Holy Cross captures own tournament championship

NEW ORLEANS — If Saturday’s Tigers Division II Duals allowed teams to measure their abilities before next month’s state Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament, meet host Holy Cross is primed for another run at a team title.

The Tigers went undefeated at their home tournament, notching head-to-head wins against St. Louis of Lake Charles, Live Oak-Watson, Parkway-Shreveport and Shaw-Marrero. Five HC wrestlers won all four matches.

“Every match that we wrestled was for a seed at the state meet,” Holy Cross coach Eric Desormeaux said. “The seeding for this year is going to be according to head-to-head matches.”

The LHSAA State Meet is Feb. 15-16 at Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center.

Alex Nicosia, the defending Division II state champion at 113 lbs., led Holy Cross. His afternoon included wins by pin against Shaw’s Peyton Matherne in 1 minute, 2 seconds and St. Louis’ Gabe Emerson in 42 seconds.

St. Louis (2-0) finished one point ahead of Live Oak (2-0) for second place due to a tiebreaker based on head-to-head competition. Live Oak was led by 2012 Division II champion Cody Hill, who competed at 126 and 132 lbs. Hill won by major decision over Holy Cross’ Collin Guerra (19-6). Hill pinned Parkway’s Nathan Pitts (4:59) and Terrell Stelly of St. Louis (:58) and Shaw’s Bryce Ballas.

“I felt I wrestled pretty good, my takedowns were pretty sharp,” Hill said. “As a team, we wrestled really good. Everybody got good matchups.”

Teammate Jacob Chenevert, a 2012 state runner-up, also went undefeated at 113 lbs. At 106 lbs., Alex Simmaly lost a close match to Parkway’s Colt Olinde (3-1).

“We’ve had a rough last month with a lot of guys with injuries,” Live Oak coach Chris Collier said. “But I think for what we have, some of our younger guys did a great job of stepping up. We got a few key matches that you’d like to have for seeding purposes.”

At Shaw, Kody Woodson defeated Louis Stutes of St. Louis, who last season won the Division II weight class at 160 lbs.

Last season, Nicosia was one of five Holy Cross wrestlers to reach state finals in their weight classes, allowing the Tigers to finish second in the team competition. Teurlings Catholic outpaced all Division II schools with 277 points.

Holy Cross will host the New Orleans City Tournament on Feb. 2.