Brusly did not win the Division III state title at the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl/Louisiana High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships last weekend, but the young team is headed the right direction, coach Jimmy Bible said.

The Panthers finished the two-day season finale at Century Link Center with a third-place finish, including three wrestlers in the championship round and first-place wins in two divisions, which gave the veteran Panther coach high hopes about the upcoming seasons.

Basile, the early favorite, lived up to its predictions with a championship win, with 282 points for the trophy. St. Louis took second with 224.5, while Brusly had 193.5 points for third.

Church Point (120), Evangel (92), De La Salle (84), Kaplan (74), Lakeside (73) and North Vermillion (73) rounded out the top 10.

Sophomore Andrew Trahan won the title in the 132-lb. division with a pinfall win over Hunter Langley of Basile at the 2:42 mark, while junior Calep Balcuns claimed the gold in the 138-lb. bracket with a win over Salvador Diaz of South Plaquemines.

For Balcuns, it was a matter leaving the past behind.

“The championship round was a little nerve-racking because I was there my freshman year and lost, but I reminded myself it was all about the team,” he said. “I feel we’ve had a big improvement since last year, and I see us being in the running for the title next year.”

Trahan won the title during his first appearance in the finals, after a fourth-place

“It was very important to all of us to get to the finals,” he said. “The whole team improved this year and I had to work all year to get to this.”

Trahan had wrestled Langley in the third-place match last year.

Junior Kaden Gillikin notched runner-up in the 106-lb. division when Timothy Routon of Church Point won on a 9-5 decision.

Third-place finishes included Matthew Anderson (145) and Brian Amis (220). Kaul Kayser took fourth in the 120-lb. division.

Fifth-place finishers were Destin Woods (113), Marc Martinez (126) and Dainta Heard (160). Kade Lang took sixth in the 195-lb. bracket.

The meet marked a far cry from the 2018 event when the Panthers did not land any grapplers into the finals.

“We were a predominately freshman team last year and the competition was extremely tough,” Bible said. “It was a huge accomplishment for us to finish fifth in those conditions.

“I’m proud of what our kids did this year,” he said. “We worked hard throughout the year, and this largely sophomore team will be coming back as juniors next year, so they will have a lot more experience, and perhaps we can make a run for the championship.”   

Elsewhere, Brother Martin edged Holy Cross to win Division I, while Jesuit, Catholic-BR and St. Pauls rounded out the top five.

Parkway and Teurlings Catholic finished first and second, respectively, in Division II. North Desoto, Live Oak and Archbishop comprised the remainder of the top five.

TOURNAMENT NOTES … Tournament attendance was down considerably, due partially to the distance as well as icy road conditions on I-20 and I-49 Friday and early Saturday. The Louisiana High School Athletic Association may consider a new site for the 2020 meet – possibly Baton Rouge – which would allow a shorter drive for schools in the traditional hotbeds, including the Capitol Area, New Orleans and Lafayette. The decision will likely come this summer.

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