Louisiana high school wrestling regular season shut down until state tournament
The LHSAA has shut down the remainder of the regular season for wrestling in Louisiana with the goal to still hold the state championship meet in late February.
Executive Director Eddie Bonine sent out a memo today to schools after conferring with officials.
Just to be clear the LHSAA is ending the wrestling regular season, per a memo to schools. Idea is to limit exposure and rolling quarantines ahead of the LHSAA state tourney set for Feb. 25-26 at the Raising Canes River Center. @AdvocateSports pic.twitter.com/mAktVLl2aC
— Robin Fambrough (@FambroughAdv) January 26, 2021
Bonine will address the media on the topic Wednesday morning.
The state championships are scheduled for the Raising Cane’s River Center Feb. 26-27 in Baton Rouge.
The decision to shut things down came after an outbreak of COVID-19 following the Louisiana Classic event in Gonzales Jan. 15-16.
“Honestly, I think it’s a great decision,” St. Paul’s coach Matt Pinero said. “It is the right move, given the circumstances. We were probably going to do it, anyway, whether it was mandated it or not. Most teams in the state, at this point, have gotten through the bulk of their schedules. We are all focused on the one goal, to give the kids the opportunity at state.”
Rummel coach Rod Cusachs respects the decision as well.
“If it is going to save our season and save the state tournament, I’m all for it,” Cusachs said. “As long as we can have the state tournament, that is most important. I understand it. Is wrestling another dual meet more important than wrestling in a state tournament? Of course not. This is the best thing in a difficult situation and we all hope for the best.”
Brother Martin coach Andrew Nicola recognizes the pluses and minuses.
“We cannot wrestle until the first,” Nicola. “I am initially bummed out, especially for the younger kids on our team who had not had an opportunity to compete and now they will not. That means upwards of 100 kids will not get a chance to compete the rest of the year. I’m glad we are taking the necessary precautions to ensure that we have a state tournament. I’m genuinely concerned about our youth program not getting an opportunity to compete. You have to take the positives where you can get them. I told the directors at the tournament that there were hundreds of people without masks.”
Shaw coach Brandon Surrency accepts the decision but notes the issues associated with it.
“It’s sad for the wrestling community but it is important to have a state tournament for these young men,” Surrency said. “It will be challenging. I have starters who have not wrestled a match yet because of the late start to the season. It will be tricky to keep kids sharp and motivated not competing for a month, to manage weight and academics.”
Sheridan Moran of Jesuit concurs with the decision but believes in the sport and its ability to carry on safely.
“It’s a decision that was hard and probably the right decision, given the circumstances,” Moran said. “I don’t think it was anything at a tournament except for people not abiding by the rules that produced COVID. I understand keeping everyone as safe as possible. The tournament (Louisiana Classic) was run right and our sport has been run correctly all season long. It is a great teaching opportunity for the young wrestlers to let the young men know that life is not always fair and that we must put our faith in God and in the process of wrestling to get to the state tournament.”
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