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Four Sure: Airline's Ernie Perry III claims fourth straight Louisiana state wrestling championship

New Orleans Jesuit, Teurlings Catholic, Archbishop Shaw claim team titles
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By Cody Thorn 

BOSSIER CITY - Ernie Perry III capped off his stellar career with one more title.

Wrestling in his hometown, the Airline senior standout locked up state championship number four with a decisive 13-1 major decision against Kristian Scott of Catholic-Baton Rouge in the 126-pound finals in Division I as part of Louisiana's Wrestling State Tournament on Saturday at Brookshire Grocery Arena.

Perry won four different state championships in four different weight classes and left his mark on the sport in a number of ways.

He became only the third Division I wrestler in the state to have won four titles, joining Paul Klein and Steven Shields from Brother Martin. That means Perry is the first public school four-time champion in Division I and only the 19th in the state’s history across all divisions to achieve four trips to the top step of the podium.

“I’m excited to complete my goal and the journey that came with it,” Perry said. “I still put pressure on myself. I knew guys would come out to compete. It is all about self-pressure and self-belief. The higher the confidence, the more you kind of lock up.

"I think I put more pressure on myself to do good. I had a lot of pressure. This one, I told my dad in the car, I felt like I had more pressure on myself; this would be a big step for history and a big step for me to complete my goal. It was my last one, I knew I had to get it done.”

SBLive Sports National High School Wrestling Rankings (2/9/2023)

Perry capped off his senior year with a 30-4 record and finished undefeated against in-state foes. He went 5-0 on this trip to the state meet, with four pins leading up to the finals.

He nearly had a pin in the finals, but instead got three near-fall points to expand his lead to double digits.

Three of his four pins came in the first period.

The fans came to the arena ready for the title and as soon as the seconds ticked off, a handful of signs and tons of balloons with the number 4, in silver, were raised to celebrate the historic moment.

“It just shows how much support I have and how much support I am lucky I am to have,” said Perry, who will wrestle next year at Cornell, an Ivy League school in Ithaca, N.Y. “I’m grateful for everyone in the stands that escorted me on the journey.”

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New Orleans Jesuit claimed the school’s 23rd state title and the first since 2009 by rallying to pick up the Division I team crown. They were two points back of Catholic-Baton Rouge and ended up winning by four - 263 1/2 to 259 1/2 - in the final standings.

Another New Orleans school, Brother Martin - last year’s champs - was third with 244 points.

Jesuit had two state champions in Bodi Harris (113) and Spencer Lanosga (285).

Harris (40-3) got a 6-2 decision against Catholic’s Grant Grizzaffi to claim his crown. Harris had pins in his previous four matches.

Lanosga repeated as the champion and finished the year with a 10-0 record with four pins - all in a minute or less. He took down Brother Martin’s Ethan Simmons in the finals in 41 seconds.

Michael Barnett (106) and Jackson Calderaro (182) were runners-up for the Blue Jays.

Catholic had six in the finals and finished with one title - an improbable one at that belonged to Thomas Domangue.

He repeated as a state champion and won the 182-pound title with a 10-5 win against Jesuit’s Calderaro - Domangue's first win over Calderaro in four meetings this season. The previous three were all losses by pin, but Domangue flipped the script at the perfect time.

Incidentally, it was almost the same scenario last year when he won his title by beating Winn McConnell of Jesuit - after losing to him twice during the season.

“We came up with a really good game plan and it was great to be able to execute the plans,” Catholic coach Tommy Porschka said. “The Jesuit coach and I were joking last year and I said, ‘Hey, I’m going to do it again.’ And he was was like, ‘Oh please don’t.’”

Domangue finished the year 31-4 and was 4-0 at state with three pins.

Watts Goodson (120), Christian Worley (132) and Elijah Gilmore (145) joined Scott and Grizzaffi as runners-up for the Bears.

Division II

Lafayette Teurlings Catholic ran away with a fourth straight title in Division II, winning the state trophy with 356 1/2 points, while North DeSoto was second with 305 points.

The Rebels had 12 of 14 wrestlers in the finals and half of those won state titles.

Alex Rozas (106) capped off a perfect season with a 55-0 record and a state title in a dominating showing - winning all five of his matches by pins. He recorded three falls within 30 seconds and capped off his run with a pin in the second period against North DeSoto’s Jacob Kershaw.

Ethan Boudreaux was also an undefeated state champion for Teurlings by going 46-0 on his way to the 138 title. He beat Belle Chasse’s Caleb Andrews in the finals by a 13-1 major decision with three pins on the way to the finals.

Layne Rivette (132) beat North DeSoto's Collin Bell in the finals by an 8-7 decision. That was a common showdown in the finals.

Also for the Rebels, Braeden Simoneaux (170) beat North DeSoto’s Hunter Addison in the finals in overtime, 6-4. Kole Hayes (285) claimed his title with a pin over North DeSoto’s Dom Smith.

Hudson Sharon (152) beat Brusly’s Chris Miller by an 8-2 decision.

Daniel Daspit (113), Brennan Romero (120), Brennan Boyer (126), Brandt Babineaux (145), John Wayne Prejean III (195) and Kendra James (220) were runners-up for the Rebels.

For the North DeSoto Griffins, three others made the finals and two took home titles.

Dalton Compton had the lone head-to-head win against Teurlings with a 3-1 overtime win against Brandt Babineaux, winning the 145 title. Compton (49-11) had recorded three pins on this way to the title.

“Just overtime was running through my head; I knew I had to take him down to win and I did,” said Compton, a freshman. “I did and I was so excited.

"I got to thank my parents and my coaches and everybody that pushes me to be the best wrestler I am (Saturday). I’m really excited. I got three more to go; I got that first ring. The job isn’t done until four.”

Compton faced Babineaux two times this season and lost to him twice - the latter was a loss in overtime.

Another North DeSoto wrestler, Lake Bates (160), went 4-0 with three pins and a 5-3 decision against Caddo Magnet’s Isaac Dees in the title match. Bates was 37-9 on the year.

Caden Robinson (182) was the other finalist for the Griffins, falling to Brusly’s Anthony Denova in the finals.

Division III

Basile’s run as the state champion ended with a close loss.

Marrero Archbishop Shaw racked up 215 1/2 points and beat the defending four-time state champions by 2 1/2 points in the team hunt.

Caden Judice (106) was 3-0 with three pins - each in 41 seconds or less - for the Eagles’ first title of the night. He won a head-to-head battle with Basile with a pin in 26 seconds against Patrick Fontenot.

Blake Andre (113), Hayden Tassin (126), Carson Dalton (138) and Raymond Howard (285) also made the finals for Shaw.

Luc Johnson (145) and Christian Bergeron (182) were state champions for Basile.

Johnson finished 38-1 on the season and had three pins and a 12-2 major decision against New Orleans De La Salle’s Liam O’Connor in the title match. Bergeron had only three matches and secured a 5-3 win against De La Salle’s Jason Krail to take first.

Shreveport Evangel Christian Academy notched two champions as well as Michael Brame II repeated as the 126 champion with a pin in 4:38 against Tassin in the finals. Michael Gilreath finished the year 56-12 with a 4-0 run and beat River Ridge John Curtis Christian School’s Jerome Bridges by a pin in the 160 finals.

“I felt pretty confident; I wrestled (Bridges) before, so I knew what he was working with and I was ready to take advantage of what he gave me,” Brame said.