The season so far has been a blur for the Zachary High School wrestling team, but the Broncos have been building momentum as they sharpen their focus on the city and state championships slated for February.
In his 10th season as the Broncos’ coach, Mark Moreau said he’s fairly pleased with where his squad is overall.
“The season’s winding down: It’s 16 weeks long and we have five left,” Moreau said. “We’ve been after it for 11 weeks, and guys are getting a little fatigued, but I’m gonna push them and they’ll make it happen.”
Zachary High competed in the Louisiana Classic last week and although it finished 16th out of 44 teams, Moreau thought the team could have done a little better. Sam Johnson finished fourth in the 145-pound weight class, and Nick Wallace finished sixth at 170. Johnson entered the meet seeded third while Wallace was sixth.
“We had five guys score points out of 14,” Moreau said. “We had a few of them get knocked out without getting points and that would have helped us.”
Moreau is counting on the team’s seven seniors heading down the stretch. Five of the seniors are starters: Brice Ortego, 138 pounds; David O’Neal, 152; Murphy Miller, 160; Nick Wallace, 170; and Chris London, 285.
Moreau said he’s also been pleased with the progress of two nonstarters, Arrington Blanchard and Deontre Jackson.
“We’ve got four guys who have been in the program for all four years — Ortego, O’Neal, Miller and Wallace,” Moreau said. “London came out last year and he’s steadily improved. They’ve all come a long way.”
For the Broncos to get where he’d like them to be, Moreau said they need to bear down for the next month. The team had a tri-meet Jan. 21 with Live Oak and McKinley. Next up for the ZHS wrestlers is the Live Oak Duals on Jan. 24 at Live Oak followed by a dual meet with Catholic High at Zachary on Jan. 28, then the Ken Cole Tournament at Comeaux High in Lafayette on Jan. 30. The Baton Rouge City Tournament is slated for Feb. 6-7 at Brusly High followed by the Division I state meet Feb. 20-21 at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
“The City Championships, I want to get somebody in there and win; we’ve had city champions the last three years in a row,” Moreau said. They also had wrestlers place in the state meet the past three years.
“You always try to get better than you’ve done before,” Moreau said. “Our best (at the city meet) in history is third place a couple of times, and we were fourth once. It’s good to get in that range, and it would be ideal to be runner-up.”
The goal for the state meet is always to be No. 1. Unlike football, at the state meet in wrestling, private schools compete with public schools in the same division. The best the Broncos have finished at state was ninth place. Zachary was 14th last year.
“We want to at least be in the top five, and the No. 1 public school would be great in state; that’s a good goal,” Moreau said.
“If guys score points like they’re capable of scoring, we can do pretty good. If things go right, we could do real well.
“We don’t have as many kids involved like some schools, so you’ve got to go with what you’ve got. Our kids work hard, and we’re trying to get a few more kids involved to build depth.”
Moreau said the Broncos have benefited with the coaching help of assistants Steven Thomas and Sam Knight.
“They’re a big part of the success of our team, and we’ve got a little staff that work with the kids and help them develop and improve a little more this year,” Moreau said. “We’re going to be ready.”
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