The Catholic High Bears capped off a full day of exciting matches in their home gym by hoisting the championship trophy at the conclusion of the 47th Greater Baton Rouge City Wrestling tournament on Saturday.
Twelve teams put wrestlers into the championship finals, but the deep and talented Bears won four of those individual titles and held off St. Amant for the team championship 263-228.
Live Oak finished third with 172 points. McKinley, behind 115-pound weight class champion and lower weight Outstanding Wrestler Ruben Lorenzo, was the surprise team of the tournament, edging Brusly for fourth place 133-132.5.
“I feel like our team is finally starting to come together,” Catholic coach Tommy Prochaska said. “We fell behind St. Amant at one point, but we came back to put 11 in the semifinals, and that says something.
“We’ve been a little late coming together, partly because of going so deep in the football playoffs, but it seems like we’re starting to jell.”
Catholic had individual winners in Cameron Carpenter at 122, Davis Polito at 140, Jacob Fereday at 162, and K.J. Wilson at 287.
Catholic’s finalist at 128, David Gunn, was the victim of the day’s most stunning upset when Live Oak’s Ean Hill, down 4-2 to Gunn, reversed and pinned him 48 seconds into the second round.
Live Oak’s other individual champion, Brennan Webb, was pushed into overtime in the semifinals and finals of the 147-pound weight class. He defeated Cameron Hyde of St. Amant 5-3 in the semis and Brent Torres of Catholic 8-6 for the championship.
“It’s awesome. I don’t know what to say,” Webb said. “I’ve beaten both of them before, but they have gotten so much better. It was truly a blessing.”
St. Amant’s three champions were Clint Brownell (154), Sage Nugent (172) and Jordan Averett (184). Nugent won a title and was named Outstanding Wrestler at the Louisiana Classic Tournament earlier this month, and took home the outstanding wrestler award for the upper weight classes from this tournament.
He jumped out to a 6-2 lead before taking down No. 1 seed Richard Hunter of Brusly 11-9.
“We don’t think of ourselves as a “big three,” Averett said. “We think of our whole team as one unit. If it wasn’t for the other guys in the room pushing us to be better, we wouldn’t have the wins we do.”
This was Averett’s first city title after finishing third the past two years.
The only repeat winner of the city tournament was junior Central’s Austin Gouedy, who gained a 14-4 major decision over McKinley’s Jerimiah Johnson in the final. The other defending champion in the tournament, Landon Wheat of East Ascension, was defeated 7-2 by Brusly’s Austin Franklin in the 134 final.
The other weight class winner was 222-pounder Mason Rabel of The Dunham School who pinned Chase Stuckey of Baton Rouge High in the second round.
The city championship was the second in a row for Catholic, its 13th in the past 14 years, and 28th since they won the first city tournament in 1970.
Area teams now have two weeks to prepare for the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA State Wrestling Tournament at Bossier City’s CenturyLink Center on Feb. 12-13.