Local Catholic schools add wrestling, soccer to list of early successes
As the 2014-15 school year enters its spring season, it has already been a successful run for local Catholic schools.
With Brother Martin clinching its fourth consecutive Division I wrestling title on Feb. 21, the championship count through fall and winter sports is six ... with two more in the bag after this weekend.
The championship run began with Mount Carmel defeating Baton Rouge nemesis St. Joseph’s Academy in three games for the Division I volleyball crown.
Jesuit then not only won the Select Division I football title – its first since 1960 – but added the boys’ cross country trophy as well, with Brother Martin finishing second.
The Academy of the Sacred Heart was the Class 3A girls’ cross country champion, and St. Scholastica annexed the Division II girls’ swimming title.
Brother Martin’s wrestlers, behind gold-medal performances by Steven Shields, Yehia Riles and the incomparable Paul Klein, outpointed Jesuit and a field of 30 other schools to retain its Division I Brother Melchior trophy.
And two Catholic schools’ soccer teams will add more glory to successful fall and winter seasons when Mount Carmel and St. Scholastica vie for the Division I girls’ title, followed by Jesuit taking on St. Paul’s in the boys’ championship match at Tad Gormley Stadium on Feb. 28.
Wrestling to Bossier City?
It’s possible that the high school wrestling tournament has outgrown the Pontchartrain Center.
And it is probable that Bossier City, which hosted one previous state mat tournament, will try to get the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to move the 2016 tournament to Century Links Arena.
Two representatives from that northwest Louisiana city attended last week’s tournament in Kenner with that intention.
And the LHSAA may be receptive to making the move even though wrestling is hardly the most popular high school sport in that corner of the state. The Pontchartrain Center can hardly seat the capacity crowd that attends this event.
What’s worse is the fact that the LHSAA officials who ran this year’s matches were not pleased with the lack of security around the awards podium, which enabled parents and other unauthorized people from crowding the area to take photographs.
The promoters from Bossier want to use the tournament to encourage more schools to add wrestling as a sport. I have to say the facilities at Century Links are much better than those in Kenner, but shouldn’t the LHSAA take into consideration that 90 percent of the state’s top prep wrestling teams are along I-10 and not I-20?
They didn’t under departed executive director Kenny Henderson’s watch when he and the executive comittee sent basketball to the antiquated Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles in 2014.
Moving wrestling 320 miles north makes as little sense as moving volleyball out of the I-10 corridor.
But the Pontchartrain Center isn’t getting any larger.
Klein completes career
For the past four years, Paul Klein of Brother Martin has epitomized high school wrestling at the state’s highest level. He ended his fabulous career with a career record of 65-8.
The majority of his defeats have come in out-of-state tournaments.
Klein overcame an in-match injury to defeat Holy Cross’ Joey Foret for the 132-pound title.
We are the champions!
Jesuit Div. I 106
Bro. Martin Div. I 113
Jesuit Div. I 120
Holy Cross Div. I 126
Abp. Shaw Div. II 126
De La Salle Div. III 132
Holy Cross Div. I 138
Holy Cross Div. I 152
Abp. Rummel Div. I 160
Holy Cross Div. I 170
Bro. Martin Div. I 182
Jesuit Div. I 285