Last year, the Parkway Panthers finished sixth in Division II in the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA State Wrestling Tournament.
Parkway coach Emmett Beggs believes his team has a shot to do a lot better this year and even make a run at the title.
“We have a shot this year because this is the deepest team we have had since we won it last back in 2006,” Beggs said in an e-mail message.
“We have individual state champions every year but that’s not what wins team titles. It’s the other guys doing their part placing third through sixth. We feel we have those guys the next few years. It would mean a lot to South Bossier and North Louisiana wrestling to bring the DII title back to its home and to do it in Bossier would make it extra special.”
The 2017 state tournament gets underway Friday and concludes Saturday. It will be held at the CenturyLink Center for the second straight year.
Friday’s opening session starts at 9 a.m. The second session begins at 4 p.m.
Saturday’s first session starts at 8 a.m. The final session of the tournament, which includes championship matches, will start at 6:30 p.m.
The defending champions are New Orleans Brother Martin (Division I), Lafayette Teurlings Catholic (Division II) and New Orleans De La Salle (Division III).
Parkway has nine wrestlers who have won 30 or more matches this season — Trevor Tamburo, Joshua Keeler, Darryl Nicholas Jr., Ryan Huckaby, Trey Fontenot, Toby Fontenot, Matthew Pitts, Dalton Driggers, Zachary Harper, Kaleb Garcia and Carson Sanders.
Tamburo finished third in the 120-pound division last year. He has moved up to the 132-pound class and is the top seed. Pitts is the No. 1 seed at 138. Huckaby (152) and Driggers (160) are seeded second in their respective weight classes. Harper is No. 3 at 113 and Trey Fontenot No. 4 at 126.
The tournament will mark the swan song for Airline senior Christian Walden, who goes into the event with a 45-0 record.
Walden won the 160-pound title last season and is looking for his third straight state championship. He is the top seed.
Walden is one of five Airline wrestlers who have won 40 or more matches. The others are Dakota Brace, Joshua Partin, Darrell Evans and Matt Salinas.
Salinas is the No. 2 seed at 195 pounds. Brace (106), Evans (182), Partin (138) and Thomas Barringer (126) are seeded fourth in their respective divisions.
Airline finished seventh in a tough Division I last season. Division I has traditionally been dominated by New Orleans private schools.
Holy Cross and Jesuit finished 2-3 behind Brother Martin last year.
The Vikings added the Bossier Parish Championships title on Friday to their District 1-5A and regional titles.
Haughton’s DJ Monroe and Johnny VanVeckhoven posted runner-up finishes in Division II last year and should contend again this year. Monroe is the No. 2 seed at 195.
Benton’s Jordan Myles, third last year at Division II 170, is also a threat to win. The undefeated Myles is the No. 2 seed at 170.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com