KENNER – The Brusly High wrestling team endured its share of close finishes at state meets over the year.
It didn’t happen that way in the 2013 event.
Brusly coasted to the Division III state title Saturday at the State Farm/Louisiana High School Athletic Association Championship Tournament at the Pontchartrain Center.
A 212.4-point and a 43-point advantage over North Vermillion in the semi-final round paved the way for Brusly to bring home its ninth championship in the last 10 years.
It also marked the 10th title win under head coach Jimmy Bible.
“We’ve had things going our way like this a couple of times over the years,” he said. “It gets to a point you can let the kids relax and not worry about the team — just go out there, turn loose and wrestle.”
The strong showing came as a pleasant surprise for Bible.
“To tell you the truth, for this team this year to win the state championship means a lot because if you saw us at the beginning of the year, we were pretty bad,” he said. “A lot of freshmen, not a lot of numbers, but the kids worked hard and it paid off in the end.
“We wrestled with a lot of freshmen and sophomores. Our upper-class leadership was great this year, so everything had to come together for us to do as good as we did,” Bible said. “We got second in the city, and I didn’t think that would happen. I thought we’d finish somewhere in the top five, but fortunately they came to wrestle.”
BHS sealed the championship with wins in two of its four qualifying divisions.
Junior grappler Trevor Schermer captured his third consecutive title in so many years, while fellow junior Wyatt LeJeune bagged his first title for the Panthers.
Schemer (42-4) won in the 132-lb. division after an 18-2 decision over Oscar Telles of Bossier.
“I was trying to get the pin, but I was cramping up and couldn’t work anything,” he said. “This year, I figure it was more competition than last year, but altogether working hard paid off in the end.”
The meet marked LeJeune’s first-ever championship win in any tournament.
LeJeune won on a 7-3 count over Kelby Comeaux of South Cameron in the 120-lb. classification.
The win came one year after LeJeune lost in the last seconds of the 2012 finals. He used last year’s match to motivate him.
“This time, I was just going at it hard as I can,” he said. ”I didn’t go over my head or underestimate anyone. My opponent came out ready to wrestle.
“It feels really good,” LeJeune said. “I hope to do it again next year.”
Schermer got his share of coaching from another mentor – his older brother Austin, who won four state titles at BHS.
Trevor said he wanted to continue the tradition his brother started in the 2009 meet.
Austin said Trevor asked him to sit along the mat when he wrestled.
“He told me he listens to me more than he does the coaches,” Austin Schermer said. “That’s why he tells me he wants me on the mat.”
Koby Mancuso and Barret Sanchez each finished second for BHS.
Mancuso came up short on a 4-0 decision against Alex Martin of DeLaSalle in the 152-lb. division. Mancuso placed sixth at the 2012 meet.
Sanchez – who won a state title last year – lost by pinfall at 3:46 to Raymond Bushnell of Basile.
“It was a bump in the road, but I’ll bounce back,” Sanchez said. “I competed hard and I’m proud of our team. We had a very young team and still did very well.”
In other matches, Blayze Olano (160) and Dillon Prejean (170) each placed third. Prejean lost to Basile’s Trenton Pelloquin, whom Prejean defeated at the Brusly Invitational.
Prejean wrestled despite an ankle injury. Pelloquin won the championship in his weight class.
“I had to try to win it for my team,” he said. “But Trent is a great wrestler who deserved the championship – I rooted for him.
“I have two more years,” Prejean said. “Next year, I’ll come out first.”
Fourth place finishers included Don Stufflebeam (138) and Jo’vonte Wheeler (285). Toby Hebert (126) captured fifth and Brandon Bourgoyne (106) placed sixth.
The 2012-13 season moved with gradual progress, Bible said.
“We take the season in thirds, and as each third comes, we try to ratchet it up a bit each time,” he said. “After the Bayou Duals and Brusly Invitational, the kids got better, started to believe they can win matches.”
He still wishes the team would’ve brought home a championship, rather than runner-up, in 2011.
“Nine of ten is a good feeling, but I wish it could’ve been nine in a row or ten in a row” Bible said. “Stuff happens and that year wasn’t our year. But as for this group, I’m proud of them because they stuck together and they came out to wrestle.”
The competition has tightened in recent years, he said.
“Teams are starting to get more kids, and they’re starting to produce,” Bible said. “It makes everyone work harder and makes us better.”
Brother Martin won the Division I title with 339 points, ahead of Jesuit (275) and Catholic (263).
Holy Cross – the 2011 Division III champion – captured the Division II title with 280 points. Teurlings Catholic placed second (238.5) and Live Oak third (218).