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Five parish wrestlers claim state titles

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Five wrestlers from Bossier Parish schools won state titles Saturday night as the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Wrestling Tournament came to a close at the CenturyLink Center.

Airline’s Christian Walden and Matt Salinas won Division I championships. Parkway’s Trey Fontenot and Trevor Tamburo and Haughton’s Johnny VanVeckhoven won Division II titles.

Parkway finished third in Division II with 220.5 points. The Panthers finished only 23 points behind champion Lafayette Teurlings Catholic and 5.5 behind runner-up New Orleans Archbishop Rummel. Teurlings Catholic won its sixth title in the last seven years.

Airline finished fifth in Division I. The Vikings scored 172 points. New Orleans Holy Cross ended New Orleans Brother Martin’s five-year reign with 305 points. New Orleans Jesuit was second with 298.5 followed by Brother Martin (277) and Mandeville St. Paul’s (178).

Airline and Parkway were the top public schools in their respective divisions.

New Orleans De La Salle repeated as Division III champion with 252 points. Brusly was runner-up with 216.5.

Airline’s Walden, the No. 1 seed, closed his brilliant high school career in style. He needed only one minute, four seconds to pin No. 2 seed William Rosevally of Jesuit in the 160-pound title match.

According to trackwrestling.com, Walden finished his senior campaign 45-0.

The second-seeded Salinas, a junior who was unable to compete last year because of an injury, battled top-seeded Trevon Honor of Hahnville for two-plus rounds in the 195-pound finals. He was leading in points when he managed to pin Honor with 42 seconds left.

Parkway’s Fontenot, the No. 4 seed, upset No. 2 Mason Middleton of Live Oak by a 12-4 major decision in the 126-pound finals. Earlier in the day, the sophomore defeated top-seed Morgan Manuel of Rayne 8-6 via the ultimate tiebreaker.

Tamburo, the No. 1 seed, won a dramatic 8-7 decision over No. 2 Tyler Fontenot of Central-Baton Rouge in the 132-pound finals. The two were tied at 7 as the match was winding down. Tamburo, a junior, scored the decisive point with an escape move with just two seconds remaining.

VanVeckhoven, the No. 4 seed, took only 37 seconds to pin No. 2 Gabe Duplechain of Carencro in the 285-pound finals. Earlier in the day, VanVeckhoven pinned top-seeded Miles Santiago of Teurlings Catholic.

VanVeckhoven, a senior, jumped into the arms of junior teammate Daniel “DJ” Monroe after the victory.

About 20 minutes earlier, Monroe, the No. 2 seed, lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to No. 1 Tyler Carriere of Rayne in the 195-pound finals. It was tied at 2 most of the match, but Carierre was able to score in the final 15 seconds to pull out the win.

Parkway’s Dalton Driggers, the No. 2 seed, also lost a tough championship match. The junior fell to No. 4 Martin Garrett of New Orleans Archbishop Shaw by a 7-3 decision at 160 pounds.

Parkway’s Zachary Harper (113), Darryl Nicholas Jr. (120) and Matthew Pitts (138) posted third-place finishes in their respective weight classes. Ryan Huckaby (fifth, 152), Toby Fontenot (sixth, 145) and Carson Sanders (sixth, 170) all made it to the award stand.

Airline’s Darrell Evans finished fourth in the Division I 182-pound division. Peyton Bass (113) and Thomas Barringer (126) posted sixth-place finishes.

Benton’s Haydon Shankle (132) and Jordan Myles finished fourth in their respective Division II classes. Both lost very close third-place matches.

This was the second year in a row the event was held at the CenturyLink Center. Total attendance for the two-day event was 11,073. That’s about 2,100 less than 2016, but about 200 fewer wrestlers competed this year.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com