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Three parish wrestlers win state titles

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Three Bossier Parish wrestlers won championships Saturday night in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Tournament at the CenturyLink Center.

Airline junior Christian Walden and Parkway senior Nathan Pitts won for the second straight year. Walden captured the Division I 160-pound division and Pitts took the Division II 152-pound title.

Walden and Pitts were No. 1 seeds and thus expected to win. Parkway’s Garrett Strozier wasn’t. Strozier, the No. 4 seed, upset top-seeded Cooper Simon of Rayne 10-4 in the semifinals after winning his first two matches by fall.

In the tight championship match, Strozier took a 5-4 decision over No. 2 Brandon Willis of Archbishop Rummel.

Strozier had a 5-2 lead in the third period. Willis scored two points in the final 15 seconds, but Strozier held him off. He jumped and raised his hands in the air when it was over.

Walden dominated his division. He pinned his first three opponents, including a 48-second victory over Brother Martin’s Brad Guidry in the semifinals. Walden defeated No. 2 Jacob Fereday of Baton Rouge Catholic 9-5 in the finals. He finished the season with a record of 49-1.

For the second straight year, Pitts used a Jones move to win his finals match. He and No. 2 Brad Albarado were locked in a 1-1 struggle late in the third period. With less than 20 seconds to go, Pitts used the move to score two points for the 3-1 win.

Pitts, who finished the season 34-1, pinned his first three opponents. In the semifinals, he stopped No. 4 Trevor Gunter of Carencro in 3:05.

Three parish wrestlers finished as state runners-up — Airline’s JuJu Jones (Division I 126 pounds), Haughton’s D.J. Monroe (Division II 195) and Haughton’s Johnny Vanveckhoven (Division II 220).

Jones, the No. 1 seed, fell to No. 2 Eli Larrivierre 14-2 in the finals after edging Beau Bush of Holy Cross 5-2 in the semifinals. He finished 46-4.

Monroe, the No. 3 seed, upset No. 2 Austin Gary of Carencro 7-5 in the semifinals. He was pinned by top-seeded Kynan Sonnier of Teurlings Catholic in 3:13 in the finals.

Vanveckhoven, the No. 2 seed, pinned his first two opponents. In the finals, he was pinned in 3:36 by No. 1 Robert Hudgins of Rummel.

Airline’s Joshua Partin (Division I 132), Airline’s Tony Lococo (Division I 145), Parkway’s Trevor Tamburo (Division II 120), Benton’s Jordan Myles (Division II 170) and Benton’s Chander Beach (Division II 220) all posted third-place finishes in their respective divisions.

Beach and Myles had especially good tournaments. Both came in as No. 7 seeds.

Beach pinned No. 3 Anthony Ingram of Live Oak in 2:36 in the quarterfinals before falling to Vanveckhoven in the semifinals by fall. He pinned Ingram again in the third-place match in 2:34.

After losing to No. 2 seed D’Anta Anderson of Huntington in the quarterfinals, Myles upset No. 4 Tyler Carriere of Rayne in the consolation semifinals and No. 3 Charles Bowah of Tara in the finals.

Lococo and Tamburo also finished higher than their No. 4 seeds.

Airline’s Keegan Gilligan, the No. 1 seed in the Division I 182-pound division, lost a tough 6-5 decision in the first round. But he came back to win five matches in the consolation bracket before falling to Travis Viener of Brother Martin 4-2 in the finals.

Parkway’s Matthew Pitts finished fourth at 126 pounds in Division II. Other parish wrestlers reaching the awards stand were Haughton’s Dylan Holliday (fifth, Division II 120), Parkway’s Levar Allen (fifth, Division II 160), Parkway’s Dalton Driggers (sixth, Division II 138) and Bossier’s Abraham Morales (sixth, Division II 220).

Airline finished seventh in Division I with 152 points, improving one spot from a year ago. Parkway finished sixth in Division II with 167.5 points. Haughton was 11th with 90, Benton 14th with 78 and Bossier 17th with 53.

Brother Martin won its 18th Division I title and fifth in a row with 304.5 points. Jesuit was second with 268.

Teurlings Catholic won its fifth Division II title in the last six years with 261.5 points. Live Oak finished runner-up with 237.0.

Attendance at the two-day tournament was 13,342.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com