Rising from the mat, Koby Mancuso gave the sign.
He pointed straight to his father, Kirk, seated in his corner next to Brusly assistant coach Barrett Wilson.
It was coming.
“Get ready,” Kirk thought.
Mancuso barreled into his father’s arms. Kirk lifted his son as high as he could just seconds after a 3-2 decision against Dutchtown’s Kaleb Faul gave Koby a Louisiana Classic championship.
“Almost broke my damn nose,” an almost speechless Kirk said. “It’s indescribable. He’s a very quiet kid, often reserved. But that’s what I tell people, when you see him get emotional, you know it’s big and it is very rare.”
A “program kid” who has wrestled in Brusly and under coach Jimmy Bible since middle school, Koby gave Brusly a Louisiana Classic champion for the second consecutive year.
Before last season, when Trevor Schermer and Kendon Lee won titles, Brusly had not had a champion in the tournament, formerly known as the Lee High Invitational, during Bible’s tenure.
“To have one again this year speaks volumes to what we’re doing at Brusly,” Bible said.
Koby hit a sweep single-leg takedown one minute into the second period and escaped to start the third period, giving him all the points he needed to perhaps begin a new era at Brusly.
“Once I got my takedown, I knew he wasn’t coming back,” Koby said. “I’m hoping to make it a new tradition (for a Brusly wrestler to win) at the LA Classic again every year.”
Tournament favorite Brother Martin steamrolled the field to easily capture the title with seven tournament champions and 340 points. Runner-up Holy Cross finished with 2171/2 points.
The Crusaders reeled off six straight finals wins starting at 113 pounds when Steven Shields shut out Live Oak’s Colt Olinde 7-0.
The four-time defending Division I champions were forced to wrestle the finals without coach Robert Dauterive, who was ejected from the tournament during the consolation rounds for a coach’s flagrant misconduct while disputing officiating.
Barred from entering the gym, Dauterive stood outside and peered through a door’s glass window, watching each of his wrestlers’ finals matches.
“No coach ever wants to get ejected from the tournament,” Dauterive said. “I’ve watched not only my team. It had nothing to do with winning and losing. I’ve just watched a lot of inconsistency (in officiating) through the weekend, and I’ll leave it at that. Nothing really serious.”
“I’ve had a lot of teams at this tournament, but to win six straight in the Louisiana Classic finals,” Dauterive said, “it says a lot about our guys.”
Arizona State signee and three-time defending state champion Paul Klein kept the Crusaders momentum strong, besting Madill (Oklahoma)’s Rio Zamora 9-5 in the 132-pound final.
Klein used an aggressive move to break Zamora’s passive approach and bring the match more to his attacking style of wrestling, totaling four takedowns in the match.
“I had to keep my patience,” Klein said. “Those guys just want you to reach up and grab them, and that’s when they shoot. Just controlled his wrist and brought it up from there.”
Live Oak and Dunham claimed the final two matches of the evening, rewriting the record book for both schools.
Live Oak 220-pounder Nick Simeneaux pinned Brother Martin’s Jacob Clapp in 3:51 to become the Eagles’ second Louisiana Classic champion, while Dunham’s Kirk Wilson edged Holy Cross’ Travis Gardner 4-2 at 285 to become the school’s first champion.
Tournament director and Catholic coach Tommy Prochaska said attendance was up at the tournament’s new home, Baton Rouge Community College, and the talent level matched the quality of scene.
“The venue was fantastic,” Prochaska said. “I thought the competition was the best in 10 years. Brother Martin ran away with it because they’re that good, but individually there’s some good guys in there. Some fantastic matches.”