Brusly High didn’t have a sparkling performance in the finals of its own invitational wrestling tournament, but it was good enough to easily take the team title.
They rolled up 216.5 points to outscore Rayne with 154 points and North Vermilion with 147 at its 27th Brusly Invitational held Saturday at the school.
The Panthers, winners of eight of the last nine Division III state titles, sent six wrestlers into the finals, but came away with only two first-place medals.
Two-time state champion Trevor Schermer pinned Cameron Corley of Lakeside in 2 minutes, 34 seconds at 134. The Panthers’ Dillon Prejean came away with a close 10-8 decision over Trenton Pelloquin of Basile at 172.
Schermer, who ran his season record to 20-3, said that he had to change his style in the finals.
“He was strong, so I just didn’t work as many shots and started working my throws. I got the pin when I got a front headlock, and he was trying to push it to me, so I hit him with a leg trip and put him in a cradle and got the pin.”
Outstanding wrestler awards went to Schermer in the lower weight divisions and Billy Marcantel of Rayne (197) in the upper weight divisions.
St. Michael won the Jason Truong Sportsmanship award.
Prejean’s match was closer as he jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the first round on a takedown and a reversal, but had to hold on as Pelloquin fought back to within 8-6 before Prejean secured the win with a third round takedown.
The meet annually spotlights some of the top Division III (Class 2A and below) wrestlers from around the state, with a few upper class wrestlers and out-of-state wrestlers thrown in for spice.
Ocean Springs, Miss., brought a team and went home with one title, a second-place and a third place. as 122-pounder Tristan Ruppert was the first-place winner with a 10-5 decision over Brusly’s Wyatt Lejeune.
Christopher Marson of Denham Springs was the first Baton Rouge area wrestler with a win in the finals when he pinned Gavin Becker of North Vermilion in the 108 pound division.
Other local winners were Grant Godso of Redemptorist (147) and Donnie Berg of St. Michael the Archangel (184).
Godso won a tight 6-5 decision over Colin Laird of North Vermilion, and Berg pinned Stetson Keen of North Desoto at the 1:28 mark of the second round.
There were also two New Orleans area winners. DeLaSalle’s Alex Martin won at 154, pinning Brusly’s Koby Mancuso in 3:24. John Curtis’ Spencer Lemoine place first at 287, winning in an 8-3 decision over Centreville Academy’s Brian Arnett.
Third-place finisher Brittany Bates was recognized as the first female to win a medal in the 27 years of the tournament. The ninth-grader came into the tournament with a 35-12 record at tournaments, mostly in north Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.
“I did gymnastics for seven years, but I wanted to try something different,” she said. “My coach (Chad McClave) said ‘Why not try wrestling?’, and my dad taught me if I start something, I have to finish it.
“I can’t overpower the boys, so I’ve had to develop good techniques and finesse moves,” she said.
Brusly coach and tournament director Jimmy Bible was pleased with how efficiently the tournament ran, but expressed a little concern of his defending Division III state championship team.
“It rolled and ran right through,” Bible said.
“We had 33 teams and over 250 wrestlers. Our (performance in the finals) showed we need more work. We’re not where we want to be. The rest of the division is catching up with us, and we just have to outwork them.”