The Brusly High School wrestling team weathered the storm of several lean seasons, but optimism has reached a level the program has not seen in years.
The combination of a better turnout, a well-seasoned assistant coach and an experienced squad give longtime head coach Jimmy Bible confidence that the program could recapture its status as one of the state’s elite mat squads.
“It’s a really exciting time for this program,” he said. “We have a bunch of kids coming out and it looks like we will be getting some from football, so we’re in a good position this year.”
Bible has been busy with the football program during the fall, but the addition of assistant coach Herb Juneau – former head coach of the Central High School wrestling program – has helped in the months leading into the season.
“He’s done really well, and he’s been able to guide a lot of these kids along the way,” Bible said.
Two grapplers return to action after winning gold medals in state competition earlier this year in Bossier City.
Senior Calep Balcuns will compete in the 138-lb. weight class and Andrew Trahan will wrestle in the 145-lb. division.
Trahan is part of a large junior team that also includes Karl Keyser (120) Mark Martinez (126), Austin Persinger (152), Aaron Couty (195), Brian Amis and Trent Bowers.
“Those guys are all part of that strong freshman class we talked about two years ago,” Bible said. “They’ve come a long way, but this year is when they have to put up or shut up. We’re looking for a big year.”
Keyser, Couty and Persinger all finished first at a meet last weekend in Kenner, while Balcuns had to settle for second after an injury in the championship match. He is expected to resume action this week.
The Panthers were set to compete in a dual meet Nov. 20 at Plaquemine High and Dutchtown on Saturday, Nov. 23. BHS will participate in the Catholic High-Baton Rouge Duals after the Thanksgiving break.
“We’re really excited about this season,” Bible said. “We have a bunch of kids and we have our coaching crew back, so we’re ready to see what we can do.”