Boy, what a year for Acadiana’s high school wrestlers. First a pandemic, then you have five weeks off because of that pandemic. But regardless, guess what’s coming up this weekend? The State tournament.
“State,” says Comeaux High senior Morgan Burke, “that’s what we’re working for that’s everything. Doing stuff like this, running sprints. The thought of State makes us run harder.”
Just five weeks ago, a weird, weird 2020/2021 season got even weirder, when the LHSAA put a freeze on competition, essentially telling wrestlers, “No tournaments UNTIL the State Tournament. That, says Comeaux High senior Hudson Wilkinson, wasn’t very easy to deal with. “Pretty frustrating; makes you wonder if you should come back .” (But you came back, I asked. Why?) “I like it. I like wrestling.”
Health concerns--- yes, Covid and the like--- were at the heart of that temporary halt. But two veteran coaches believe their sport is actually one of the safest around.
“They have to make sure they shower with antibacterial soap, use a clean towel, check for lesions on a regular basis,” says Teurlings head coach Kent Masson. “We have the cleanest set of athletes in any sport.” And Masson’s not alone; Comeaux High’s Keith Bergeron, completely agrees. “We have to look out for staph infections, ringworm, and a number of viruses. If there’s any sport worth mentioning,, I think wrestling was built for health concerns and safety over time. And now we’ve just added Covid to the mix.”
With eight team titles in 10 years, Teurlings is not only a local, but also, a State wrestling juggernaut. Yet even for these athletes, the pandemic and other high school distractions have made this a tough season to handle. “Yes, sir,” begins the Rebels Logan Smith. “It’s been pretty hectic. Being a senior and all, but even so, we’ve gotta’ follow the Covid guidelines. Just glad we have State this year.”
Still, even with Covid, even with all the testing and restrictions, these athletes agree: Once the whistle blows and the matches begin, it’s easy to forget the pandemic and focus on their opponents… at least for a few minutes.
“Even with not being able to go into the stands and seeing our friends and families after the matches,” explains Teurlings’ 285-lb. senior Kane Chisholm, “as a team we’ve been able to block out all of the distractions. As a team, we’ve been able to focus on going out there to win another State Championship.”
And there’s the bottom line. For this coming weekend, it’s thinking, living and breathing… State.
State --and nothing else. “That’s what everyone wants to achieve,” smiles Comeaux’s Burke. “Everyone want to be a state champion.”
The LHSAA State Wrestling Tournament takes place this Friday and Saturday in Baton Rouge.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers