The Airline Vikings won the District 1-5A wrestling championships with victories over Evangel Christian and Parkway on Wednesday night at Parkway.
Airline, the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 4 Evangel 72-12 in the semifinals and No. 1 Parkway 54-27 in the finals. Parkway defeated No. 3 Byrd 69-12 in the semifinals.
This is the first year a district tournament has been held.
Airline’s winners against Parkway were Dakota Brace (106), Peyton Bass (112), Thomas Barringer (126 pounds), Joshua Partin (138), Christian Walden (160), Darrell Evans (182), Matt Salinas (195), Alex Davila (220) and Jamarcus Gay (285).
Parkway’s winner were Darryl Nicholas Jr. (120), Trevor Tamburo (132), Ryan Huckaby (145), Toby Fontenot (15 2) and Carson Sanders (170).
All but two matches were decided by fall. One was a forfeit. The other was Tamburo’s 7-5 decision over Tucker Almond, easily the most competitive of the 13.
Airline’s winners against Evangel were Brace, Bass, Tyler Eckman (120), Barringer, Almond, Partin, Josh Frankin (145), Walden, Joseph Hunter III (170), Evans, Salinas and Davila.
Parkway’s winners against Byrd were Joshua Keeler (106), Elias PeBenito (113), Nicholas, Andrew Tamburo (126), Trevor Tamburo, Matthew Pitts (138), Huckaby, Fontenot, Sanders, Kaleb Garcia (182), Miguel Espino (220) and Brandon Nelson (285).
Byrd defeated Evangel 47-29 for third place.
Airline will be looking for its fourth straight Northwest Louisiana Regional Tournament title on Saturday at Parkway. Matches start at 9:30 a.m.
Walden, a two-time state champion and All-American, was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the upper weight classes last year. According to the wrestling website trackwrestling.com, Walden is 39-0 this season.
Other returning regional champs from Bossier Parish include Almond and Haughton’s Johnny VanVeckhoven. Returning runners-up include Parkway’s Trey Fontenot, Barringer, Partin, Benton’s Jordan Myles and Haughton’s DJ Monroe.
According to trackwrestling.com, Airline has eight other wrestlers who have won 30 or more matches this season — Salinas (40-5), Evans (42-6), Partin (40-12), Brace (38-8), Bass (32-11), Barringer (33-17), Davila (31-20) and Almond (30-16).
Parkway has eight wrestlers with 30 or more victories — Huckaby (35-2), Dalton Driggers (36-3), Pitts (33-4), Zachary Harper (33-7), Nicholas (33-8), Trey Fontenot (34-7), Sanders (31-10) and Garcia (32-12).
Keeler is 28-14, Toby Fontenot 29-8, Trevor Tamburo 22-4 and Andrew Tamburo 20-7.
Haughton’s Monroe is 25-5. VanVeckhoven is 12-3.
Benton’s Myles, who missed the first part of the season with a football injury, is 14-0.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Wrestling State Tournament is Feb. 10-11 at the CenturyLink Center.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org