Bringing in top teams and individuals is always the objective for the Louisiana Classic.
Having a Who’s Who of high school wrestling in Louisiana also may lead to some “Who knew” revelations.
“Seeding this tournament was extremely tough this year,” tournament director Tommy Prochaska of Catholic High said. “By this time most of the top guys have usually wrestled against each other a couple of times, but that hasn’t happened.
“One reason for that is that so many teams chose to wrestle out of state early in the year. You also have more tournaments now and coaches choose to split up their team and send guys to two tournaments.
“It’s highly unusual to have guys wrestle 25 to 35 times and not face each other, but that is the case this year. That is also why I wouldn’t be surprised to see some top seeds lose.”
The two-day tournament begins at 3 p.m. Friday at Baton Rouge Community College’s Bonne Sante gymnasium. Finals are set for 4 p.m. Saturday.
There are 47 teams entered and the list of top teams once again starts with New Orleans powers Brother Martin and Jesuit. The fact Jesuit handed Brother Martin its first dual-meet loss since 2011 earlier this week also may be a factor.
Prochaska lists Holy Cross as another team to watch. Prochaska’s Catholic High team and St. Amant are local Division I teams to watch. Division II title contender Live Oak and two Division III powers, De La Salle and Brusly, are part of the mix of teams from across the state.
“We don’t have full 32-wrestler brackets for each weight class, but most are 26 to 28 and will be very competitive,” Prochaska said. “You’ve got several weight classes that have more than one state champion from last year. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be incredible.”
One weight class Prochaska noted was 172 pounds. Holy Cross’ Joseph Foret (20-0) is the top seed, just ahead of St. Amant’s Sage Nugent (32-1), who lost for the first time last week. Catholic’s Jacob Fereday (32-4) and Brusly’s Owen Mabile (31-6) are seeded third and fourth.
Seven unbeaten wrestlers are entered. Two of those competitors, Airline’s Christian Walden (32-0) and De La Salle’s Raekwon Thomas (24-0), lead the 162-pound competitors. Brusly's Austin Franklin, who is 26-0 at 147, is also among the top seeds.