Catholic High felt right at home this weekend as the host Bears stole the show at the Baton Rouge City Championship wrestling meet on Saturday.
CHS finished first in the 25-team field with 327 points, beating its next closest competitor by 127 points.
“We wrestled well,” Catholic coach Tommy Prochaska said. “We had a couple of hiccups, and some matches I thought we were going to win and we didn’t. But those guys came back and wrestled back and did well for us.”
There weren’t many setbacks for the Bears, who sent 10 wrestlers into the finals and came away with eight championships out of 14 weight classes.
Brusly High finished second with 200 points, followed by Live Oak High with 196, Dutchtown (186) and East Ascension (132 ) rounding out the top five.
“I’ve got a young team, and they came back and took second place in the city championships and I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Brusly coach Jimmy Bible said. “They wrestled hard. For the young team we have, to place second in this tournament means a lot.”
Zachary (128.5), St. Michael (118.5), Baton Rouge High (70), Central (45) and Episcopal (45) all finished in the top 10.
Bears finishing first included Mitch Napoli at 115, Phillip Nauta at 122, James Claitor at 140, Kevin Moran at 154, Brandon Luckett at 162, Matthew Moreau at 172, Christian Pittman at 184 and Caleb Sutton at 197.
Moreau was named Outstanding Wrestler for the upper weight classes.
Sutton’s was the first of two finals to go into overtime, outdueling Live Oak’s Blake Brock 4-2 in the sixth round.
“You just have to fight through the pain,” Sutton said after his win. “I can see he was kind of getting tired. You have to keep pushing the pace and come out victorious.”
East Ascension finished with the second-most individual titles, bookending the field as Alex Betteridge won the lightest weight class at 108, and Conor Karwath won the heaviest class at 287.
Brusly sent five wrestlers to the finals and walked away with one individual championship as Trevor Schermer edged Catholic’s Matthew Mire 3-2 in the 134-pound weight class.
Live Oak was next, sending four competitors into the finals. Cody Hill was the lone Eagle to win a title, beating CHS’s Brennan Taylor 11-4 to defend his 128-pound crown.
Hill and Taylor are no strangers to each other, having faced off eight times this season.
“It gets annoying after a while,” Hill joked of his and Taylor’s history. “It’s just that same guy every weekend, but it makes you better. It makes you work and makes both of us better wrestlers.”
Hill, who holds a 5-3 record against Taylor after this weekend, was also named the outstanding wrestler for the lower weight classes.
Other winners included Redemptorist’s Grant Godso in the 147-pound weight class, and Zachary’s Christopher Wright in the 222-pound class.
Not only were city championships on the line this weekend, but the teams use the Baton Rouge City Championship as one final tuneup before the state meet two weeks away.
The wrestlers and coaches all stressed the same general principle — enjoy the victories now, but it’s back to the grind heading into the final, and biggest, meet of the year.
“For some, the confidence is high,” Prochaska said. “But again, it’s two weeks away and there is always time to get better.”