Brusly’s Jimmy Bible and other Louisiana high school wrestling aim to host at least the state championship meet in February after state health officials received more than 20 reports of positive cases they pinpointed to a recent meet in Gonzales.
The Louisiana Department of Health reported that athletes, staff and attendees tested positive after the event. Bible did not fully dispute the LDH report, but he said COVID-19 is widespread across Louisiana and throughout the nation.
“Could we have done things differently? I think so,” he said. “It was the first big tournament of the year because before that we were only doing smaller ones just to get a season in.”
He received news of the outbreak Friday, Jan. 22, six days after the tournament – the same day the LDH made the public announcement.
No members of the Brusly wrestling squad who wrestled in the meet at the Gonzales Lamar-Dixon Expo Center have contracted COVID-19, as of 10 days after the meet, Bible said.
“I had all my kids in one spot, we would go to the mat and wrestle for six to seven minutes and go back to our spot … we wouldn’t go around anybody else,” he said.
Bible took exception at the LDH classifying the event a “super spreader” when only 20 cases stemmed from the meet. A total of 1,300 people – athletes, coaches and spectators – attended over the two days of competition.
The rest of the season
Bible and other coaches hope to hold at least the state meet and possibly the Baton Rouge City Wrestling Tournament, which will be held at Feb. 5 and 6 at Brusly High School.
Only wrestlers and coaches will be admitted into the city meet. The regional and championship rounds will be streamed online, he said.
The Panthers were set to compete this weekend in the Ken Cole Classic in Lafayette, but organizers of that tournament have since narrowed the field of competitors to the Acadiana/Lake Charles region.
Another plan would call for elimination of all meets prior to the state title tournament. Cancelation of those meets would lessen the risk of a state order to scrap the state meet, Bible said.
“If any other cases arise, the state will shut it down and they won’t be able to have any tournaments the remainder of the season,” he said. “That might be the choice going forward.”