was run superbly by East Ascension head coach Patrick Mahoney and his assistants.  The first day ended a little early as almost 50 expected wrestlers were sidelined by illness or weight management problems.  The second day ran according to schedule with just a break to set-up the finals mat and, after the finals were over, the awards area. 

Medals that might have been sported on General George S. Patton's dress uniform were presented to the top-six placers in each weight class, as well as several additional things for the champions of which the editor did not discern clearly.  On an unorthodox yet très chic podium, the awards were distributed by former public school dignitaries including Jim Ravannack and Craig Seals.  Ravannack and Seals were members of the 1978 Division I state championship East Jefferson Warriors team, which remains the only public school to win a Division I title.  Together, the two define, albeit in the wrong manner, what "depth of field" means in photography.  But the photo was not a total loss as it including other presenters, including Coach Bill Bofinger, the founder of the Lee High Invitational/Louisiana Classic, Tara's two-time state champion Brad Goudeau and two-time Brusly state champion Wayne Prejean.  Seals made in individual photo work, as did Coach Phil Bode.  Along with Wayne Prejean was his younger brother Mark, a three-time Brusly state champ.  Also on hand was Lee High School's Beau McInnes, a two-time state champion, and Van Bush, both of whom were coach by Coach Bofinger.

Top Ten Team Scores

Place Team Points   Place Team Points
1 East Ascension 283.5   6 Chalmette 130
2 Fontainebleau 146.5   7 Zachary 129
3 Dutchtown 144   8 St. Amant 125.5
4 Southside 136   9 Sam Houston 101
5 Baton Rouge 133.5   10 Lakeshore 99

Individual Winners

Someone requested the wackier side of the individual champions

Weight Wrestler School   Weight Wrestler School
106 Bryce Latino Lakeshore   152 Jenson Bergeron Lafayette
113 Kael Reaux Southside   160 Jacobi Clementi East Ascension
120 Landon Reaux Southside   170 Gabriel Bonin East Ascension
126 Aiden Krass East Ascension   182 Cameron Holmes East Ascension
132 Lucas Maneckshaw East Ascension   195 Jacob Schexnaidre East Ascension
138 Wiley Boudreaux Southside   220 Eli Latitois Baton Rouge
145 Seth Lewis Fontainebleau   285 Ryan Fobbs Erath

Outstanding Wrestlers

Southside's Landon Reaux and Lafayette's Jensen Bergeron were voted the event's Outstanding Wrestler award winners.
Reaux won the honor in arguably the toughest weight class in the event.  It had Dutchtown's Cole Mire (3rd), Walker's Kye Karcher (5th) and, new to the weight, East Ascension's Jesse Maneckshaw (4th).  Reaux earned his tie-breaking third match against 2022 Division I state champion Tyson Roach of Sam Houston.  Roach defeated Reaux in their first match, in the same venue, 13-1 MD in the Spartan Invitational finals.  Six days later Reaux returned the favor with a 16-9 dual meet win.  Roach won their third match 14-5 MD in the Jacob McMillan finals.  In the Trey Culotta semifinals, Reaux opened-up a 12-6 lead but gave up five points to escape 12-11, prior to defeating Brother Martin's Jacob Elsensohn, previously undefeated at 120 lbs., including a win over Roach, 9-5.  Some thought a knock on the head during the semifinals might have tilted the scales in Roach's favor, but Reaux quickly discounted that notion by opening a 12-0 lead after the first two minutes and thirty seconds of the match.  Yet that was not enough.  Roach scored seven unanswered points and, via takedowns and allowed escapes, he reduced Reaux's lead to three points, 14-11.  Reaux stopped Roach's takedowns assault and persevered, winning a 14-10 third period, to end with a 26-15 MD.

Bergeron might have best been remembered, until this event, as the kid Nicholas DiGeralamo of Holy Cross unintentionally slammed in the 2022 state championships semifinals, which propelled Bergeron into the finals, although he could not participate.  At the time some forgot about Bergeron as two concussions forced him to miss a lot of the season, but he reminded the forgetful when, as a sixth-seed, he knocked third-seeded Gabriel Bonin into the consolation rounds with a 14-5 quarterfinals win.  Prior to this event Bergeron only participated in the Trey Culotta Invitational, in which he placed third.  In this event he was seeded third and dominated all of his opponents to reach the finals.  There he met Dutchtown's Foster Shank, who was 23-0 prior to this match, and had won five tournaments.  Bergeron scored the first four points and only allowed a takedown in the third period to prevail 4-2.  The two-point margin was the same as in the 2022 Ken Cole consolation finals, won by Bergeron 6-4.

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Tyrese Mosby of Plaquemine was probably happy that he won his third place match against Walker's Austin Lockhart, but, when the match was over, the two just seemed really happy that they were done for the day.

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