A stronger showing than last year in the Baton Rouge City Championship wrestling meet gave Brusly coach Jimmy Bible hope his team may have a fighting chance on the state level.
The Panthers finished with 119 points for a sixth-place finish at the meet and emerged as the highest ranked Division III squat in the event.
Calep Balcuns captured the sole first place award for the Panthers with a pinfall win over Peter Kelly of Catholic High, which emerged the tournament champion. St. Amant, Zachary, East Ascension and Live Oak rounded out the Top 5.
Brian Amis garnered second in the 220-pound. class after a loss at the 3:14 mark against Zachary’s Wes Brady, while Andrew Trahan took runner-up in the finals. Teammate Mark Martinez placed third.
“We probably could’ve done a bit better, but we’re about where we need to be now, for the most part,” Bible said. “Basile and St. Louis are probably the two top teams in our division this year, and I think we have an outside chance of hopefully winning this if we wrestle up to our potential, but we have to come ready to wrestle.”
The Panthers head to Bossier City on Feb. 8 and 9 for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Championship at CenturyLink Arena, where they will hope to move past a dismal showing last year in which they did not qualify any grapplers for the finals.
“We’re a lot better than we were last year, although it will be tough to unseat St. Louis or Basille – both are really good,” Bible said. “But, it’s all depending on how hard we work between now and the tournament.”