2021-22 Preview and associated tripe

Division I is a two-team race, but Brother Martin starts on the inside lane;
Teurlings Catholic should find Division II tough to lose;
Basile looks good for Division III four-peat

August 7th, 2021 Written by: Staff writer





[This staff writer apologizes that this piece pays significantly more attention to Division I than Divisions II and III.  However, picking Teurlings Catholic to defend their 2021 Division II team title is easy (while I am sitting in a padded chair in an air-conditioned room).  Picking Basile to win their fourth consecutive Division III team championship is a little harder.  If I should also be in a padded room is something to be decided on the 2021-22 mats.  Division I is a different story as picking Brother Martin to win the team title involves the Crusaders moving up three spots from last season’s finish.  To be so recklessly bold requires, nay, DEMANDS, a thorough argument be made.]

This is the time when the reader must understand that while it might have taken three months to prepare this article for publication, it still means absolutely nothing.  If wrestlers or teams feel slighted by their names not being mentioned, then they should use the perceived insult to show the writer that he knows nothing.  Wrestlers who are mentioned as favorites to win championships best not rest on whatever past laurels caused the writer to mention them.  The mats do not choose to remember what happened in previous years, months, days or hours.  Listing their names only emblazons the targets they already have on their backs.  Observations below are not meant to be confused with rankings.  Rankings are too often used as excuses for losing.  They are a pestilence to be avoided at all costs.  Seeding committees with access to much more information that I have will provide rankings.  Yet notice how many do not become true.  It is much safer to only predict team finishes.

Remember your Lawrence of Arabia: “Truly, for some men nothing is written unless THEY write it.”


A little JEOPARDY! is a good thing:

Graphical user interface

OK, I just wanted to use a JEOPARDY! board from the Art Fleming days.  Unfortunately, very few such images exist.

The correct "question" is: “What teams, prior to 2021, have won Division I state team championships besides Brother Martin and Jesuit.”  The “prior to 2021” makes it harder than it should be.  The correct “answer” without that condition would include St. Paul, which won in 2021.  De la Salle won team titles from 1969-71, but that was before the split into two divisions.

If you figured that out on your own, well, the first thing that comes to my mind is “therapy.” 

Lagging in importance only to the COVID pandemic and, perhaps, the 2020 presidential election, is the decision facing ABC as to who the next full-time JEOPARDY! host will be since the passing of Alex Trebek in November of 2020 from pancreatic cancer. 

Art Fleming was the JEOPARDY! host from its inception in 1964 to 1975, and after a brief hiatus from 198-79.  The show was revived again in 1984 with host Alex Trebek.  Trebek, according to my mother, was very “polite and professional.”

After JEOPARDY! executive producer hosted for a couple of weeks, a slew of celebrity guest hosts did two-week stints.  Some were no greater than horrible.  Others were tolerable, at best, save two: actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik and the aforementioned JEOPARDY! executive producer Mike Price.  They were very good.

According to Neda Ulaby, an NPR “arts and trends” writer, the two fan favorites are Ken Jennings and Levar Burton.  Jennings hold the record for the number of regular games won (74), and he hosted JEOPARDY! for six weeks after Trebek retired due to his illness.  Burton was introduced to the world in 1977 as Kunta Kinte, the patriarch, of sorts, on the television adaptation of Alex Haley’s family history book Roots, which traces Haley’s ancestors from their first days as slaves brought to the New World from Africa.

In an arduously long yet blissfully short one-week appearance as a JEOPARDY! guest host, Burton was horrible.  He was far too animated, and often at the wrong times.  He did not indicate any knowledge of what makes a Final JEOPARDY! round exciting.  During one Final JEOPARDY! round Burton invoked a “pregnant pause” prior to revealing if the contestant was correct or not.  “Pregnant pauses” are commonly used to add excitement before a positive event, such as the contestant being correct.   Burton’s “pregnant pause,” however, resembled the gestation period of an African elephant, despite his knowing full well (if only because the correct “question” was in front of him) that the contestant’s response was wrong.  Yet according to Ulaby, Burton should be a “lock” for the job.  “All things considered” one hopes NPR is mistaken.  Burton has publicly lobbied for the job, citing it as a “cool gig.”  One does not do such things.  It’s not cricket.

Art Fleming Alex Trebek and
Ouida Rellstab
Ken Jenning Mike Richards Levar Burton

Jennings has been heard to say he does not want the job.  That is well and fine, here.  Yes, he is very knowledgeable – and he knows it.  Hosting JEOPARDY!, however, would take Jennings away from other trivia gameshows such as Masterminds and The Chase, where he likes to show-off what he knows.  Frankly, Jennings is constantly trying to prove to all that he knows more unnecessary baubles of knowledge than anyone else.  I detest people like that!

Current scuttlebutt has Richards as the “host with the most.”


“We now return to our regularly scheduled wrestling-related drivel, already in progress since 2012…”

Back to Top


In the 21st century Brother Martin has won 12 Division I team titles.  Jesuit is next with four.  The Catholic Bears have won twice, and Rummel, Holy Cross and St. Paul have one title apiece.

Since 2012 only Holy Cross and St. Paul have eased the strangle-hold the Crusaders have on the Brother Melchior chalice.  (Team strangle-holds are legal.)

What might happen in the 2021-22 season?  There is a safe bet available.  Take it soon, though, as the odds-makers will no doubt start reducing the odds to “even” as the 2021-22 season progresses.


I did not want to do the math I have used in previously prolonged predictions.  The last math class I took was at the University of Texas at Austin and contained Roman numerals in its name.  OK, that is a weak aging play, as the course was Calculus II.  Yet that was 38 years ago.  (I have yet to find a math class which explains why I passed Calculus II in my first attempt, but needed three stabs at Calculus I.)

“Besides, [wrestling] isn’t just numbers, it's not science.  If it was then anyone could do it.  But they cannot because they don't know what I know.  They don't have my experience and they don't have my intuition.” 

[Pausing briefly to see if Brad Pitt fires me or Columbia Pictures sues me for the Moneyball reference.]

OK - as I see it:

...Yeah, that did not work.  Numbers were required.  That necessitated building some tables, and luckily, I had some warped wood and a stapler available.  Remember that if you try to base anything on such tables.

The data used came from the 2021 state championships and TrackWrestling (TW) for the 2020-21 season.  The top-10 teams in each division were analyzed re returning wrestlers, placement at the state tournament and other items.  When completed they revealed nothing unexpected, and thus I saw no use to include them in this article.

Division I Argument Precedent

The 2017-20 LHSAA State Wrestling Championships

The Crusaders had a very good team at the 2017 state championships, even though they had to fill 12 spots with wrestlers who had no experience at the state championships level.  Holy Cross won that year, followed by Jesuit.  Brother Martin placed third, 28 points behind the Tigers and 21.5 behind the Blue Jays.  Crusader fans were not to worry long, though, as in 2018 the Crusaders brought the trophy back to Elysian Fields Avenue with aplomb - a 96.5-point margin of aplomb.  Brother Martin did win the Louisiana Classic in 2017, followed by Jesuit and Holy Cross.  I recall comparing the Crusader, Blue Jay and Tiger rosters of that event and the subsequent state tournament.  There were no remarkable differences in the lineups.  That emphasized how intimidating one’s first state championship can be.  Experience can make all the difference in whether a team takes home a championship trophy, a runner-up plaque or no award at all.

By the 2019-20 season a new threat emerged from the Northshore.  The St. Paul Wolves, led by coach Matt Pinero, defeated the Crusaders 34-29 in a December 14th, 2019, dual meet.  The defeat was only the second to a Louisiana team since 2011.  (Jesuit defeated them 33-28 on January 11th, 2017, but that was the year when the Crusaders placed third at the state championships.)

The Crusaders, however, prevailed at the 2020 Louisiana Classic and at the state championships.  Two Crusaders won individual state championships, and Brother Martin won their 20th Division I state championship, surpassing Jesuit’s 19, by 6.5 points.

In 2021 St. Paul put together a team with nine returners from the 2020 runner-up squad.  One was returning state champion Peyton Ward.  Seven others placed in 2020, including runners-up Jacob Houser, Carter Duet and Blain Cascio.  Junior Trey Faherty was healthy, and his third-place finish, when matched with runner-up performances by Duet and Sean Cripple, and titles from Houser, Grant Nastasi, Ward and Cascio, made a formidable team.  That 11 of the 14 Wolves placed, nine of whom were 1st, 2nd or 3rd, made things even tougher for the rest of the field.  It more than explains the 51 points between the Wolves and runner-up Holy Cross. 

The Tigers also had four individual champions, and they had nine placers overall.  Only five of those made it on the top three spots on the podium, though.

The Crusaders had six finalists, but none of them won.  Of the remaining eight Brother Martin wrestlers, though, only one placed.  The Crusaders faced another challenge to defending their Division I title.  The 2021 East Ascension Spartans were a very experienced “senior-heavy” team.  Two Spartans won individual titles.  Seven Spartans placed, which matched the Crusaders’ number.  Having one state champion already and four third and fourth-place winners, the East Ascension team found themselves four points behind Brother Martin as the last match of the evening began.  The Spartans, though, had a top-seed still alive in senior Gavin Soniat, who spent little time, 1:19 to be exact, to pin Jesuit freshman Spencer Lanosga.  The win tied the Spartans with the Crusaders.  The pin gave the Spartans third-place outright, which is the best finish by a public school since 1999 when the late Sam Sara’s Grace King team placed third.  Spartan Coach Pat Mahoney was honored as the Greater Baton Rouge area wrestling Coach of the Year.

2021-22 Predictions in Division I

For the 2021-22 season, the Wolves will have defending state champions in seniors Jacob Houser and Grant Nastasi, as well as 2021 third-place winner Trey Faherty, another senior.  Junior Landry Barker, who placed fourth last season, should return, as should seniors Ian Lyons, who placed fifth in 2021, and Preston Hickey.  Sophomore Conlan Enk was two wins away from placing as a freshman. 

The Wolves could repeat.  A returning squad like theirs would be a good bet to repeat as Division I champions - in most years.

In the last decade, though, any time the Crusaders were not defending the Division I team championship does not qualify as “most years.”

Holy Cross was a “player” on this list before the Frost twins decided to relocate to Iowa.  The Tigers are viable to repeat as runners-up in Division I, but taking the top spot is asking a tad much this year,

1)     Brother Martin

Brother Martin was the “number one contender” before the news that the Frost twins were moving.  Their four defending runners-up are all viable contenders to reach the finals again.  They are Dylan Moser (106 lbs.), Mason Eisensohn (113 lbs.), Kent Burandt (120 lbs.) and Rocco Horvath (160 lbs.).   The Crusaders return nine wrestlers with state championship experience and thus only need to fill five spots to complete their roster.  They have the talent, and they have a well-seasoned “bullpen.”   In the 2020-21 season 17 non-starters had records over .500 with at least four wins.  Six of them had wins in the double digits: Luke Ohler - 22-6, Jacob Eisensohn - 17-4, Chaney Phillips - 15-7, Matthew Meyer - 14-10, Christopher Sulli - 14-13 and Gabrielle Pierre - 12-5.  Three others have yet to wrestle a high school match.  Sophomore Hunter Chabert was ineligible as a freshman.  Freshman Rory Horvath has an older brother on the squad in runner-up Rocco Horvath.  He has another older brother, Riley, who placed 2nd in 2020.  And then there is freshman Richie Clementi.  The “word on the street” is that Clementi, like the Frosts and Airline junior Ernie Perry, III (so far) may never lose a match in Louisiana. 

2)     St. Paul

Replacing the likes of Michael Rader, Carter Duet, Sean Cripple, Grant Vicknair, Peyton Ward and Blaine Cascio would be difficult for any team.  The Wolves must fill seven spots with wrestlers unfamiliar with state championship tournaments. That sounds hard, but they had to replace seven to fill their 2021 roster, and that worked out quite well for the Wolves.  TW, though, only lists eight Wolves wrestlers as winning four or more matches with at least a .500 record.  Only two had as many as six wins.

Helping immensely will be returning state champions Jacob Houser and Grant Nastasi, as will Trey Faherty, who placed third at 113 lbs. and Landry Barker who placed 4th at 170 lbs. Ian Lyons, who placed fifth at 220 lbs. is also returning.

St. Paul is the front-runner to claim the runner-up spot behind the Crusaders.  They will have to get past some strong squads from Jesuit, Catholic and Holy Cross, though, to do so. 

The Math Part

The table below lists the comparative strengths of the Crusaders and the Wolves based on team attributes the editor deems important.  A few items mentioned are plain facts.  A few others are subjective in nature.  The relative “Strength” rating of each factor is purely the editor’s opinion, and thus may be completely dismissed by the reader.





Returning State Champions


St. Paul: Jacob Houser and Grant Nastasi


Returning State Runners-up


Brother Martin: Dylan Moser, Mason Eisensohn, Kent Burandt, Rocco Horvath 


Returning State Placers


St. Paul: 7  Brother Martin: 4


Returning 2021 State wrestlers


St. Paul: 7  Brother Martin: 9


Average Place of Returning Wrestlers

(Not just 1st through 6th, but the lowest of non-podium positions, as in ties for 7th, 9th, 13th, etc.)


St. Paul: 5.6   Brother Martin: 5.9


Standard Deviation of Returning Wrestlers’ Places


Brother Martin: 3.7   St. Paul: 5.9

Why determine this?  A) Primarily I wanted to see if Excel would do it, and then if I could remember why it might be important.  B) The Standard Deviation (SD) shows how close a group of numbers is to the mean (average) of those numbers.  St. Paul and Brother Martin are close in the average place of returning wrestlers from the 2021 state tournament.  But the St. Paul SD is much higher than the Brother Martin one.  It indicates that the Crusader 2021 placement positions are closer to each other than the St. Paul ones.  Four of Brother Martin’s nine returners placed second.  Their other returning wrestlers are closer to a #2 finish than a St. Paul returner is to a #1 finish by over an entire place.


Average Points Scored by Returners


St. Paul: 18.86  Brother Martin: 14.22


Non-state-experience spots to fill


Brother Martin: 5  St. Paul: 7


“In the Bullpen”


See Above re New Roster Spots to Fill


In this attempt at “the impossible,” The LWN has the Crusaders ahead by “Factor(s)” 5-4, but in asterisks 17-8.  They are subjective asterisks - so leave the college fund alone.

Back to Top

Others to Watch in Division I

Defending state champions come to mind first.  Landon Reaux of Southside, the Division I Outstanding Wrestler, is one.  Ernie Perry, III of Airline, who is seeking his third Division I title, is another.  Corey Hyatt of Sulphur and Ashton Freeman will be hard to beat.

Runners-up come second (duh…), and the only one who did not graduate or has already been listed is Holy Cross senior Cole Baiamonte.  Baiamonte should be a top contender at 220 lbs. or 285 lbs.


At the Spartan Invitational I told Acadiana head coach Brandon Wheatley that I expected junior Luke Lafleur to have a “good season this year and a great one next year.”  A little later Master Lafleur had me wondering about my rational abilities after he blew a 14-1 lead over East Ascension's Austin Sharpley and was pinned in the finals.  Yet at the state championships, seeded seventh, Lafleur beat third-seeded Landon Toups of Catholic 8-3, fourth-seeded Sharpley 11-3 and sixth-seeded Jace Chenevert of St. Amant in 4:24 to place third.

Jesuit junior John-Michael Bourgeois (3rd at 106 lbs.) and senior Dennis Dougherty (3rd at 195 lbs.) are forces to be reckoned with for the Blue Jays.  Holy Cross freshman Nicholas DiGeralamo (4th @ 145 lbs.), Dutchtown's Cole Mire (4th at 113 lbs.) and Chalmette's Anthony Perez (5th at 113 lbs.) are some others.  Trent Trouth of Sulfur (4th at 138 lbs.) and Chase Bergeron of Lafayette (5th at 138 lbs.) cannot be taken lightly, nor can East Ascension's Santos Ramos or Catholic's Michael Price (3rd and 4th at 160 lbs.). 

Kade Moran of Baton Rouge was a runner-up at 170 and should be a favorite at that weight or 182 lbs.  Zachary's Cameron Walker placed 3rd at 195 lbs.  Working out with Freeman should make them both better wrestlers.

Do not forget Holy Cross’s Brandon Gainey.  The junior placed fourth as a freshman and, last season, was 5-0 against Louisiana competition, including wins over Crusaders Kent Burandt and Matthew Mire.  He placed second at the Trey Culotta Invitational and all three of his losses came from out-of-state competition.

Back to Top

2021-22 Predictions in Division II

Division II is closed.  That door is locked, in a safe, inside a vault, inside a volcano.  Teurlings Catholic would have to be creative, highly creative, as in April 15th, 1912, Vancouver World headline "TITANIC SINKING; NO LIVES LOST" creative, to not win their third consecutive Division II team championship. 

1)         Teurlings Catholic

One really can stop there.  The Rebels, who outscored North Desoto by 70 points in 2021, have 10 members of the 2021 state championships team returning.  Among them are all of their six defending Division II champions: Ashton Sonnier, Ethan Boudreaux, Joshua Vincent, John-Paul Travasos, Reid Bergeron and Joel Lanclose.  Three returners placed third.  One was fifth.  The average place at the state championships of those Rebels in 2021 was 2.0.  If they had need of a bullpen, they could enlist Rollie Fingers (74), Dennis Eckersley (66), Manuel Riviera (51) and Pedro Martinez (49).  The numbers behind their names are not records – they are ages.  They are not wrestlers.  They are MLB Hall of Fame relief pitchers.  The Rebels really do not need a “bullpen,” even an MLB Hall of Fame one, this season.

The team competition in Division II will be for the runner-up trophy.  That contest will be between Shaw, North Desoto and possibly, Rummel.  Belle Chasse, Carencro and Rayne do not appear to have enough talent returning to make serious trophy runs.  This does not mean a trophy is not possible.  As in the other divisions, adding new wrestlers means forming a new team, and the potential of those teams can only be realized when the season starts.

2)         Shaw

The Eagles have eight seniors returning who placed in 2021.  Defending state champions Glenn Price, Jude Monaco and Jason Bush, Jr. should be joined by Zalen Wilson (3rd), Hayden Tassin (4th), Todd Ritter (5th), Nigel Whitehead (5th) and Chad Gooden (5th).  Price is seeking his fourth Division II state championship, a feat last performed by Brock Bonin of Teurlings Catholic in 2016.  He was undefeated in 2021 and won a tough Louisiana Classic bracket which included a 2021 Division I state champion, a 2021 Division III state champion, a 2020 and 2021 Division I runner-up, a 2020 Division II state champion and the 2021 120 lbs. #1 seed.  Monaco was also undefeated last season and won a Louisiana Classic title.  Bush was seeded fourth at the state championships but defeated the #1 and #3 seeds.  Junior and fifth-place finisher Kobe Nguyen should also return for the Eagles.

3)         North Desoto

The Griffins have 2021 runners-up Lance Ferguson and Hunter Hanson, both seniors, to lead them, as well as senior Logan Ferguson, who placed third.  Junior Hunter Addison and freshman Colin Bell also placed third in 2021.  Sophomore Christian Bates placed fourth and junior Isaac Dees placed fifth.  Dees is dangerous, though, as he won a Division II title in 2020.


Senior Quinn Collins of Carencro leads the list.  Collins was upset as a top-seeded junior in the 2021 state championships by Joel Lanclos of Teurlings Catholic.  A rematch is very possible.  Seniors Jacob Baltz and Carter Burgess of Rummel, as well as junior Caleb Andrews of Belle Chasse, could very well end up in the finals again.  Surprise finalist Garrett Louviere of Rayne is returning, but so is the top-seed he upset in the semifinals, Haughton’s Charlie Yocum. 

Back to Top

2021-22 Predictions in Division III

Division III might be closer than Basile would like.  De la Salle is a little weaker than the Bearcats on paper.  Nobody wrestles on paper, though.

Amazingly, the top six teams in the 2021 Division III state championships, which may return 56 wrestlers to the 2022 state championships, only include two 2021 state champions - Luke Caballero and Henry Hebert of St. Louis.  That means a lot of last season's third-place finishers could make the finals.

1)         Basile

Basile had three 2021 runners-up: Jay Guillory, Luc Johnson and Andre Johnson.  Andre Johnson won a state championship in 2020.  Andre Johnson, Brevan Fields (5th), Baylor McCoy (4th) and Anphrony Guillory (5th) should return as seniors.  No returners placed third, but Luke Fontenot and Christian Bergeron placed fourth and Kye Smith and Parker Fontenot placed fifth for the Bearcats.  If senior Ethan Langley is healthy, the four-peat is almost assured.

2)         De la Salle

De la Salle’s Colin Veron is one of the best wrestlers in the state and should be a force in his weight class in all divisions.  Joining Veron will be fellow seniors Luke Robertson and Spencer Hughes, both of whom are returning runners-up, Bryce Oufnac (4th) and Giovanni Cusimano (5th).  Juniors Liam O’Connor (3rd) and Jason Krail (5th) will be joined by sophomore Dylan Duvernay (6th), giving the Cavaliers a strong starting lineup.

3)         Hannan

The Hawks return runners-up Gavin Gautier and Grayson Penniston, both seniors, and third-place finishers Preston Gautier and Wade Rist.  Sophomore Joel Marchand (4th) and Seth Lowe (5th) should also return.  The Hawks may make a play for the runner-up spot, but they are more likely to help decide whether Basile wins their fourth consecutive team title or if De la Salle wins their fifth team championship since 1969.


A runner-up as a fifth-seeded eighth-grader in 2020, Evangel’s Michael Gilreath won a Division III title in 2021, which means he has ¼ of the wins needed to be a four-time state championship.  Wiley Boudreaux, the 2021 Division III Outstanding Wrestler award winner, will return as a junior.  Preston Curtis of John Curtis will be a sophomore looking to enhance his 2021 runner-up status.  Returning as an eighth-grader will be Dunham’s Kristian Scott, who did his school and himself proud with a third-place finish in 2021.

Back to Top

© 2021-22 by Louisiana Wrestling News

You may not make electronic copies of these copyrighted materials nor redistribute them to 3rd parties in any form without written permission.