Brother Martin coach Robert Dauterive could have focused on next month and the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Wrestling Tournament.
But Dauterive wants his team to look at the overall Louisiana picture. After his New Orleans-based Crusaders won the 54-team Louisiana Classic on Saturday night that big picture looked pretty good.
The Crusaders had four individual champions and three runners-up and won the team title at Louisiana’s largest high school tournament with 306 points.
“This tournament brings all three (Louisiana wrestling) divisions together,” Dauterive said. “So it has always been a big deal to Brother Martin as it is to many of the other big schools in the state.
“I thought it was a good weekend. It was good to see such a high level of competition. This was about what I expected for us. But I do realize that when you take the teams from the other divisions and the out-of-state teams out Division I is going to be a real horse race.
“Winning this tournament is no guarantee that you’ll win a state title. But it’s a great tournament to win.”
Tournament host Catholic High-BR was second at 2161/2, while another New Orleans team, Jesuit (2121/2), took third. Holy Cross-New Orleans (129) and St. Paul’s-Covington (127) completed the top five.
St. Paul’s Connor Campo claimed the tourney’s Outstanding Wrestler award. Campo ran his record to 38-0 by winning the 134-pound weight class. In the final, he pinned Archbishop Rummel’s Rick Lacava in 1 minute, 28 seconds. It was the fastest pin recorded in the finals.
Campo, who won a Louisiana Classic title for the second straight season, pinned all but two of his opponents during the tournament.
St. Paul’s also won the Dale Ketelsen Sportsmanship named for the father of St. Paul’s coach Craig Kelelsen.
“This is a big deal,” Campo said while keeping a firm grip on the trophy. “Every tournament I’m trying to get this award. But I was shaking when I went up to accept this. This one means a lot.
“I’m looking to win every match big, not just by a decision. I think I did pretty good. I kept my seed (position) for state, which is important.”
Brother Martin’s champions were Austin Meyn (128), Daniel Albrecht (172), Kyle Delaune (184) and Ross Brister (287).
Jesuit also had four champions in Den D’antoni (108), Mitch Capella (115), Efosa Eboigbe (147) and Manny Armour (197).
Meanwhile, Catholic had two individual champions in James Claitor (140) and Brandon Luckett (162).
Lafayette’s Comeaux High also had two champions in Jacob Dale (122) and Tyrek Malveaux (154).
“There were a lot of great matches,” Catholic coach Tommy Prochaska said. “That first round (Friday night) took over three hours. There weren’t very many pins, and that shows that the quality of wrestling was better than it’s been in a while.
“If you look at the seeds, some of our guys weren’t in great spots on the bracket because we had those quality opponents from Division II and Division III.
“There were cases where we caught a No. 1 seed early because of who the other seeded wrestlers were.”
Prochaska agreed with Dauterive’s assessment that a Louisiana Classic title offers no guarantees for teams or individuals at next month’s LHSAA state meet. His case in point: A year ago Catholic won the Louisiana Classic title and wound up finishing second to Brother Martin in Division I.
Several of the finals went down to the wire. Comeaux’s Malveaux scored a 1-0 win over Brother Martin’s Devin Leblanc, with both wrestlers preventing each other’s attempts to score.
Northside’s Daniel Kincaide also rallied in the final 30 seconds to notch a 5-3 decision over Catholic High’s Myles Nash.