BOSSIER CITY — Going into this weekend’s LHSAA State Wrestling Championships, defending champions Brother Martin in Division I and Teurlings Catholic in Division II were expected to repeat their successes from last year’s tournament. De La Salle was also favored to take home the title in Division III.
After Day 1 of the state tournament, those expectations seem to be on the right track.
The Crusaders, Rebels, and Cavaliers all sit atop the standings in their respective divisions after the first two sessions of the state tournament Friday at CenturyLink Center.
Brother Martin rolled up 1711/2 points, 231/2 more than second-place Jesuit (148.0). Comeaux (133.0) sits in third, followed by St. Paul’s (1321/2) and Holy Cross (1281/2). Catholic sits in sixth place with 113.0 points.
“We wrestled really well overall,” said Brother Martin coach Robert Dauterive. “We wanted to get our 13 (wrestlers) to the semifinals, but we got 11. Our 145 (pounds) and our 152, we expect them to wrestle back and place in the top six.”
Jesuit coach Sheridan Moran said it will take another good day for the Blue Jays to topple the defending champs.
“We’re not taking a backseat to anybody, but we’re going to keep getting better,” said Moran, who had 13 wrestlers still alive at press time. “If we win by six (Friday), we want to win by seven (Saturday). If we get a fall (Friday), we want to get a quicker one (Saturday). These guys have a lot of pride in what it means to carry on the tradition of Jesuit wrestling.”
Catholic coach Tommy Prochaska endured a trying day, with two of his senior wrestlers going out with injury.
“We didn’t have the best luck, but that’s the breaks in these things,” Prochaska said. “We’ve still got some guys through too (on Friday), and if we perform, we’ll still be in the thick of things.”
In Division II, Teurlings Catholic goes into Saturday’s action with a slim lead over second-place Rummel, 152-1421/2, while Live Oak (141) sits in a close third and Rayne (138) is fourth. Shaw rounds out the top five with 1131/2 points.
“It’s a lot of fun for us when it’s close like this,” said Teurlings coach Kent Masson, whose Rebels have won four of the past five state titles. “We’re going to come out here (Saturday) and have more fun, and hopefully we come away with success.”
In Division II, De La Salle sent eight wrestlers through to Saturday’s semifinals and holds the overall lead with 127 points, ahead of second-place North Vermilion with 107. South Plaquemines (103) is in third place, followed by traditional power Brusly (95.5).
“We’ve done well (Friday), but I’ve told the guys that these things are session to session,” De La Salle coach Rod Cusachs said. “We can’t rest on what we’ve done. We have to get out there and lay it all out on the mat.”
Brusly coach Jimmy Bible came into the tournament with less firepower than previous years, but the Panthers still have a chance to bring home some hardware.
“We still have five or six kids that can make some noise in this thing,” said Bible. “We only brought 10 with us this year, and we knew it was going to be tougher than in years past. We’ve got a chance to have all seven of our remaining kids in the finals, and that would be a hell of an accomplishment.”