Brusly wrestlers leading Division III; De La Salle lurking _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Live Oak's Colt Olinde defeated Belle Chasse's Kreg Exsterstein in the 113-pound weight class quarterfinals at the LHSAA State Wrestling Tournament on Friday at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

Brusly High’s in a dogfight. And if all goes to Koby Mancuso’s plan, it’ll end early Saturday morning.

Mancuso headlined a group of nine Brusly wrestlers advancing to the Division III semifinals at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Wrestling tournament on Friday night at the Pontchartrain Center, good for a first place standing after Day 1, though De La Salle lurks in second only 15 points behind.

“We’re looking to break it open (Saturday),” Mancuso said. “Put as many in the finals as we can and let everyone know there really never was a competition. We always had it.”

Mancuso, the No. 1 seed at 160, dispatched North Vermillion’s Darien Hebert in 1:18 to advance to the semifinals.

Seven of Brusly’s nine wrestlers in the semifinals are seeded first or second, favorable matchups that have coach Jimmy Bible expecting a big round and some much-needed separation.

“De La Salle came to wrestle,” Bible said. “It’s going to be a dogfight. We got to handle our business tomorrow. If we do what we’re supposed to do, everything should handle itself.”

Bible said he got about what he expected from his young lineup, which features seven wrestlers who are competing in the LHSAA tournament for the first time.

Sophomores Owen Mabile and Richard Hunter took a liking to their first state tournament action, advancing to the semifinals at 145 and 152 pounds, respectively.

Mancuso gave his younger teammates a few words of encouragement when they entered the consolation bracket.

“In the championship bracket, you wrestle for yourself,” Mancuso said. “When you get in the (consolation) bracket you wrestle for your team and everybody who’s been at Brusly before you.”

In Division I, Catholic placed eight in the quarterfinals, but only seniors Mitchell Vidrine and Matt Mire and junior Daniel Gunn advanced to the semifinals. Vidrine won after his opponent, Airline’s Antonio Lococo, injured him on an illegal move and forced Vidrine to leave the tournament on a stretcher.

Catholic coach Tommy Prochaska said Vidrine checked out to be fine at a local hospital on Friday night and the team is unsure if he’ll wrestle his semifinal match.

Prochaska’s Bears sit in fourth place with 135 points, thanks in large part to wins in the consolation bracket by those who dropped their semifinal bouts.

“The quarterfinals we knew were going to be tough and we didn’t handle it very well,” Prochaska said. “But I’m proud of the guys coming back picking up some bonus points with pins and stuff like that. We have (10) guys still in, so we’ll see.”

Live Oak High’s young team took some lumps in the Division II quarterfinals, placing only four of 11 competitors into the semifinals.

Top seeds Colt Olinde (113), Brody Bonura (195) and Nick Simeneaux (220) won by fall and 138-pounder Brennan Webb advanced after his 11-6 decision against Shaw’s Peyton Matherne as the Eagles sit in third in the team race.

Like Prochaska, Live Oak coach Chris Collier said he was encouraged with his team’s resolve in the consolation bracket.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Collier said. “A lot of the older guys are taking charge and younger guys have made a push in some of these wrestle backs. We’re going to try to get them in the placing rounds to get points back.”