Though it had just one individual champion, Brother Martin won its second consecutive Louisiana Classic title, outdistancing St. Paul’s and Jesuit by more than 100 points on Saturday at Baton Rouge Community College.
The Crusaders placed 13 of 14 wrestlers in the top six and had five finalists with Steven Shields holding off a late charge from Jesuit’s Joseph Dupre at 120 pounds to win their only individual title, 6-5.
Dupre trailed 5-1 entering the third period but scored a two-point reversal, let Shields escape for one point, then got another two-point takedown before a wild scramble as time expired resulted in no points and sealed Shields’ win.
“That’s how Steven wrestles,” Brother Martin coach Robert Dauterive said. “He’s going to build his points, and he’s very tough to score on. I expect those two will have a few more tough matches.”
“We won the tournament by 100 points, but I know we can wrestle better and we will wrestle better at the state tournament.”
St. Pauls eked out second place by 0.5 over Jesuit. Holy Cross was fourth, St. Amant fifth and, much to the Gators’ delight, Catholic was sixth.
“We beat Catholic,” St. Amant 170-pounder Sage Nugent said. “That was our goal coming in.”
Seeded fourth, Nugent became just the second wrestler in school history to win the Louisiana Classic, formerly known as the Lee High Invitational, when he handled Comeaux’s Kole Miller, 6-3, behind two second-period takedowns.
Nugent — named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler — panicked before the match. He’d never wrestled Miller, but remembered he had beaten another opponent that Nugent had lost to, leading to some doubts as the first whistle blew.
“And once I got the first takedown at the end of the first period, I calmed down a whole bunch and was like ‘OK, I got it,’ ” Nugent said. “I was honestly super excited with how aggressive I came in, and I controlled my matches.
“In the past, I’ve tried to wrestle other people’s styles and that never works out for you. As soon as I turned it to my game, it worked out better.”
Teammate Clint Brownell, undefeated against Louisiana competition entering the tournament at 152, suffered his first in-state loss in the final, dropping a 6-5 decision to Holy Cross’ Joey Foret, whose third-period takedown gave him the championship.
The tournament was redemption of sorts for Lafayette High 220-pounder Rodrigo Diaz, who was disqualified from last year’s Classic after he bit an opponent while losing a match.
Since the ugly incident, Diaz said he’s worked on becoming a more mentally stable wrestler and taking each opponent equally.
It worked. Diaz pinned all five of his opponents, including Hahnville’s Stephen Cloud in the final, to win the title.
“I had a lot to prove,” Diaz said. “I didn’t take anybody for granted. Warmed up for everyone, just the same as the first match as I did in the finals match. It was huge.”
At Baton Rouge Community College
106 pounds: Blake Mateu, Rummel major dec. Kiefer Fuselier, Sulphur, 12-0
113: Cole Houser, St. Paul’s dec. Luke Cotton, Brother Martin 3-2
120: Steven Shields, Brother Martin dec. Joseph Dupre, Jesuit 6-5
126: Javarious James, Airline pinned Stephen Rumney, Brother Martin, 3:08
132: Cole Clement dec. Austin Franklin, Brusly, 6-3
138: Nicholas Lirette, Hahnville dec. Taylor Gambill, Brother Martin, 11-5
145: Jake Rando, Holy Cross dec. Hunter Bourgeois, St. Paul’s, 10-7
152: Joey Foret, Holy Cross dec. Clint Brownell, St. Amant, 6-5
160: Christian Walden, Airline dec. Jacob Fereday, Catholic, 10-5
170: Sage Nugent, St. Amant dec. Kole Miller, Comeaux, 6-3
182: Josh Ramirez, Rummel pinned Travis Viener, Brother Martin, 0:50
195: Guy Patron, Jr., Jesuit pinned Kynan Sonnier, Teurlings Catholic, 0:44
220: Rodrigo Diaz, Lafayette pinned Stephen Cloud, Hahnville, 4:31
285: Matthew Blair, Shaw dec. K.J. Wilson, Catholic, 8-1