Seniors on the 2013-14 Brusly wrestling team do not reminisce fondly about their first year on the team.
This year’s senior class marks the only group the last 11 years who have been part of a BHS mat squad that didn’t win the state title. It happened in 2011 -- and they don’t want it to happen again.
The picture and thoughts of that season provide motivation for the 2013 upperclassmen, who never forgot when Holy Cross snapped Brusly’s seven-year Division III championship streak.
“I don’t want to be a part of a senior class that didn’t win the state title,” three-time state champ Trevor Schermer said. “That sense of pressure carries on to every senior class.”
The 2011 runner-up finish remains a sore subject for this year’s seniors, head coach Jimmy Bible said.
“Not one of our guys smiled in that picture with the runner-up trophy,” he said. “Every year, it’s a matter of not wanting to be the team that ends that streak.”
The team rebounded with state championships in 2012 and last year. With four seniors and a strong crop of grapplers overall, Bible does not expect this year’s team to snap the streak.
A title this season would mark the 10th in the last 11 years under Bible.
“The kids are wrestling well and I’m pleased with where we are,” he said. ”We have a very good system in place, one that the kids know and they follow it with great discipline.”
The Panthers came off a rare weekend off, which gave them time to recoup before they return to the gauntlet.
Brusly heads to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., this weekend for the “Beast at the Beach” tournament.
The Panthers spend the following weekend in Baton Rouge for the Deep South Duals at the River Center.
“That’s fifteen or twenty matches over two weeks, so that will give us plenty of experience,” he said. “If we can keep everyone healthy, we should be fine.”
Schermer will lead a pack of seniors who hope to keep the winning tradition alive.
He heads into the thick of the season after he tore cartilage in his rib cage earlier in the year.
“Other than that, I’ve been pretty healthy, bouncing back from that,” Schermer said. “I’m ready to go back to Florida and get my rematch with James Claitor (of Catholic-Baton Rouge).”
Teammate Wyatt LeJeune hopes to end the season with a second state championship.
“He’s a very good kid … I can’t say enough good about him,” Bible said. “He had come up short by four seconds of winning the state championship his sophomore year, and came back to win it last year. He’s a great worker.”
Baret Sanchez, a champ his sophomore year and runner-up in 2013, also heads back into action, while Noah Landry has returned to the fold after his family returned to Brusly after a year in Mandeville.
“You’ll have four seniors who are pretty tough,” Bible said. “We have a good group of kids leading our senior class.”
Bible also has high hopes for junior Koby Mancuso, who finished state runner-up last year, as well as 2013 breakout grappler Dylan Prejean and Kendon-Lee Kayser, a first year competitor who won his first two meets this season.
Ja’Vonte Wheeler, who anchors the super heavyweight division, should also make an impact.
“He’s worked very hard and he did a lot during the off-season.”
Other potential standouts include Deontre Dorsey, Donald Johnson, Austin Franklin, Owen Mabile and Richard Hunter.
“Those guys might push for a starting spot this year,” Bible said.