For years it wasn’t hard to predict the outcome of the Greater Baton Rouge Wrestling Tournament — just pencil in Catholic High.
Since the tournament began with five teams competing in 1970, the Bears have taken home 27 titles, including a run of 11 in a row from 2003 to 2013
Brusly snapped that streak with a tense, six-point win in 2014 after eight years as the runner up.
Catholic once again claimed the title in 2015, setting the stage for this year’s tournament at Catholic High on Friday and Saturday.
The tournament has expanded to more than 20 schools, Catholic High will lead the way again with 11 seeded wrestlers, five of them with No. 1 seeds. Those include Cameron Carpenter at 122, Daniel Gunn at 128, Davis Polito at 140, Jacob Fereday at 162 and K.J. Wilson at 287.
“Our team and St. Amant will have the only full teams, so that gives us an advantage,” Catholic coach Tommy Prochaska said, “but we’ll still have to wrestle up to our seeds, or even above them. There are some real quality kids on all the teams.”
Wrestling begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday with two championship rounds and two consolation rounds scheduled for the first day.
Competition continues Saturday with consolation quarterfinals beginning at 9 a.m., championship semifinals at 10 a.m., and finals at 2 p.m.
St. Amant looks to offer the Bears a challenge with nine seeds.
The Gators’ Clint Brownell (154 pounds) and Jordan Averett (184) are top-seeded. Sage Nugent, who was a winner at the Louisiana Classic tournament earlier this month, comes into the tournament with a 45-2 record, and is seeded second at 172.
Brownell’s only losses this season are to an out-of-state wrestler and to Joey Foret of Holy Cross in finals of the Classic tournament.
Nugent and Averett will be looking to move up a notch from the 2015 tournament, when both finished second to Catholic High wrestlers.
“Our team is really beat up,” coach Brian Hess of St. Amant said. “If we had the team we thought we’d have I know we could challenge Catholic.
“We’ve had two broken legs, a broken ankle and a bunch of shoulder injuries.”
Hess is still optimistic, singling out Tyree Morris (108) and Kaelin Lambert (162) as possible challengers who could score points for the Gators.
The top seed at 172 is defending state champion Richard Hunter of Brusly. Austin Franklin (134) is the Panthers’ other No. 1 seed. Coach Jimmy Bible’s team has been up and down this season, working to overcome the transfer of two-time city champ Kendon Lee to Stillwater, Oklahoma, and various injuries.
The 134-pound division will also be hotly contested with Landon Wheat of East Ascension, a returning champion, seeded third behind Franklin and Ethan Alphonso of Live Oak, who brings a 45-4 record into the tournament.
Dunham’s Mason Rabel, another second-place finisher in 2015, is seeded No. 1 at 222.
This will be the 47th consecutive city tournament for veteran Baton Rouge High coach Bill Bofinger, who coached nine city championship teams at Lee High. Baton Rouge High has one seeded wrestler, Chase Stuckey at 222 pounds.