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Crunch Time

Written by John Dupont on .

BHS Invitational puts state title quest in high gear for Panthers

BHS-WRESTLING-edited

The Brusly wrestling team knows business is about to pick up when the ball drops for the New Year.

The Panthers move into high gear for the state title hunt when they host the Brusly Invitational on Saturday at Brusly High School.

Approximately 20 teams will compete in the annual tournament

The tournament gives the Panthers a solid opportuntiy in competition as the meet leads into the Louisiana Classic, Kent Cole Classic, Baton RougeCity Meet and the LHSAA state champoinship meet, set for Feb. 16 in Kenner.

“We should be alright,” Brusly assistant coach Barrett Wlson said. “We don’t go up against a lot of Division IIIopponents, so we go into this one not sure what everybody else has got.”

Wilson sees John Curtis, Basile, Rayne, Bosier and Grand Lake as the top prospects in the tournament.

The invitatioal allows the Panthers their first glimpse against opponents they may face at the state meet.

“This is where we move into peak season, and to see where we stand against everyone else,” Wilson said. “The Division III teams are so spread out, so we usually find ourselves against a lot of Division I schools, so we use this event to gauge what we have going into the bigger events.”

The BHS meet gives coaches and wrestlers an idea where they should focus as they head into the state meet, assistant coach Rodney Sutherland said.

“The next five tournaments are among the most five important of the year,” he said. “This is crunch time, but we’re concentrating on Brusly first.”

The BHS tourney will mark the first time this season the Panthers bring a full team into action, he said.

“We should have everybody in spots,” he said. “A lot of flu has been going around, and we’ve had injuries here and there, but we’re excited about being able to put everybody on the mat.”

Top competitors this year will include junior Trevor Schemer, a two-time state champion; junior Barrett Sanchez, who won his first state title last season; junior Wyatt LeJeune, a 2012 state runner-up and sophomore Koby Mancuso, who finished sixth in last year’s state tourney.

Among those missing from this year’s roster are three-time champ Jacob Haydel and four-time titlist Austin Schermer.

“It’s going to be hard to wrestle without my brother because nobody pushes me like he does,”Trevor Schermer said. “But he’s going to be there Saturday for crunch time.”

Sanchez said he feels no extra pressure this year.

“I’m just coming back, trying to repeat,”he said. “I’m just trying to keep my nerves down right now. Igot out there and think about winning for the team.”

Mancuso has another motiviation going into the meet.

“I want to win state, just like my dad (Kirk Mancuso) did,” he said. “We’re all going into this with the same goal: We want to get rolling so we can get the best start possible for state.”

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