Seed bashing
January 31st, 2024| Written by: Staff writer



I only found two Division I weight classes for which I disagree with the seeding committees choices.  However, doing this while my “office staff” is curled-up on a blanket sleeping, makes it very possible that I missed some things. 

I probably misread some things.  If I did, and someone cares to elucidate me on the actual reasons for the seeding at 113 lbs. and 126 lbs., I will be more than happy to update this (not change it, as that just makes me look too infallible) with an addendum.  And give credit to whomever sends me the information.  I make errors every day.

Please know if blame exists, it is not because of the wrestlers.

113 lbs.

I am really glad Kael Reaux of Southside made it back from an injury suffered after the Ronnie Suarez District Tournament on December 2nd.  Yet some strings were pulled to place him as the #1 seed at 113 lbs.  Similar strings were not pulled at 126 lbs. 

But let us go back to the 113 lbs. seeding.

Reaux is undefeated at 7-0 and one of those matches was an 8-0 MD over the #2 seed, Anthony Oubre of Holy Cross.  But one is not supposed to even be seeded without a .500 winning percentage in 10 matches wrestled.   And Reaux’s victory over Oubre was at 120 lbs.  The Southside junior has not wrestled a match at 113 lbs.  Oubre was 22-2 at 120 lbs. with his other loss coming from De la Salle’s 2x defending Division III state champion Dylan Duvernay.  At 113 lbs. Oubre is 11-0, and five of those wins came when he won the Louisiana Classic (LACL).  He has victories over Brother Martin’s Matthew Graffagnini (seeded 4th), Jesuit’s Max Belsome (seeded 6th) and Airline’s Logan Olsen (seeded 3rd), all of whom are in the Division I 113 lbs. bracket.  Reaux has no matches with anyone in that bracket aside from the one over Oubre.

The seeding committee used the “Extenuating Circumstances Exception” to seed Reaux as he does not have 10 matches to his credit.  They did not have to seed Reaux at #1, though.  A seeding of #2 or #3 would have sufficed, as at 113 lbs. Oubre earned the top spot.

Yet I understand their choosing Reaux as the top seed due to his win over Oubre.  I just do not understand why the  "Extenuating Circumstances Exception" was applied at D1 113 lbs. and not at DI 126 #s.

126 lbs.

That brings us to the seeding at 126 lbs.  Acadiana sophomore Ozias Gray is 26-4.  His losses came from a one-point decision to Texas 6A state champion Kelby Bernard, which should not come into play at all.  His other three losses were to Sam Houston’s Tyson Roach.  Sam Houston is in Division II.  Hence, Gray has not lost to a Division I wrestler.  Top-seeded Christian Worley has.  He lost to the #2 seed Landon Smith of Holy Cross 7-2 in the LACL quarterfinals but avenged that loss in a 3-1 SV match in the consolation finals.

So, Gray has a 1.000 average against Division I wrestlers while Worley, due to his loss to Smith, does not.

But winning percentage against wrestlers in one’s division is not a criteria for seeding.  (I think it once was but am not sure.) 

Worley and Gray did not meet this year, so the first seeding criteria, “Head-to-Head Matches” does not apply. 

The second criteria, though, is “Win/Loss record versus common opponents in the current state tournament bracket.”

The two wrestlers do have some common opponents.  Each defeated defending Fontainebleau state champion Samuel Favaza.  Each defeated Walker’s Kye Karcher (seeded 4th).  Gray, however, defeated Karcher twice.  So both wrestlers are 100% over their common opponents but Gray beat them three times while Worley only beat them twice.  Additionally, while Worley split with Smith, Smith lost twice to Roach.  So, the only kid to beat Gray was one who beat a kid with whom Worley split matches.

I think they skipped that particular criteria and instead went to criteria #5, which is placement in the 2023 state championships.  Worley placed second.  Gray was ineligible.

So, if the seeding committee did pull strings for Reaux, by seeding him in the first place and then at #1, why did they not do the same for Gray?  We know when Gray was injured.  It was at the Reno Tournament of Champions on December 16th.  Is Gray’s injury less of an “Extenuating Circumstance” them Gray’s was? 

Make no mistake.  I think Christian Worley is an excellent wrestler and has done Catholic proud for years.  He placed second at the Hoover Invitational, third at the LACL and won the Greater Baton Rouge Championships. 

It just looks to me like some criteria were used to benefit Reaux which were not used in the same manner for Gray.  Again, I am happy to be proven wrong.

First and Last “Are You Nuts” Award

I am used to Division II and III wrestlers wrestling up a weight class for the state championships.  I have seen some go down a weight if it meant they had a sophomore rather than a veteran senior in the finals.  But who goes down from a weight class he has owned all season, to wrestle the only Louisiana kid to beat him all season?

Tyson Roach does.  When I did not see him in the Division II 126 lbs. weight class I went to the 132 lbs. weight class.  He was not there, either.  Then I remembered what I had been told a few weeks ago and I checked 120 lbs.  There he was, seeded second behind Teurlings Catholic’s Alex Rozas.

Rozas defeated Roach in a 7-4 Trey Culotta finals match that was closer than the score indicated.  He is not looking forward to, as I was, a pitcher of beer with a straw at Murphy’s in Baton Rouge as soon as his match is over and he can get cleaned up. 

Roach wants to go out knowing he shirked nobody, much less twice, by meeting Rozas in his last high school match.  The “Are You Nuts” Award is not for Roach.  It would apply to me if I had gone up to 155 lbs. in 1981 to meet Jeanerette’s Jerry Lewis.  But I was happy with my appendages all remaining in the same place after my 145 lbs. finals match.


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