KENNER — A disappointed group of Teurlings Catholic wrestlers gathered around coach Kent Masson on Saturday night for their final team meeting.
A happy disappointment, as Masson termed it. The Rebels claimed their second straight Division II state championship at the AllState/Sugar Bowl LHSAA State tournament, but fell apart in finals matches – winning only two of their nine matchups.
“I don’t know if there is such a thing as a happy disappointment, but that’s what it is,” Masson said. “If you’ve wrapped up a team state championship, you wrestle for yourself (in the finals) and they’re taking that to heart right now. We seem to be a dejected wrestling team right now.”
“I think overall when things settle down, they’ll realize when things settle down, they’ll realize we accomplished something phenomenal as a team.”
The title, which the Rebels claimed by 74 points over Archbishop Shaw, is their fourth title in the last five seasons.
The Rebels held nearly a 70-point lead before any of their nine finalists stepped onto the mat, thanks in large part to three falls and nine wins in the semifinal round after Archbishop Shaw cut into the Teurlings lead during the prior consolation round.
“We did well in the quarters, we did well in the semis, but the finals, we didn’t show up for them,” Masson said.
The lone Rebel champion who was able to finish his match was 132-pounder Brock Bonin, who’s match had already been wrestled many times over.
He faced his opponent, Sam Houston’s Andrew Aucoin, at January’s Ken Cole Invitational in the consolation finals, prevailing in overtime, but determined not to take it that far again.
Bonin led 5-0 after one period, thanks in large part to his drags, and cruised to a 13-4 major decision.
“I’ve just been waiting for this match for a while,” Bonin said. “Ever since that last match, I said he’s not taking my spot here. I was butt dragging him and I finally found something that worked.”
The win was Bonin’s third straight state championship and primes him for history. If he’s victorious next season, he would be the first four-time state champion in Teurlings Catholic history.
“Brock’s always been consistent,” Masson said. “I’m looking forward to having him on the team for another year, but I’m also not looking forward to losing him after it.
Rebel heavyweight Travis Santiago was the victim of an illegal slam in the second period of his finals match against Northside’s Oshea Dugas. Santiago was leading the match at the time of the slam, but was unable to continue wrestling due to the injury he suffered as a result.
By rule, the wrestler who was the victim of the illegal move wins the match regardless of score if he or she cannot continue wrestling, thus Santiago had his hand raised as the state champion. Dugas was visibly upset and had to be restrained by multiple coaches.
“We don’t like to win it like that, we want to win it wrestling in the match,” Masson said. “We were wrestling well in the match. That’s not the way we want to have it happen for us, we want to stay on the mat.”