Fini

No reloading necessary - the Crusaders have all of the ammunition they need
August 24th, 2018| Written by: Editor

 

 

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Division I

Nine 2018 Division I state champions should return for the 2018-19 season.  Jesuit, Holy Cross, Catholic, East Ascension and McKinley each have one.  The problem for those schools and every other Division I competitor: Brother Martin has four.

 2018 Returning State Champions

Connor Hoffman Luke Romano Michael Lundin Daniel Croy Trent Mahoney Patrick Evans Gavin Bonilla Perry Ganci Mack Brown

 Brother Martin

Ten wrestlers who have state championship experience are returning for the Crusaders.  Experience of that sort is vital.  In 2017, when Holy Cross won the Division I title, and Brother Martin placed third, the Crusaders only had two wrestlers, Luke Cotton and Steven Shields, who participated in the 2016 state championships.  Only Holy Cross and Zachary, with 12 apiece, have more returning wrestlers with state championship experience this season.

Connor Hoffman - 1st
Daniel Croy - 1st
Some of the lighter and heavier wrestlers occasionally find it difficult to repeat the following year.    Re the lighter weight classes, a year’s worth of growth can adversely affect a wrestler, as they may find themselves competing against heavier wrestlers are generally older and more accustomed to their size.  As for the larger wrestlers of any age, the almost standard rule of whoever falls to the mat first will lose may apply.

Of Brother Martin’s four state champions, neither of those factors should affect Daniel Croy or Patrick Evans.  The best wrestlers in their weight classes in the 2017-18 season, Croy will be setting his sites on a third consecutive state championship and Evans will be seeking his second.

That leaves 106 lbs. state champion Connor Hoffman and 285 lbs. state champion Mack Brown.  Hoffman looked beatable in March at the USAW freestyle Jefferson Open at Grace King.  Sure, Hoffman won the event, but it was an 8-6 match against Ehret’s Gage Sonnier.  Sonnier, mind you, is very capable and should have very good junior and senior seasons, but he was two matches away from a spot on the podium in the 2018 state championships.  Competing at 138 lbs., or even 132 lbs., might have proven difficult for the Crusader junior against the best inn those weight classes.   Brown seemed beatable only because he was and should remain at 285 lbs.

The Jazz Town Duals refuted everything about Hoffman and Brown in the two paragraphs above.

 Hoffman competed at 113 lbs. and 120 lbs. and looked very sharp.  He won in the Crusaders’ quarterfinals match at 120 lbs. and in their semifinals match he won 5-3 at 113 lbs.   As for Brown, he was undefeated in the event.  Nobody put him on the mat, and he looked to be the most dominant Brother Martin heavyweight since Ross Brister in the 2012-13 season.

Patrick Evans - 1st
Mack Brown - 1st

 Hence, other Division I contenders best prepare for the Crusaders to have at least four state champions come February of 2019.

Mason Massicot - 2nd
2018 runner-up Mason Massicot also looked very sharp at the Jazz Town Duals.  He looked to have the confidence befitting a Division I runner-up.  Some perhaps considered the Crusader sophomore a “sacrificial lamb” due to the presence of Catholic’s Jacob Fereday in the 170 lbs. weight.  People also thought that in 2015 when Holy Cross sophomore Joey Foret was the Tigers’ entrant at 132 lbs., a weight class owned by Brother Martin’s Paul Klein.  Foret went on to capture state championships in 2016 and 2017.  Now that Massicot has state championship finals experience “under his belt,” any anxiety about wrestling another state finals match should be allayed.  As a sophomore, Massicot has two more chances.

Of the Crusaders’ remaining six returners, all placed in the top-six in 2018.  Placing fourth were Ethan Castex, Alex Duncan, Seth Alphonso and Kyle West.  Michael Clapp placed fifth also return for the Crusaders.

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Second-place may be what the other Division I teams can hope to win.  Upsets happen, but it will take a plethora of them to stop Brother Martin’s newest streak at one.  The Holy Cross Tigers and Jesuit Blue Jays will be the favorites to win the runner-up trophy spot.  Both have one returning state champion.

 Jesuit

The Blue Jays have Perry Ganci, a senior looking for a third consecutive state championship.  They also have Luke Eccles, a runner-up in 2018.  But after that they only have one returner, Sam Dreuil, who made the podium by placing fourth.  The 20-some-odd points the Blue Jays historically tend to be awarded by providence just for showing up at the tournament, however, may not be enough to earn a runner-up spot.  Finishing as team runners-up for six years in a row, and in eight of the last nine state championships, perhaps will work in the Blue Jays’ favor in the future: “There is no education like adversity” – Benjamin Disraeli (19th century British Prime Minister).
Perry Ganci - 1st Luke Eccles - 2nd Sam Dreul - 4th

Holy Cross

Michael Lundin - 1st
Jacob Frost - 1st

The Tigers return state champion Michael Lundin, and he will probably work on technique and maybe something besides a tilt in the off-season.  That is all he really can do.  General laws of physics (and an “X-Files” episode) prevent him from being any faster without his bones suffering stress fractures.

Tiger freshman Jacob Frost, a runner-up to Hoffman in 2018, does not look like he will move from the 106 lbs. weight class.  That may allow his twin brother Evan to compete at 113 lbs. if junior Caruso Signorelli moves to a heavier weight class.  Signorelli should be considered dangerous this season, having finished second in the last two years.  Caden Mumme returns as a senior who placed third last year.  That included two Sudden Victory wins over Brother Martin’s Seth Alfonso.  If those two remain in the same weight class, those matches should be considered “toss-ups.”  

An advantage the Tigers have over the Blue Jays is that they have 12 returning state starters, while Jesuit only has nine.

Caruso Signorelli - 2nd
Caden Mumme - 3rd

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Other 2018 Top-10 Schools (in order of placement in the 2018 state championships):

 St. Paul’s

Connor Oviedo - 3rd
Brandon Stein - 4th
Peyton Ward - 3rd
Seniors Connor Oviedo (3rd-place) and Brandon Stein (4th-place) should lead the Wolves, who also have state placers in Peyton Ward (3rd-place), Carter Duet, Ben Davidson, Evan Ulfers, Cole Ulfers.  Senior Matthew Algero also returns, giving new head coach Matt Pinero eight wrestlers with state championship experience.

Catholic

Luke Romano - 1st
Aside from Romano, the Bears will have seven other members from the 2018 state tournament team.  Hunter Goodson, Peter Kelly and Martin Helouin were place-winners in 2018.  A.J. Sabine, Canon Hunt, Macullen Mire and Taajuddeen Abdul-Salaam also return for the Bears.

Airline

Peyton Bass - 2nd
The Vikings also return eight wrestlers with state championship experience.  Leading the team should be seniors Peyton Bass, a runner-up in 2018, and Tucker Almond, who placed fourth.  The others returning should be Memphis Brace, Josh Franklin, Michael Wright, Michael Salinas, Colyn Vagrin and Romulus Culpepper.
Tucker Almond - 4th

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East Ascension

Devon Clark - 3rd
The Spartans return eight wrestlers from the 2018 state championships and may have a junior captain in 2018 state champion Trent Mahoney.  Senior Devon Clark should certainly be a Spartan leader as was the only other Spartan who placed in 2018, garnering third-place. 

Anthony Krass, Austin Sharpley, Josiah Wakefield, Brad Mahoney, Reginald Barnes, and Gavin Soniat comprise the rest of the Spartan 2018 state returners.
Trent Mahoney - 1st

Zachary 

Wes Brady - 2nd
The Broncos return 12 state starters from 2018.  Wes Brady, at 220 lbs., gave Perry Ganci his only loss in Louisiana last season, and took Ganci to a Sudden Death period in the state finals.  Caleb Mickelson, Kenyon Martin and Caleb Jackson placed for the Broncos in 2018, and they will be joined by 2018 teammates Dennis White, Wade Langston, Sherrif Hartley, Chance Jackson, Jacob Wallis, Joseph Elbert, Clayton Landry and Travis Hale.  Twelve wrestlers with state championship experience may bode well for second-year coach J.P. Pierre.
Kenyon Martin - 3rd

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St. Amant 

Hunter Hawkins - 2nd
The Gators will be led by senior Hunter Hawkins, who finished in third-place in 2017 and as a runner-up in 2018 and, looking at the numerical series, only one number follows.  He will have nine teammates with state championship experience.  Junior Corey Brownell was a mere two points away from placing and he will return with Jace Chenevert, Jaden Snyder, Cody Comeaux, Alex Simoneaux, Alex Newman, Kole Baker, Nicholas Fuselier and Bruce Haven.

Fontainebleau

Kyle Boell - 6th
The Bulldogs should return 10 wrestlers who participated in the 2018 state championships.  Kyle Boell, although he placed only sixth, lost only seven matches to five people in the 2017-18 season, and should be a team leader.  The only other returning Bulldog who took a spot on the 2018 podium was sophomore David Cuccia, who placed fourth.  Returning from that team, aside from Boell and Cuccia, are Colton Hayes, Daniel Smith, Jackson Knapper, William Broussard, Justin Marcantel, Tanner Melendez and Justin Mayer.
David Cuccia - 6th

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Other Potential Championship Contenders

Dyllon Bernard - 2nd Roberto Rivero - 3rd Hunter Gustin - 5th Dylan Ames - 6th Jeremiah Brooks - 6th Demetri Teddie - 6th Jalen Ben - 6th D'Quinn Butler - 6th

Comeaux senior Dyllon Bernard ranks first on this list.  Bernard waltzed into the 138 lbs. finals, only to lose to Jesuit’s fourth-seeded Adam Larriviere 5-4.  Larriviere is gone, as is Cole Houser of St. Paul’s, who was a two-time state champion before falling to Larriviere in the semifinals.  Senior Dylan Ames, seeded second in the 2018 tournament, was hurt in the consolation semifinals and had to forfeit his fifth-place match.  If healthy, he should fare very well this season.

The other returning Division I placers are Grace King senior Roberto Rivero (3rd), Sulphur junior Hunter Gustin (5th), Acadiana junior Jeremiah Brooks (5th), junior Demetri Teddie of C.E. Byrd (6th), Chalmette junior Jalen Ben (6th) and senior D’Quinn Butler of Hahnville (6th).

Two-points from Placing

Chad Baradell
Not to be taken lightly are Bonnabel senior Chad Baradell and St. Amant junior Corey Brownell, who both fell two points shy (one to tie, one to win) in their matches to earn a spot on the podium.
Corey Brownell

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