The Janus Report
January 4th, 2024| Written by: Staff writer



[Yes, this was rushed a bit and may have some significant errors, but I need to spend Thursday on the fence!]

There are only four weeks remaining in the 2023-24 LHSAA wrestling season.  My recapping what happened in December, things everyone knows already, wastes precious computer time for this rod and cone impaired guy.  An egotistical SOB like me finds ruminating (one of my more “enDEERing” qualities) much more fun than publishing other peoples’ photos from Facebook.  So the Roman god Janus is really only looking forward (in this hemisphere, that means "to the left").  (Pretend the right-side Janus face ran into the Greek Oedipus Rex.

Division III

Where did this team from Basile come from?  In winning the Jimmy Vidrine Division III tournament they beat a solid John Curtis team as well as Hannan's and De la Salle’s best lineups.  Shaw is still a favorite to repeat as Division III champions, and their fifth-place showing was because they left a lot of starters out of the event.  De la Salle only entered 11 scoring wrestlers and Shaw only nine, while the Bearcats entered 13.  The Patriots are going to have a major impact on how Division III ends.

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Division II

Teurlings Catholic may not run away with the team championship as they have in the past.  One reason is that defending Division II state champion Hudson Sharon is not competing in his senior year.  It is too early to say this just yet, but Alex Rozas is not necessarily a “lock” to earn his second Division II title.  The Ken Cole and the Louisiana Classic are fast approaching, and Rozas may very well face Sam Houston’s Tyson Roach in those events at 120 lbs.  Rozas defeated Roach 7-3 in the Trey Culotta finals.  Ask 2021 and 2023 Division I state champion what it is like to wrestle Roach after handing him a defeat.  At State, though, it is likely Roach will move up to 126 lbs., and then he will be Rummel’s 2023 defending state champion Kaiden Triche’s problem.

The biggest factor in determining whether Teurlings Catholic will win their fifth consecutive team championship or if North Desoto wins their first, comes down to Paul Scofield.  That would be the 1967 Academy Award winning actor from “A Man for All Seasons,” who played St. Thomas More.

The Cougars have some talent.  Freshman Foster Peterson won the Trey Culotta over Brother Martin’s Matthew Graffagnini.  His classmate Jonas Rebstock has only lost to East Ascension’s Aiden Krass (x3), St. Paul’s Cole Mire (a 2-1 match), defending Division I state champion Bodi Harris of Jesuit and Acadiana’s Ozias Gray.  Finley McGill is dangerous as he has only lost to Brandt Babineaux of Teurlings Catholic and Cameron Gandolfi of Rummel. 

There really are only two races in Division II.  The first race includes a Brother Melchior trophy and a runner-up plaque.  Teurlings Catholic and North Desoto are in that race.  The second race is to determine a potential “heir-in-waiting” by taking third.  St. Thomas More and Rummel are in that race.

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Division I

Wednesday was a very telling day re Division I. 

Jesuit defeated East Ascension 51-16.  The Spartans won last weekend’s Louisiana Public School Championships, but he Blue Jays showed that the public schools still have some significant work to do to challenge the Catholic school powerhouses.

More surprising on Wednesday night was Holy Cross’ dismantling of the Brother Martin Crusaders 46-13.  The Tigers scored the first 15 points of the match.  Brother Martin broke the shutout via a forfeit at 120 lbs.  The Crusaders won three more matches but come the 157 lbs. match defending Division I state champion Nick DiGerolamo clinched the win for the Tigers.  The best match of the night was not the 5-4 win by Holy Cross’ Gunner Guidry over Jacob Elsensohn, nor was it one of the two 6-3 Tiger wins. 

The best match of the night Came from senior Hunter Chabert, on Senior Night at Brother Martin, who, with only an 8-0 record, dominated Nicolas Sauerwin 13-2 MD. 

The Crusaders took a hit, no doubt.  2022 third-place winner Jacob Elsensohn fell to Guidry 5-4 when Guidry overtook Elsensohn’s lead in the last 30 second of the match.  Crusader Matthew Graffagnini (everyone reading this knows I coached his father Mark at St. Martin’s, right?) fell to his 2022-23 Brother Martin teammate Anthony Oubre.  Neither two-time defending Division I state champion Richie Clementi nor 2023 runner-up Rory Horvath scored bonus points for the Crusaders.  2023 runner-up Ethan Simmons fell to Kohen Johnson 5-0. 

Was it an off-night for the Crusaders mixed with an extraordinary night for the Tigers?  I do not believe so.  The better team on Wednesday night won.  If Holy Cross celebrates the win on Wednesday night, that is allowed.  Should they not realize they teed off a very talented and experienced Brother Martin team come practice on Thursday, they will regret it.

Other meets on Friday included St. Paul defeating Live Oak 57-20.  Of significant importance was that St. Paul junior Jackson Peak may have finally arrived where people expected him to be by knocking off previously undefeated (24-0) Gage Kelly, a Live Oak runner-up in 2023. 

Re this weekend’s Ken Cole, a lot of the best wrestlers in Division I will skip it.  I think they should not do so, but people just read what I write and rarely do as I suggest.  Holy Cross and Jesuit will postulate that they are resting or concentrating extremely hard on the December 10th match when the Blue Jays go to Holy Cross.  The Blue Jays are scheduled to enter some wrestlers, but it is doubtful they will send their best.  Other Division I powerhouses like Catholic and St. Paul might send some wrestlers to it for experience.


There is a month left to the season.  There is not a match left from which a wrestler cannot learn something to improve his chances in Bossier City.  I used to tell the kids I was coaching that if you do what I say at practice you will do fine at the state championships.  Yet, if you go home and do what I told you to do at practice again, you might find yourself in the state finals.


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