In a battle between two of the top wrestling programs in the state, Brother Martin showed it is going to take a special effort to dethrone the four-time defending state champions.
The Crusaders defeated St. Paul’s on Tuesday night at the Dale Ketelsen Wrestling Gymnasium in Covington, winning 11 of 14 matches.
Brother Martin won the first six matches of the meet, including pinfalls by Paul Stephen Schmidt at 113 pounds over Connor Oviedo and Steven Shields of Jared Thieler at 120 pounds.
Other pinfall winners for Brother Martin included Taylor Gambill (138 pounds), Travis Viener (182 pounds).
Crusaders coach Robert Dauterive said he was proud of his team’s performance.
“Our guys were really fired up about this meet,” he said. “St. Paul’s is a really good team that is well coached. We wanted to come over here and send a message in this meet, and I think we did that.”
Daniel Croy (106 pounds), Stephen Rumney (126 pounds), Seth Gambill (132 pounds), Kevin Casey (152 pounds), Pierce Williams (170 pounds), Cole Alfonso (195 pounds) and Jacob Clapp (285 pounds) picked up wins on decisions.
“I think Daniel Croy starting us off at 106 pounds with a win really got us going,” Taylor Gambill said. “That was a big win for a kid who is only getting better. It kind of pumped us up. It got us ready to come in and fight hard.
“You could just feel the difference in this match tonight. Give credit to St. Paul’s. They are the second-ranked team in the state for a reason. We felt like we had to really come out and show them what we are made of.”
St. Paul’s wins on the night came via pinfall. Hunter Bourgeois defeated Cal Palermo at 145 pounds, Sam Dufour defeated Brad Guidry at 160 pounds and Colin Francis won at 220 pounds.
Both squads now head to Bossier City for the LHSAA State Wrestling Championships Feb. 12-13.
“Last year we peaked too soon,” Dauterive said. “I felt like we peaked at the Louisiana Classic last year. We have kind of changed up our practice schedule and the way we prepared for state. We prepared to peak at the right time. I don’t think we wrestled our best tonight, but I really believe we are going to wrestle our best in Bossier City at the state meet.”