Two parish wrestlers win titles at state meet
It had been more than a month since the high-school wrestling season was halted due to a COVID-19 outbreak stemming from the Louisiana Classic tournament.
Teams from across the state were back in action over the weekend as they converged on the Raising Cane's River Center in Baton Rouge to compete in the LHSAA State Wrestling Tournament.
East Ascension didn't miss a beat. The Spartans put forth an amazing performance that saw two of its wrestlers take home state championships.
This led to East Ascension finishing third in Division I. This was the school's best finish since 2005, when it also finished third, but in Division II.
It was a historic performance by the Spartans. Their third-place finish was the highest by a public school in Division I since 1999. Also, their 217.5 points were the most ever by a public school at the Division-I state meet.
Leading the charge for East Ascension were Brad Mahoney and Gavin Soniat.
Mahoney took home the 170-pound state title as he pinned Baton Rouge's Kade Moran in one minute and 43 seconds.
Mahoney finished the year with a perfect 50-0 record.
Soniat, who is also a first-team all-district performer for the East Ascension football team, won the 285-pound state title. Soniat pinned Jesuit's Spencer Lanosga in one minute and 19 seconds.
It was an extra-sweet victory for Soniat after what happened at last year's state meet. Soniat made it to the championship match, but he was forced to compete with a fractured hip. He had to settle for state runner-up.
There were other strong performances by East Ascension.
At 132 pounds, Austin Sharpley finished fifth. At 138, Jamarius Koshko finished third. At 152 pounds, Josiah Wakefield finished fourth. At 160, Santos Ramos placed third. Finally, at 182 pounds, Brennan Bennett finished in fourth.
The only teams to finish ahead of East Ascension were Holy Cross in second and St. Paul's, who took the Division-I championship. It was the school's first wrestling state title since 2001.
But East Ascension wasn't the only parish team to perform well at the meet. Dutchtown placed ninth, and St. Amant landed at No. 14.
For the Griffins, Cole Mire placed fourth at 113 pounds. Hiram Blanchard finished in sixth at 120. Also placing sixth was Ethan Reyna at 152 and Kaiden Keller at 170.
St. Amant's top performer was Jase Chenevert, who placed fourth at 132 pounds. Jaden Snyder finished fifth at 145.