Everything about Brad Mahoney’s wrestling season screams perfection. The East Ascension senior has a 40-0 record competing in the 170-pound weight class.
The voices in Mahoney’s head offer a reminder that perfection can be nebulous and visible only to the eye of the beholder.
“Right now, I am not all that pleased,” Mahoney said. “Sure, I have won. But I haven’t wrestled that perfect one yet. There are still things I need to improve on.”
Like other competitors from across the state, Mahoney would love for that “perfect one” to come this weekend at the Louisiana Classic. The two-day meet is set to begin Friday at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. This year the annual event is Louisiana’s largest-scale meet.
Many schools opted to scale back or cancel tournaments because of the coronavirus pandemic. With the LHSAA wrestling tournament looming next month, the Louisiana Classic provides motivation and insight for top wrestlers, including Mahoney, who has a career 201-55 record and has recorded 35 pins this season.
“This is always a big meet,” Mahoney said. “I’ve been coming to it for years because my dad always coaches in it. The fact that I have never made it to the finals motivates me.
“Hopefully, I will get to compete against some guys who will push me even harder than I have been pushed this year.”
As the son of East Ascension coach Patrick Mahoney, Brad Mahoney has been a fixture at meets for years. Over the past four years, his older brother Trent, now a wrestler at Tennessee-based King University, had the lead role and went undefeated as a senior.
“Trent was always more serious about wrestling when we were growing up,” Mahoney said. “He worked so hard. I know I have to put in the work. There are no shortcuts. You earn everything.”
The process is seldom perfect. Mahoney was on the verge of breakthrough success last season but injured an ankle at the LHSAA tourney.
Balancing virtual classes, a part-time job and workouts last spring was a challenge. But Mahoney focused on goals.
“I went from wrestling at 152 pounds to 170. I knew I had to be physically stronger,” Mahoney said. “In lower weight classes technique is so important. Go up to 170 or above you have to be strong and have good technique.”
The thing strength and technique could not give Mahoney was confidence — something his father said he has now.
“He really believes in himself more than ever,” Patrick Mahoney said. “Brad was coming along mentally last year for the state meet when he tore up his ankle in the first match. He overcame that.”
Could this be the week he finds perfection? He is eager to find out.
“I can’t wait to compete Friday,” Mahoney said.