The remainder of the 2020-21 high school wrestling season in Louisiana has been canceled in an effort to ensure that the state championships can be held Feb. 25-26 in Baton Rouge.

As late as Tuesday afternoon, Comeaux wrestling coach Keith Bergeron was still planning on holding a limited version of the Ken Cole Invitational.

The biggest high school wrestling tournament in the Acadiana area had been pushed back to Saturday, Feb. 6 and the number of teams and wrestlers was going to be cut in half to help limit COVID-19 concerns.

By late Tuesday afternoon, there was no more need to discuss details of this year’s revised event.

The LHSAA canceled the remainder of wrestling’s regular season in order to preserve the state championships scheduled for Feb. 25-26 in Baton Rouge.

The dramatic decision came as a result of a statewide quarantine of all who attended the 48th Louisiana Classic wrestling tournament Jan. 15-16 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzalez.

The state department of health said there were more than 20 reports of positive tests at the event, which included about 400 wrestlers from across the state.

LHSAA commissioner Eddie Bonine said in Tuesday’s memo the decision was a result of an advisory committee to determine how to proceed after the mandated quarantine.

COVID-19 revisions dominate parish wrestling duals, but Teurlings still brings home crown

“It was decided unanimously, the best course of action was to end the regular season,” the LHSAA’s memo said.

The primary reason was to prevent the further spread of COVID and other potential quarantines, which could have led to the state tournament being canceled as well down the road.

Bonine also made it clear that no wrestlers will be allowed “to participate independently from their high school during his time.” Anyone caught doing so would be declared ineligible for the state tournament.

“Please do no put this office in a position to render a decision of this nature,” the memo said.

The decision essentially only wiped out two weeks of competition for many wrestlers and only one week for others. The state’s wrestling coaches had already decided to eliminate all varsity competition in the two weeks before the state tournament to ensure COVID-19 wouldn’t cancel the end-of-the-year event.

But all those who attended the Louisiana Classic would have been unable to compete until next week at the earliest.

“We’re trying to salvage state,” Teurlings Catholic coach Kent Masson said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The Division II duals had already been canceled, as well as a scheduled tri-meet between Teurlings, Carencro and North Vermilion.

Most of Masson’s wrestlers have gotten a fair number of matches in this season. For many other area wrestlers, however, that’s not the case.

Acadiana and Carencro reached the football state finals, limiting the opportunities for all their football-playing wrestlers.

For Acadiana, the Louisiana Classic was their first event this season. For Carencro, the Greg Lavergne Parish Duals on Saturday was.

That means many of their wrestlers will only have a handful of matches, if any, all season before state.

At Carencro, that includes UL football signee Kendrell Williams, who hadn’t wrestled all season while recovering from a football injury.

So exactly how do you seed a case like Williams, who won state as a sophomore, was the state runner-up last year but hasn’t wrestled at all this season?

“Seeding is going to be a nightmare for sure,” Masson said. “It’s going to be very difficult to do. It’s going to be a tall task.”

For Acadiana High coach Brandon Wheatley, this news is the latest in a long list of season-long obstacles in trying to build a wrestling program at a football school.

He began the season with about “15 to 20” wrestlers and is now down to eight on his roster, despite not having a single positive test.

“I got a couple guys that don’t play football at all, but the bulk of my team is football,” Wheatley said. “(Louisiana Classic was the) first tournament for those guys. I had some guys that really did good to say that’s their first tournament and then to get hit with contact tracing was tough.

“We had some guys that I think would have done really well at Ken Cole.”

Carencro coach Derrick Franchak said the No. 1 goal from the beginning in this COVID wrestling season was to give the wrestlers a chance to compete at state.

“From the beginning, that’s been the ultimate goal for these kids,” he said.

Email Kevin Foote at