It may have been just a coincidence, but Byrd finished off an unusual trifecta Thursday night when it won the Shreveport city wrestling championship.
Byrd hosted the meet, making it the third school the last two weeks to host and win a major local championship. A week before, Bossier hosted the Bossier City championships and won it. Huntington then hosted the two-day regional tournament and walked away with its first title.
Huntington edged Byrd for the regional title, while Byrd returned the favor, scoring 80 points to runner-up Huntington's 72 in the city meet. "Regionals is more prestigious, but city's more personal," Byrd coach Scott Martin said. "It's just more intimate. We have a history with city. We've never won regionals. It would have been a nice feather, but we won city, and we'd like to keep it." In addition to its three city champions -- Wilson Lindsey (132 pounds), Darrick Roberson (170) and Quin Gilliam (195) -- Byrd qualified six more wrestlers for this weekend's state meet in Kenner at the Ponchartrain Center. Joining the five Yellow Jackets who qualified before Thursday were Clay Celli (106), Johnny Long (126), Darius White (145), Carl Perez (160) and Michael Brackman (182).
The Raiders had four individual city champions, two of whom are eighth graders. The performances by Johntrell Blue (120 pounds) and Brandon Robinson (126) may surprise some, but they didn't shock coach Gene Strogen. "They've been wrestling consistently all year," Strogen said. "I figured if they adjusted their game plan, they'd win, and they did." Anthony Taylor (145) and The'Anthony Taylor (152) rounded out the Huntington titleists. Thursday's title was the second in five days for The'Anthony Taylor, who also won the regional crown. "He's been more aggressive," Strogen said. "He's so laid-back and shy, it's hard to get him out of that zone. It's nothing we did. He got tired of losing. We told him, 'There's nothing we can say or do to make you get tired of losing until you get tired of losing.' He's got a couple of moves he does, and he does them well, and he sticks to them. I hope it carries over to state (this weekend)."
Like the Raiders, the Eagles had four city champions. A pair of Evangel wrestlers were able to avenge losses in the regional championships -- 113-pounder Bradley Wright and 285-pounder Logan Williams. Williams pinned his good friend and growing rival Reggie Markray in the thrd period of their match. At regionals, Markray pinned Williams in the second period to secure Huntington's first regional championship. Benny Kirkikis' 138-pound championship and Bradley Ashlock's 220-pound title rounded out Evangel's titleists. Kirkikis' title is part of a high school career that has seen him consistently climb a weight class per year, finding success in each along the way. In addition to his talents on the mat, Kirkikis owns a pair of unique talents. "He's a unicyclist, and he's double jointed," Eagles coach John Tademy said. "That really helps when he's in a bad position. He's usually got a smile on his face. The guy may have him in a bad position, but he can usually get out of it."
The three remaining city champions were Loyola's Armand Zachary (106 pounds), Calvary's Heath Lovitt (160) and Lovett's teammate Chris Thompson (182). Twitter: @JasonSPugh