Practice and preparation will sum up the next week for the Brusly High School wrestling team as the Panthers gear up for their first state title since 2015.
The 51st annual Greater Baton Rouge City Championship marked the traditional final stop for the Panthers before their trip to Bossier City for the state meet Feb. 14 and 15.
In what also seems to be a tradition, Catholic High emerged the winner in what was the fifth consecutive tournament win for the Bears, who finished with 250 points.
BHS racked 105.5 points for the No. 6 spot among 17 schools in the meet. The Panthers emerged the highest-ranked Division III school in the meet, behind five Division I squads.
East Ascension gave CHS a tough fight and finished with 238.5 points, while St. Amant tallied 181, followed by Live Oak (168) and Zachary (158).
The solid finish brought head coach Jimmy Bible hope that the Panthers could pull off their first Division III state title win outside of a New Orleans area arena. It will also mark the final meet in Bossier City before the championship tournament tentatively relocates to the Baton Rouge River Center.
“We won’t miss the long trips, but it would be nice to finish up the run in Bossier City by bringing the title back home to Brusly,” Bible said.
Junior Andrew Trahan won the Outstanding Wrestler Award on the heels of his first-place finish in the 145-lb. division. Fellow junior Brian Amiss – a No. 4 seed – pulled off the surprise win in the 220-lb. bracket for the Panthers.
First-year grappler Josh Westly took the top spot in the 145-lb. class with a pinfall win over Abayami Nelson of Denham Springs.
Senior Calep Balcus placed second in the 132-lb. division.
The Panthers can pull off the win if the grapplers stay healthy put forth their best workouts of the season, Bible said.
“We still have some spots to fill in the smaller classes, and we have to get some of those guys healthy before then,” he said. We have a lot of work to do, but we’re going to give it our all and see where the chips fall.”