December 1st.  WOW!  Just plain WOW!
December 1st, 2021| Written by: Staff writer



That Brother Martin defeated Catholic is not earthshaking news.  There was, though, if not earthshaking, certainly unexpected news on Wednesday night.  It is mentioned below.   I must start with the Brother Martin @ Catholic dual meet, though.  It was too impressive of a match to be “bumped” by any individual match results.  The way the Crusaders dominated such a well-seasoned opponent...it was hard to find something with which to compare it.  Watching The Godfather for the first time, or perhaps a Rolls-Royce driving down one's street?  Those work OK.  Then I thought of Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite.  That worked for me.  The match just got better and better, and despite the three Crusader losses at 182, 195 and 285 lbs., it ended triumphantly with the best match of the night.   (Playing the music a tad loud scared the dickens out of my cat, or, rather, put the dickens into her, as dickens means "devils."  CAT went, well, what Nancy Mace called Marjorie Taylor Greene, for a full 20 minutes afterward.)

But I digress.  (Now THAT is not news.  Heck, I can do it again.  Remember that baseball card of a Detroit Tiger from the November 30th “Crusader Duals…” piece?  “Tiger Cash” was a clue in a crossword puzzle I finished Wednesday evening.  The answer was the name of everyone’s favorite customer at the bar in Cheers.) 

[Note: season records, unless otherwise noted, include all wins but only losses to Louisiana competition.  Forfeits and defaults are not counted.]

St. Paul 54-Holy Cross 21 Sam Houston 47-Southside 28    

Brother Martin 45-Catholic 15

Brother Martin reaffirmed, with extreme prejudice, that they are the best squad in the state via a 45-15 waxing of Catholic.  The Crusaders blanked Catholic in the first 10 matches, And  by "blanked," well, the word could almost be taken literally.  The Bears, and some very good ones, scored, by my count, maybe six offensive points in that run.  (Granted, "my count" is based on a half-blind guy watching a Facebook - or is it Meta now - stream.  It was filmed well by a young man, but by the 10th match he wanted some pins, as he had math homework and an essay to write.  He decided to do the math homework in the morning.  Someone check on that, please.) 

St. Paul merits a slight lead over Catholic for the runner-up spot at the state championships.  The only measuring stick to predict that, until the Louisiana Classic, may be both teams' win over Jesuit.  St. Paul defeated the Blue Jays 43-31 on November 13th.  Four days later the Bears beat Jesuit 33-30.  St. Paul dominated Holy Cross 54-21 Wednesday, but the Tigers are rebuilding this season.  Neither Holy Cross nor Jesuit remotely resemble the cast the Crusaders put on the mats.  Add a healthy Luke Ohler to that show, and a little more insurance when 2021 runner-up Dylan Moser is healthy, and the Crusaders are better than they were Wednesday night. 

I used my new tabloid-sized printer to print a scoresheet and tried to keep up with the matches as I did at St. Martin’s when the "¢" symbol was on top of the "6" on a typewriter.

At 106 lbs. Catholic's Matthew Sanders was allowed three escapes in a 15-3 MD by Logan Dacuyan.  Dacuyan, 7-5, along with Blake McDonald (8-5) and Trey Trainer (4-1) have filled in very nicely for 2021 Division I runner-up Dylan Moser, who is expected to return to the mats soon.   Grant Grizzaffi, who placed fourth at STATE in 2021, was shutout 11-0 by Richie Clementi at 113 lbs.  Clementi is now 13-0.  Kyle Houser was 9-6 entering his match with Brother Martin sophomore Jacob Elsensohn.  Two of Houser's losses came from out-of-state wrestlers.  The other four were from Jesuit's Chase Haydel (5-3), whom he defeated three days later (3-2), East Ascension's Jesse Maneckshaw (4-2), Sam Houston's Pollex Coleman (7-5) and Chalmette's Anthony Perez (7-2).  Haydel and Perez placed at STATE in 2021.  All those guys, as well as Houser, can place this February.  Elsensohn teched him 17-1 and upped his record to 19-0.  Elsensohn the Younger could place as well.

Crusader sophomore Hunter Chabert gave up the first offensive point by Brother Martin, an escape, to Catholic’s Christian Worley.  Worley was 8-0 against Louisiana opponents at that time.  But he was, after his escape, down 2-1 to Chabert, who gave Worley one more escape trying to score a major decision.  He came one point short, winning 9-2.  Watts Goodson place third for the Bears in 2021.  Mason Elsensohn placed second a weight class below Goodson's, but one might not have guessed that after Elsensohn's 6-0 win.  Elsensohn the Elder is 17-0 against Louisiana competition.  Nick Cusimano did not compete at STATE in 2021.  Catholic's Happy Butler did and placed sixth as an eighth seed.  No matter.  Cusimano appears to have the starting job for the Crusaders at 138 lbs., and he defeated Butler 9-3.  He is now 10-0, and that includes a Gulf Coast Clash championship. 

Two-time STATE runner-up Kent Burandt was next against Catholic's Gavin Schwartz.  Burandt has not garnered much "ink" this season.  That is probably due to an early loss to Teurlings Catholic's Hudson Sharon.  Make no mistake, Sharon is very good, but he was at 132 lbs. last year when he placed third in Division II.  Burandt was a Division I runner-up, of course, but at 120 lbs.  Growing to 145 lbs. (the nerve of some of these high school kids!) seemed like it was too much.  It wasn't.  He won 10 of his next 13 matches and the three losses were to out-of-state wrestlers.  His wins included a fall over Sharon and a 16-8 MD over Division III runner-up Spencer Hughes of De la Salle.  He allowed an early takedown that looked ominous on Schwartz's part.  He would cede, though, only three more points to Schwartz while scoring 21.  With 46 seconds remaining in the final period, he earned a technical fall.  Burandt can put himself in awkward positions at times, but he gets out of them.  He is plain fun to watch.

Sam Riles followed at 152 lbs. with a nice lateral drop takedown against Brandon Medica of the Bears,  and he added three nearfall points.  Medica escaped near the end of the first period.  Riles escaped to start the second period, and then the pizza came.  Whatever Riles did while I paid for the pizza, it earned him a 13-5 major decision.  Ryan Corca may have earned he 160 lbs. starting spot with a tough 4-2 win over Michael Price, which included riding the 2021 4th-place winner the entire third period.

The last Crusader runner-up from 2021 sealed his spot as the 170 lbs. favorite in, well, everything that comes next.  Rocco Horvath held Richard Carroll, the only wrestler to defeat Baton Rouge's 2021 runner-up Kade Moran, to one point, and a penalty point at that, in a 10-2 MD.

At 182 lbs. the young Francis Ford Coppola behind the camera (Coppola directed Apocalypse Now, which is where the above photo is derived) got his wish as Thomas Domangue pinned Matthew Schneider in 2:40 to earn the first team points for the Bears.  Domangue is 10-2 against Louisiana opponents, losing twice to Jesuit's Winn McConnell by 7-5 and 5-2 scores.  He will be one to watch as the season progresses.  Nick Migliacio followed Domangue’s fall with a 1:52 fall over Dante Richard at 195 lbs., doubling Catholic's score.  Migliacio has had a good season so far, winning the Warrior Open and placing fifth at the Gulf Coast Clash.  The 195 lbs. weight class is fairly stacked at the moment, though.  Luke Ohler of Brother Martin is 12-0 albeit he is still recovering from a Gulf Coast Clash injury.  Jude Monaco of Shaw was undefeated last season and has won his first two matches.  Jason O'Dell of Zachary won the Warrior and Griffin opens and is 6-0.   Hence, 195 lbs. is not to be taken lightly.  (Yeah, I know.)

The Bears had to forfeit the 220 lbs. match, an honor accorded to Christopher Sulli, who may be tired of them as this is his fourth forfeit received this season.  Sulli has 10 wins though, and only five losses.  Three of those losses were to out-of-state wrestlers.  The other two were to Migliacio, a 7-5 match, and to Joel Lanclos, a defending Division II state champion for Teurlings Catholic.  Sulli's doing fine for the Crusaders.

If not the best wrestled, then certainly the most entertaining match of the night was between the big guys at 285 lbs.  Chaney Phillips was 8-1 for the Crusaders against Louisiana competition before his match with Catholic's David Russel, who was 5-1.  Phillips looked well on his way to a ninth win after a taking 5-2 first period lead.  Chaney escaped in the second period to build a 6-2 lead, but then he missed a throw, which Russell took advantage of via taking Chaney down to his back and tacking on three nearfall points.  After Chaney extracted himself from peril the two traded reversals, and after the second period Russell led 9-8.  In the third period Russell increased his lead to two points with an escape, but Chaney tied the match at 10-10 with a takedown.  Perhaps to avoid a Sudden Death period, Chaney let Russell escape in hopes of taking the Bear down again and taking the lead.  But the idea backfired as it was Russell who scored a takedown, opening up a 13-10 lead.  Then Phillips reversed Russell, cutting the lead to 13-12.  Chaney had no choice but to let Russell escape again, but he could not garner the takedown to put the two into a Sudden Death scenario.  Russell scored the final three team points for the Bears with a 14-12 win.

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St. Paul 54-Holy Cross 21

Nine months ago, many people might have thought this would be a close match.  But this is a more of a rebuilding year for the Tigers, while St. Paul, well they are the defending Division I team champions and have a very strong team.  I did not see this match, so an entire play-by-play is not forthcoming (not to mention that would mean this would not be published until Sunday, probably).  Yet I can glean a few things without visual aids, by choice or not. 

Dominick Durham is making a name for himself as a seventh-grade varsity starter.  His pin of St. Paul freshman was his 10th win of the season.  His three losses have come from 9-1 freshman Bodi Harris of Jesuit   11-3 sophomore Tashawn Lewis of Baton Rouge and 9-3 Johnny Laris of St. Amant, a junior.  Durham has wins over Brother Martin's Logan Dacuyan and Rummel's Kaiden Triche.

Sophomore Nicholas Sauerwin is 4-2 after his win over Brycen Dupre, and John Sheridan, a senior just out of football, is not even on the Tigers' TrackWrestling roster yet, but is 1-0. 

Seven of the Wolves 10 wins came via falls by Conlan Enk, Trey Faherty, Collin Cusimano, Landry Barker, Jared Paulino, Sam Gros and Ian Lyons..  2021 Division I state champion Jacob Houser received a forfeit.  Ethan Viator managed Gunner Guidry 12-6, and Jackson Peak prevailed over Vincent Bourgeois 8-3.

That leaves only one match.  It was the one I thought might happen at 152 lbs., between the defending Division I 138 lbs. state champion, senior Grant Nastasi of the Wolves, and Tiger freshman Nick DiGeralamo, who placed fourth in the same weight class as an eighth grader.  As has been mentioned the two met in the 2021 Louisiana Classic quarterfinals, a tournament both might just as soon forget.  Nastasi won 5-3.  This season Nastasi started 4-0, and impressively via one fall, two major decisions and one technical fall.  That was over a two-week period.  DiGeralamo, also recently out of football, had a less auspicious start at 2-1, losing unexpectedly to Dutchtown's Foster Shanks in the finals of the Spartan Invitational.  Overall experience, time on the mat and maturity all were in Nastasi's favor.   

Nobody thought to tell that to DiGeralamo, though.  Someone wise beyond his cat's years said that for DiGeralamo to have a chance he had to rely on defense - he could not try to outpoint a scoring machine like Nastasi.  And that is exactly what the young man did.  Nastasi shot a lot, and he got in deep on DiGeralamo several times.  The young Tiger, though, kept is legs under him and pummeled the senior with his hips.  The first score happened at the end of the first period.  With about four seconds remaining both wrestlers had locked-up and were standing too high for comfort.  DiGeralamo looked as if he started a head-and-arm throw, and then Nastasi tried the same thing the other way, but DiGeralamo pushed back hard, collapsing Nastasi's knee.  DiGeralamo kept pushing and Nastasi went down to the mat with DiGeralamo on top of him as the buzzer sounded.  After that, the two exchanged escapes but neither could score another takedown, and DiGeralamo walked away with a 5-3 win.

The most impressive aspect of the freshman’s efforts was that he did not seem to tire at all.  I did not detect any stalling to preserve his lead in the third period.  The young man was just quick, tireless and, I have to think ridiculously strong.  He used his hips like a battering ram when Nastasi shot on him, but there were a few times when it looked like Nastasi was going to finish a double-leg takedown, and the out of nowhere DiGeralamo had a leg on the mat pushing back against the senior. 

It is often said it is better to lose in any other month than February.  Now, both Nastasi and DiGeralamo have been bitten.  Should they meet again it likely will not be until the Louisiana Classic.  Woe be unto the others who face them before that. 

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Sam Houston-Southside-Lake Charles College Prep

Sam Houston will not challenge for a team title at STATE, and probably not for any other tournaments very far from Lake Charles.  Make no mistake, though, the Broncos got game!  On Wednesday night the defeated Southside 47-28 and Lake Charles College Prep 60-24.  But that is not the "game" to which I refer.

Freshman Caleb Lavine is now 21-0 at 126 lbs., and has not wrestled a full six minutes since November 13th.  That includes wins over Marlon Gray (FNT), Cole Curry (RUM), Coen Begnaud (TC) and Hunter CHabert (BM).  There are a few out there he has not yet faced.  Shaw's three-time Division II state champion Glenn Price's last five matches were at 126 lbs., and Airline's Ernie Perry, III, a two-time defending Division I state champion, is expected to start at that weight.  Junior Pollex Coleman is a healthy 11-3 and at 285 lbs. senior Michael Melendy is 6-3. 

Those Broncos, however, are not the ones most people are talking about on all of te Louisiana wrestling talk shows and chat rooms that do not exist.  If such things were a reality, odds are sophomore Tyson Roach would be a common subject.  I learned of Roach from Fargo, in which he placed fourth in the Junior Freestyle event at 100 lbs.  Only Spencer Lanosga of Jesuit, in the U16 285 lbs. class, placed higher (2nd in Greco-Roman and third in freestyle).  After Wednesday Roach was 18-0.  Eleven of those wins were falls.  Six were technical falls.  He went six minutes in one match - a 15-2 major decision over St. Louis' defending Division III state champion Luke Caballero.  He has defeated Dylan Duvernay (DLS) four times.  Samuel Favaza (FNT), Logan Olsen (AIR), Logan Dacuyan (BM), daniel Daspit (TC) - all are Roach's victims.  There is still Bodi Harris of Jesuit at 106, and Dominick Durham of Holy Cross, a seventh grader, but his 106 lbs. hunger may not be satwd until a Louisiana Classic or Division I state championship is on the line.  Continuing that motif, he was looking to land a bigger fish on Wednesday.  He wanted a Carcharodon carcharias.  That's a shark, a great white shark, and a big one at that.  Well, bigger than the 105 lbs. at which Roach weighed at the time.  But the Bronco went to 113 lbs. to meet Landon Reaux, the biggest Southside Shark in history after winning the 2021 106 lbs. Division I state championship and Outstanding Wrestler.  That would be one Landon Reaux, now a junior.  (No, Southside does not specify that their mascot is a great white shark, but what else?  A nurse shark, a catshark, a wobbegong?)

Reaux took the bait, so to speak, and Roached landed him.  The sophomore was ahead 7-4 before scoring a fall at 5:45. 

Keep in mind, though, that this was Master Reaux's first match of the season.  It was Roach's 18th.  Keep last year in mind, also.  Reaux lost two matches - one to Ashton Sonnier 6-5 and one to Dylan Moser 7-5 SV.  Those were on the same day, December 30th, 2020.  Seventeen days later he pinned Sonnier in 5:13 to win the Louisiana Classic.  Six weeks later he scored a takedown with nine seconds remaining, and rode-out Moser for a 7-6 state finals win.

Roach cannot drop lower than 106 lbs.  If Reaux started out at 113 lbs., it is a good bet he will drop to 106 lbs. at least by the Louisiana Classic.  Expect to see these two wrestle again, and expect them to put on a great show.

Lake Charles College Prep was also in the mix, and 195 lbs. sophomore Durrell Washington went 2-0 via two falls.  Another undefeated 195 lbs. to add to the above,(way above) list.

Asit is now 1:25 a.m. on Friday, I shall not risk digressing any more, and shall happily publish this and go downstairs to watch a delayed JEOPARDY!.  Emending will happen later on Friday, and when readers find mistakes, which I guarantee exist, please let me know so I may remedy them.

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