Wrestlers Slam Wolves at the Wire in Outdoor Opener
In a thrilling dual meet under the stars at John Ryan Stadium, the Jesuit wrestling team chalked up a victory against St. Paul’s in head coach Sheridan Moran’s debut with the Blue Jays.
The Jays didn’t clinch the meet until the final bout of the evening, when senior Griffin Mason took a 13-4 win over his opponent in the 152-pound slot, picking up the final four points of the night in a 29-24 Jesuit victory.
Mason was just one of several seniors who came up big on the evening. “I can’t say enough about the seniors tonight,” said Moran. “They all wrestled well. Nolan may have saved the night.”
Nolan is senior Nolan Stone, who notched the Jays’ only pin of the night, picking up six points in the fifth match of the evening–and the first match of his life–at a point when the dual meet score was tied at six.
Stone’s path to the mats at John Ryan this evening was about as improbable a high school wrestling story as you’ll ever come across.
Stone hadn’t wrestled since his 8th-grade year, and even then his experience was limited. “I came out for two weeks and Guy (Patron, now one of the team’s most dominant wrestlers) broke my ribs, so I quit.”
“But late last year, whenever we had an occasional moment to spare in Mr. Rodger’s analysis class, Brandon (Wolff) and Kyler (Pisciotta) would hound me about coming out. So I gave up cheerleading and gave it a shot.”
The six-point lead that Stone staked the Jays to would not last, and by the time the teams were down to the last five bouts of the evening, the outcome was very much in doubt. But senior Joseph Dupre came up huge in the 126-pound slot, beating his opponent 20-12 and picking up four points in the process.
For the uninitiated, in high school wrestling dual meets a win counts for three points. But if you beat your opponent by anywhere from 8-14 points, as Dupre did, you earn four points. If you’re able to rack up a 15-point lead during the course of a match, a mercy rule of sorts kicks in and you earn five points for a technical fall. If you pin your opponent, that’s a six-point win.
Junior Jackson de Gruy followed up Dupre’s win with an overtime thriller in the 132-pound classification. The match had the crowd on its feet, and a fired up de Gruy was still pumped up after the meet was over. “That was a great experience,” de Gruy said. “I have to hand it to Coach Moran. We’ve been doing some intense conditioning and I really think that made the difference tonight.”
A third straight win, this time by sophomore Eli Larriviere at 138 pounds, left the Jays with what seemed like a comfortable 25-18 lead with only two matches left. But then the unexpected happened. Sophomore Nathan Koenig, wrestling in the 145-pound level, got pinned. The six point swing left the Jays with a one-point lead heading into the night’s final match.
“I was watching the meet closely, and about halfway through I had a pretty good idea it would come down to me,” said Mason. “I was definitely nervous.”
It didn’t show. Mason raced to an early six-point lead and then was never really challenged after that.
Other Jesuit wrestlers who picked up wins on the night were senior Kyler Pisciotta (170 pounds), senior Evan Palmisano (182 pounds), and sophomore Adam Larriviere (113 pounds).
Also wrestling for the Jays were senior Brandon Wolff, junior Gregory Bohn, freshman Colby Queyrouze, and junior Jordan Giewat. Senior Guy Patron and junior Corey Dublin sat this one out, as they are still playing football.
Overall, Moran was pleased with both the performance of his team and the success of the outdoor experiment. The one problem was the unseasonably warm and humid evening, which had the mat sweating. Wrestlers struggled with footing all night despite a battery of ringside fans and a small army of towel-toting student managers who worked the mat between matches.
Halfway through the meet, Moran took to the microphone to honor Bob Angelle and Edwin F. Stacy Jr. for their contributions to prep wrestling. Angelle heads up a network of supportive wrestling alumni, while Stacy coached Jesuit to its first state wrestling title in 1951.
If you missed the meet, you can check out a replay on WHNO-TV, Channel 20 (or 1020 on Cox Cable) on Saturday at 3;00 p.m.
Next up for the Jays is the Warrior Classic this Saturday at St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge.