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St. Paul dominates every aspect for their first Division I championship
LHSAA State Wrestling Tournament: Division I
May 9th, 2021 | Written by: Staff writer



The Wolves learned from the mistakes they made in the 2020 state championships when they were favored to win but fell 5.5 points short of the Brother Martin Crusaders.  Nothing similar was going to happen in the 2021 event.  St. Paul dominated the winners bracket with six finalists and four champions.  In the consolation brackets they placed five in the top-six places.  Including three wrestlers who did not score any consolation points, they averaged 7.81 points per wrestler, higher than any of the top-four teams.

Division I brackets in PDF

Division I Champions
St. Paul Wolves

After losing their bid in 2020 to win the Division I team championship by 5.5 points the St. Paul Wolves, despite a COVID-decimated schedule, fired-up all weight classes to defeat runner-up Holy Cross 291-240.  The 51-point lead was the largest since Brother Martin outscored Jesuit by 87.5 points in 2018.

Eleven of the Wolves found spots on the podium.  Juniors Jacob Houser and Grant Nastasi, and seniors Peyton Ward, a defending Division I champion, and Blaine Cascio made it to the top-spot.  Placing second, which feasibly is what was expected as they each had a Holy Cross Frost twin in the finals, were seniors Carter Duet and Sean Cripple.  Junior Trey Flaherty and senior Michael Rader placed third.  Senior Josh Sabadie and sophomore Landry Barker placed fourth and junior Ian Lyons placed fifth.

Division I Runners-up
Holy Cross Tigers

Although they had four #1 seeds the Tigers were an unexpected runner-up.  Most expected that honor to go to Brother Martin, particularly after top-seeded Tiger senior Dylan Lauriano was upset by Crusader sophomore Kent Burandt in the semifinals.  The remaining #1 Tiger seeds, Charles Sauerwin, III, Evan Frost and Jacob Frost all advanced to the finals.  They were unexpectedly joined by seventh-seeded Jacob Romig at 152 pounds, who upset #2 Luke Battaglia of Jesuit in the quarterfinals and #3 Josiah Wakefield of East Ascension.  To keep onlookers interested, #5 Eli Hope of Brother Martin upset top-seeded Rayden Ingram of Live Oak to advance to the finals.

Sauerwin, Frost I, Frost II and Romig won their finals matches, and junior Cole Baiamonte lost a tough 3-2 match after an ultimate tie-breaker period.  Lauriano placed fourth, as did freshman Nick DiGeralamo, and Gavyn O'Connor and Russell Solomon (not a top-eight seed) place fifth.

One more team surprise awaited the end of the Division I 285 lbs. finals match.  When East Ascension's Gavin Soniat pinned Jesuit freshman Spencer Lanosga, the Spartans broke a tie with the Crusaders and took third by the two bonus points awarded for the fall.

Usually one of their greatest strengths, the Crusaders had a tough time in the consolation rounds, which served them well at the Louisiana Classic and in many previous state tournaments.  This time, though, the eight Crusaders on the "left side" of the bracket averaged only 4.75 points (advancement + bonus + placement points) each, and only one, Quinn Williams who placed third, earned placement points.  The Tigers averaged 6.11 points per wrestler relegated to the consolation rounds, totaling 55 points.  Spartan wrestlers beat that average by over 1.5 points as their consolation round wrestlers averaged 7.65 points each, with Jamarius Koshko and Santos Ramos placing third, Josiah Wakefield and Brennan Bennett placing fourth and Austin Sharpley placing fifth.  Not to be outdone in any aspect of the 2021 state championships, the Wolves eight consolation wrestlers averaged 7.81 points apiece.  The Wolves also recorded 36 falls as opposed to the Crusaders who scored only 26.

Keep in mind that Brother Martin had six finalists.  Two of them, Dylan Moser and Mason Elsensohn, lost by a mere point but will return nest season.  Two other finalists (Kent Burandt and Rocco Horvath) are also returning, and it is a safe bet that Ty Duncan will find a weight class all his own instead of moving "up" two as he did at the end of this season.  As for the wrestlers in the weight classes above 160 lbs. in which none of the Crusaders placed, only one is a senior.  The other four will return with as much experience as the 2020-21 regular season allowed, but more importantly with state tournament experience.  It is way too early to start talking about dynastic change just yet.  The Crusaders still have the only viable Division I dynasty.

Holy Cross is not done either.  They will have those two kids who look like each other in the 2021-22 season and have lost a total of NEVER in Louisiana in their first three years of high school.  They will have experienced lightweights in Luke Appe and Nick Sauerwin, and a more experienced Nick DiGeralamo (with the added maturity of then being in high school).  They should have a very motivated 220-285 lbs. Cole Baiamonte, a senior who may have smiled a few times since his UTB finals loss, and senior John Sheridan who will probably work with Baiamonte a lot.  Add to that one Brandon Gainey, who missed this event due to an unexpected growth spurt.  The Tigers, one might say if one had no editing supervision, are hunting to be hunted. 

Can the Wolves repeat?  "Survey says...YES."  They will return half of their 2021 championship team, including state champions Jacob Houser and Grant Nastasi, third-place-winner Trey Faherty, fourth-place winner Landry Barker and fifth-place winner Ian Lyons.  Conlan Enk and Preston Hickey will also return with state tournament experience.

East Ascension is going to be hit the hardest by graduation.  Ten of their 2021 state championships team will move on  But they will have the Maneckshaw kids who look a lot alike, third-place winner Santos Ramos and Corey Holmes returning.  You can also add Alyssa Quezaire and Brianna Batista to that list.  The Spartans might not be the first team to have two young ladies in their starting lineup (the 2014 Destrehan Wildcats had Nicole Robichaux and Abby Nette), but may have the femme fatales that score more points than any others have (Robichaux and Nette scored six).

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Outstanding Wrestler


The 106 lbs. finals pitted undefeated top-seed junior Dylan Moser of Brother Martin against third-seeded Landon Reaux of Southside.  Moser defeated Reaux 7-5 SV on December 30th but was not at the Louisiana Classic.  There, Reaux met the only other wrestler who had defeated him.  Teurlings Catholic's Ashton Sonnier beat Reaux 6-5, also on December 30th.  The two met again in the finals.  In that match Sonnier was ahead 7-2 in the third period when Reaux put the Rebel on his back and pinned him.  In the state finals match Reaux tied the score 5-5 with a third-period reversal, but with 49 seconds remaining Moser escaped and took a one-point lead.  Reaux's only option to win was to score a takedown, and after Moser held him off a few times, Reaux shot-in deep and lifted Moser up and the down to the mat for a winning takedown with seven second remaining.  To make the finals Reaux pinned his first three opponents in the first period and dominated second-seeded J.W. Fuller of Byrd 20-8 MD in the semifinals.

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Final Team Scores

Place Team Points Place Team Points Place Team Points
1 St. Paul 291 12 Live Oak 76 T-22 Destrehan 33
2 Holy Cross 240 13 Chalmette 74 T-22 Lafayette 33
3 East Ascension 217.5 14 St. Amant 71.5 25 Mandeville 29.5
4 Brother Martin 215.5 15 Hahnville 51 26 Covington 28
5 Catholic 183.5 16 Baton Rouge 47 27 Terrebonne 8
6 Jesuit 172 17 Comeaux 44 28 Sam Houston 6
7 Sulphur 137 T-18 C.E. Byrd 43 29 Grace King 4
8 Zachary 121.5 T-18 Southside 43 30 John Ehret 2
9 Dutchtown 96.5 20 Fontainebleau 42 T-31 Barbe 0
10 Parkway 86.5 21 Central 41 T-31 Bonnabel 0
11 Airline 83 T-22 Acadiana 33 T-31 Walker 0

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