Forget after reading II: State championships preview
January 27th, 2024| Written by: Staff writer




Retirement has stages, evidently.  So, while I did author this article, I did not do as much research as I have done in previous years.  That counts for something, right?  (Microsoft Word said I should use “author” rather than “write.”  I think it sounds a tad pompous.)

The information below was gleaned from TrackWrestling, RankWrestlers, the Louisiana High School Wrestling Archives (for some reason I am annoyed that I have to go through the same rigmarole as other when using that website), a few coaches and from what I remember about some of the wrestlers. 

Some kids will no doubt wrestle up or down a weight class than the one I have listed.  Some others will not be entered due to information of which I am not privy.  But I am pretty pleased that the teams I picked in September are, for the most part, the ones I chose as favorites in late January. 

And like my article in September, forget all of this after reading it.

Division I

All season the Jesuit Blue Jays have looked more and more like they will successfully defend their 2023 Division I team title, their first since 2009.

They won the South Walton Border Wars by 59.5 points over St. Paul and 127 points over Holy Cross.  They won the Gulf Coast Clash by 15.5 points over Brother.  In both of those events the Blue Jays were without a wrestler at 215 lbs.  They defeated Teurlings Catholic 60-16, East Ascension 51-16, St. Paul 53-15, Chalmette 58-23 and Holy Cross 38-23.  They finished second behind Gilroy, California at the Louisiana Classic, but they scored 46 more points than Holy Cross and 60 points more than Brother Martin.  They finished seventh at the Kansas City Stampede, which is a very tough national event.

They look to have four top-seeds in Michael Barnett (106 lbs.), Bodi Harris (120 lbs.), Jackson Calderaro (215 lbs.) and Spencer Lanosga (285 lbs.).  Harris and Lanosga are defending state champions.  Barnett and Calderaro were runners-up in 2023.  Isaac Orillion and Arthur Schott should be seeded second.  Jose Rincon (126 lbs.), J.P. Webre (132 lbs.) and Harris Treuting (157 lbs.) look to be seeded either third or fourth.  And undoubtedly there will be a rogue Blue Jay who far exceeds his seeding.

Holy Cross and Brother Martin look to battle for the runner-up spot.  The advantage goes to the Tigers, though.  Each squad returns a defending state champion: Nick DiGeralamo (157 lbs.) for the Tigers and Richie Clementi (138 lbs.) for the Crusaders.  Holy Cross has a 2023 runner-up in Gunner Guidry.  The Crusaders have two in Rory Horvath and Ethan Simmons.  Simmons, though, might not be seeded in the top eight at 215 lbs., though.  Expect him to place much better than wherever he is seeded.  The Tigers, though, return three third-place finishers from 2023 in Anthony Oubre (113 lbs.), who was a Crusader in 2023, Vincent  Vidacovich (120 lbs.) and Landon Smith (126 lbs.).  They have three others who stood on the 2023 podium.  The Crusaders only have one wrestler, junior Trey Trainor (120 lbs.), who can say that.  But that should not dishearten Crusader fans.  Matthew Graffagnini (113 lbs.) and Noah Confident (120 lbs.) should both be seeded third in their first state championships.  And while senior Jacob Elsensohn might be seeded fourth, he cannot be written off.  He was kept out of the 2023 state championships due to an injury, but he was seeded second and placed third in 2022.  At 132 lbs. they have undefeated Hunter Chabert.  Chabert has only wrestled 15 matches due to a back injury, but he has won them all.  And they have included wins over the best Catholic, East Ascension and Holy Cross had to offer.

Holy Cross defeated Brother Martin 43-16 in a dual meet on January 3rd, and six Crusader points were from a forfeit.  The Crusaders, though, lost two matches by only three points and one match by one point.  The Tigers should go deeper in the consolation rounds than the Crusaders, but the second-place plaque may be determined by bonus points.

Do not totally write off Ascension Parish, though.  The East Ascension Spartans placed seventh in the Louisiana Classic, which was the highest placement of a Division I public school.  They backed-up that finish with their first Greater Baton Rouge Championships title, outscoring runner-up Dutchtown by 11.5 points and perennial GBR champion Catholic by 24.5 points.  The Griffins might have a chance at the runner-up spot.  At the Jambalaya Cup Dutchtown’s William Mathis moved up to 190 lbs. to wrestle the then undefeated Jacobi Clement.  Mathis won the match, but it was a 14-13 affair.   Mathis has not lost to a Louisiana wrestler at 175 lbs. since December 21st in a 6-5 match he later avenged with a fall.  If Mathis can defeat Clement again, and every other Griffin places four spots ahead of their seeding (which might be a little tough for Cole Gross and Foster Shank) they have a chance.  (I did not do the math, but you know what I mean.)  Mathis and Clement should probably leave each other alone, and then maybe both will hold brackets next Saturday night.


Acadiana sophomore Ozias Gray at 126 lbs.  This young man shares a birthday with Jordan Burroughs.  Yes, Jordan Friggin’ Burroughs!  He has the criteria to be seeded first as his only Louisiana losses were in three efforts against Division II’s Tyson Roach of Sam Houston.  He was injured on December 16th at the Reno Tournament of Champions and did not hit the mats in competition until last Wednesday.  I expect him to be seeded second or third.

Southside junior Kael Reaux at 120 lbs.  Reaux could be seeded first also as he is undefeated in Louisiana.  His record, though, is only 7-0 as he was injured in early December.  One is supposed to have 10 matches to be seeded, but that rule has been overlooked often.  Defending Division I state champion Bodi Harris of Jesuit will get the top-seed, though, as he has 31 wins and his losses have only come from Roach and out-of-state wrestlers.  The time off of the mats will hurt, but do not make a mistake against this young man.

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Division II

Division II will be fun this year.  Teurlings Catholic remains the favorite to win a fifth consecutive Division II team title, but they are going to be severely tested by the Griffins of North Desoto.  They were initially weakened when Hunter Sharon did not return for his senior season.  Brandt Babineaux (150 lbs.), a 2023 runner-up, fell ill at the Louisiana Classic but he is expected to return for the state championships.  They still have sophomore defending state champions Alex Rozas (120 lbs.) and Braedon Simoneaux (165 lbs.).  Add 2022 state champion and 2023 runner-up Brennan Romero (138 lbs.), 2023 runners-up Daniel Daspit (113 lbs.), Brennan Boyer (132 lbs.) and Kendra James (215 lbs.) and the Rebels remain a daunting team.

The Griffins return two state champions in Dalton Compton (144 lbs.) and Lake Bates (165 lbs.).  2023 runner-up Jacob Kershaw (113 lbs.) was a runner-up at the Louisiana Classic (as was Bates) and the team placed fifth in the event, the highest placing of any public school.  They return six other 2023 placers.

Rummel will give the Rebels and Griffins something about which to worry.  Kaiden Triche (126 lbs.) is a returning state champion.  Dylan Stubbs (132 lbs.), Jake Brandstetter (138 lbs.), Mason Scholl (144 lbs.) and Cameron Gandolfi (157 lbs.) all placed in 2023.  Liam Ritchie or Landon Monica (one of them at 106 lbs.) have had good seasons.  Then there is this freshman Dominic Durham kid at 113 lbs.  He placed fourth at the Louisiana Classic, the highest of any Raider, losing to Kershaw 9-7 and then to a Gilroy kid.  He has defeated Airline’s Logan Olsen, Matthew Graffagnini of Brother Martin, Daspit of TC, Bryce Latino of Lakeshore and Jesuit’s Michael Barnett.  I am partial to Master Durham because he, his older brother Deven and another young man helped move furniture into my daughter’s apartment.  If I am going to get all personal like that, I have to mention Harry Spring at 285 lbs. lest his mother, also a St. Martin’s graduate, post nasty things about me on Facebook.  On that note I must wish the young man who helped me at Office Depot, Zade Colly, (165 lbs.) the best of luck.

We all know Brusly will have an effect on the team championship.  Braylin Poston (106 lbs.) and Beau Rabalais (165 lbs.) should be second seeds.  Cameron Redditt (132 lbs.) may be seeded first over TC’s Brennan Boyer.  Redditt is 10-3 with his losses coming from Division I competition.  And neither he nor Boyer have a common opponent to whom one lost and one won.  This is a team that did not flinch much at all when relegated back to Division II in 2023, as they placed fourth.  One would expect no less from a Jimmy Bible coached team.

Yet the “spoiler” in Division II might be St. Thomas More.  The Cougars have a very solid team.  They finished tied for third among Division II schools at the Louisiana Classic.  Foster Peterson (113 lbs.), Colin Romero (120 lbs.), Jonas Rebstock (126 lbs.), Finley McGill (I mean, how cool of a name is that?! 144 lbs.) and Sawyer Pugh (165 lbs.) are kids that were barely on my RADAR last season (OK – not true of Romero and McGill).  Alex Rozas’ father called me one day to tell me about Master Rebstock. 

Sam Houston is too well known to be a “spoiler.”  Tyson Roach, no doubt, and not only because I got him a t-shirt that says so, knows now that wrestling begins when the clock says “2:00” and “Period 1,” rather than when the clock says “0:20” and “Period 3.” He is on the path to a third state championship and to be the undisputed best wrestler in Louisiana at 126 lbs.  Chevy Coleman (106 lbs.) has only one loss to a Division II wrestler.  Caleb Lavine's three Louisiana losses all came from Brother Martin's Richie Clementi.  Trent Hudson (144 lbs.) should fare well, as should Peyton Miller, who should be seeded second.

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Division III

Shaw is returning seven wrestlers who made the 2023 podium trip.  Three of them, Blake Andre (113 lbs.), Carson Dalton (132 lbs.) and Raymond Howard were runners-up.  Howard, however, does not have any matches listed on TrackWrestling, so it is possible he may not be at the state championships.

The Eagles took a big hit when the only one of their five 2023 finalists who won, Caden Judice, moved to Pennsylvania.  He is currently 18-6 for Bald Eagle High School in Bellefonte, PA, which is smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania.  (Did I just write “smack dab?”)

Basile graduated six seniors from their 2023 squad that lost their bid for a fifth consecutive title by 2.5 points.  Of those six, two were state champions, one placed third in 2023 but won a title in 2022, two placed third and one placed fifth.  That was a hard hit for the Bearcats to withstand, but they did it.

Freshman Logan Bergeron is 21-4 with no losses to Division III competition.  He has wins over both Shaw 106 lb. wrestlers as well as a win over East Ascension’s Holden Wempren and a split with Sam Houston’s Chevy Coleman.  He is joined by 2023 runner-up Patrick Fontenot (113 lbs.) and placers Kye Smith (120 lbs.), Tucker Leblanc (150 lbs.), Jackson Courville (157 lbs.) and Scott Berzas (215 lbs.).

Hannan is ranked third on RankWrestlers, followed by John Curtis.  The Falcons beat the Patriots 39-24 on November 21st, but that is still football season for John Curtis (and also for St. Martin’s – it is amazing that the Saints still get better after I quit playing football in 1979).  Only six matches were contested, so that is not a very good barometer of how the teams rank against each other.

John Curtis returns seven wrestlers who stood on the podium in 2023.  One, Anthony Smith, stood on the very top.  They also have Brandon Dang, who I believe lost a wrestle-off by a point last season.  Dang is undefeated versus Division III competition.  Hannan is returning five who placed in 2023.  Their best bet for a championship is probably senior Joel Marchand at 215 lbs.  He finished third in 2023.

Keep an eye on De la Salle’s Dylan Duvernay (120 lbs.).  The senior will be favored to win his third Division III state championship. 

And I will mention this only once more.  Graham Montet of St. Louis (190 lbs.) was a state champion in 2022 and finished third in 2023.  He is 15-0 this season and that record includes a 3-1 win over Anthony Smith of John Curtis.

If y'all are going to read this you deserve at least one photograph.  But going through the state championship folders and getting photos of the individuals I mentioned above would have taken way too long.  Instead, in honor of the upcoming Super Bowl, I offer the picture to the left.

That is Len Dawson, the NFL Hall of Fame quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, smoking a cigarette at halftime of Super Bowl I in 1967.  Between his feet is a bottle of Fresca.  The Chiefs lost this game to the Green Bay Packers 35-10.  In Super Bowl IV, held in New Orleans in 1970, Dawson led the Chiefs to a 23-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings.  Dawson was voted the MVP of that game.


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