Louisiana Classic individual championships not tarnished by Brother Martin's absence
January 22nd, 2014 | Written by: Editor

Just in case anyone was thinking to the contrary, Brother Martin’s inability to participate in this season’s Louisiana Classic should in no manner deflect any of the éclat associated with winning this prestigious event.  Granted, the Crusaders probably would have won the team title, but they probably would not have dominated the finals as they have in the past.  As I see it the weight classes could easily have finished thusly had the Crusaders been there (mind you, this is purely conjecture):

106 lbs. Alex Betteridge of East Ascension has not lost since making it down to the 106 lbs. weight class.  Holy Cross’ Chris Zea is very capable but Betteridge bested him 9-6.  Brother Martin has some very capable freshman, but they may not be ready for the likes of Betteridge.
113 lbs. Freshman Kendon Lee-Kayser shows no ill effects from cutting down from his initial 126 lbs. (at which he dominated Comeaux’s 2013 Division I runner-up Connor Stampley), to 120 lbs. (at which he avenged his only loss of the year against Ocean Springs’ Tristan Rupert - the 2014 LA Classic Outstanding Wrestler award winner) or now at 113 lbs. at which, after pinning his first two opponents (including last season’s Division III state champion), he defeated last year’s Division I runner-up at 106 lbs. by a major decision and then dominated Jesuit’s Nicky Charles.  Mason Mauro is great, but he does have the Spartan Open loss to Rummel’s Devyn Breaud, and Lee-Kayser beat Breaud 10-0.  Mauro probably would have been seeded second, and it would probably have been a great finals match.
120 lbs. As well as Ryan Genco has filled in as a starter for the Crusaders it is unlikely he would have made it into the top four this year.  Ben D’Antonio of Jesuit seems to get better as the seasons near their end, but even he could not handle the fourth-seeded champion, Tristan Rupert of Ocean Springs.
126 lbs. Seth Gambill could have made a difference in this weight class.  But could he have gotten past Cody Hill in the semifinals?  That is doubtful as Hill seemed to be on a mission to get a rematch with Airline’s Christian Walden.  Gambill may have been the second best were he in that field, but he probably would have placed third due to the seeding.
lbs. Well, one has to give George Benoit credit for getting out of the meat grinder that was 138 lbs. this year and dropping to 132, but it is doubtful he would have gotten the better of Klein, Paul Klein, as nobody else in Louisiana has even come close yet.  This one almost assuredly would have gone to the Crusader.  But Benoit at 132 may do better for the Tigers in the long run at the state championships, as Catholic’s Brennan Taylor and Brother Martin’s Austin Meyn look very likely to meet in the state finals again at 138 lbs.. 
138 lbs. When it was Meyn, Lacava, Benoit and Taylor this weight class was like 126 was last year with Hill, Taylor, Meyn, Foster and Calcote.  But with Benoit dropping and LaCava moving up to 145, it looks like Meyn and Taylor may be headed for a rematch of last season’s 126 finals.  But that will not include Division III Brusly’s Trevor Schermer, who has avenged s previous loss to James Claitor at 145 this year, avenged two losses to Lacava from last year with a pin at the Deep South Bayou Duals, and then dominated Taylor 10-4 in the finals of this tournament.  Meyn would have been a factor, no doubt, but he might have faced the same fate as Gambill, being the second best of the lot but only taking third.
145 lbs. Pierce Williams or Danny Evans would have represented the Crusaders at 145 lbs., but on paper they would have had to get through James Claitor as 4th or 5th seeds behind Claitor, Funderburk and Lacava (Evans already beat 4th-seeded Brandon Cowell of Dutchtown).  But Claitor did not get past Bryce Ballas, giving LaCava an unexpectedly easier match than he might have expected.  Claitor relegated to the consolation bracket would have made it difficult for the Crusader wrestlers to finish higher than fourth.
152 lbs. Without Jesuit’s Efosa Eboigbe the Crusaders’ Mason Williams would have gotten the nod over Catholic’s Matthew Mire due to a "Sudden Victory "win over Mire in the Spartan Open.  That was very close, but it would have been a safe bet putting Williams in the finals. 
160 lbs. Brother Martin was probably looking at a third place finish for Travis Quarterman, based on his previous losses to Tanner Leblanc of St. Paul’s and the fact that Alex Martin of De la Salle was seeded first.  Quarterman has a win over Gaston Eymard of Jesuit who did take third.  I will venture to say that 160 lbs. will be a hotly contested weight class at state as nobody is beating anyone by a significant amount of points.
170 lbs. As well as Nicholas Comardelle is wrestling this season, it is doubtful he would have placed better than fourth or fifth with the likes of Holy Cross’ Brice Duhe, Jesuit’s Jake Eccles and Shaw’s Kody Woodson in the mix.  Comardelle has a loss to Mandeville’s Frankie Arena who placed fourth.
182 lbs. Yehia Riles would have been seeded first, and that would have knocked Guy Patron, the eventual winner, out of the third seed spot and into fourth.  So Riles and Patron would have met in the semifinals. Tough call there.  Riles did beat Patron at the Deep South Bayou Duals after losing to him twice at the Culotta, but Patron has shown he can adapt well, as he had never before beaten Fontainebleau’s Ethan Eisenhardt, and he did that 13-3 before scoring a 15-0 technical fall over Covington’s Brendan Allen.  Riles would have placed first or third.
195 lbs. Josh Tapia is having a great season and probably would have been seeded second.  He’ll eventually see Relayson, but give Brother Martin at least a runner-up finish here.
220 lbs. Jacob Clapp is doing fine, but C. E. Byrd's Quin Gilliam is deservedly undefeated, and Yeatman, Thompson, Arnett and Diaz would have made it difficult for Clapp to place better than fifth.
285 lbs. One might have thought this was a sure thing, but once again this weight class is “up in the air” after Ryan Hanley defeated Conor Karwath.  Matt Montalbano is only a sophomore, so I believe he would have had a difficult time placing in the top six.

As such – I would give Brother Martin the following: first at 132; first or second at 113, 152, 182 and 195; second or third at 126 and 138; third at 160; fourth or fifth at 106, 145, 170 and 220; maybe sixth at 120 and 285.  Those places would certainly have merited the team championship, but they would not have dominated the finals.

However, Brother Martin’s absence from the LA Classic could have a detrimental effect on their seeding at the state championships, even though they made the correct choice in not participating.  That is why the Ken Cole Memorial will be a monstrous event, possibly requiring that Comeaux build another gymnasium, and quick.  With Brother Martin, Jesuit, Holy Cross, East Ascension, Brusly, St. Paul’s and a host of other teams that often do not participate in the event, this could be a field that rivals the 1980 and 1981 ones when it was known as the Lafayette Invitational.

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