Parkway’s Trey Fontenot entered the finals of Saturday’s 2017 LHSAA Wrestling State Championships as the No. 4 seed with just an outside chance of winning a state title in Division II.
But after dispatching the top seed in the semifinals Saturday morning, Fontenot dominated No. 2 seed Mason Middleton of Live Oak 12-4 in the finals on the floor of the CenturyLink Center to capture the first of six state titles by a north Louisiana wrestler in the event.
“I felt in control throughout the match and this felt great,” Fontenot said. “I didn’t get to wrestle last year, so to win this in front of my coaches, family and friends is great.”
Parkway, which came into Saturday with the opportunity to win a state title, finished third in Division II.
Fontenot’s victory set the stage from some solid wrestling by area wrestlers in the second year for the LHSAA event to be held in Bossier City. It was also part of some great storylines by the locals in the event that attracted 11,073 fans over two days. Airline’s Matt Salinas won the 195-pound title and joined his father, Greg, as a state champion for the Vikings. Airline’s Christian Walden won a third state title in Division I at 160 pounds, Parkway’s Trevor Tamburo captured the D-II title at 132 pounds and North DeSoto’s Chase Bates brought home a medal to Stonewall.
Then, just for laughs from the big man, Haughton’s Johnny VanVeckhoven, who came into the championships unseeded, capped the night in the Division II 285-pound class by beating the top two seeds to win the title.
Walden’s matchup with Jesuit’s William Rosevally was a nifty affair completed before most of his fans could swallow a handful of their CenturyLink Center popcorn. The future Army wrestler flipped Rosevally and won in a fall in 1:04 of the first period to finish 45-0 on the season.
“It was over fast, but I don’t mind that, since I’ll get to keep wrestling in college,” said a smiling Walden. “There was no secret. They know what’s coming, they just can’t stop me.”
Airline coach Chris Knotts was moved to tears when Salinas won his first state title after missing the event last year. The junior had surgery on two herniated discs last year and was unable to wrestle. Greg Salinas, who won at 135 pounds in 1989-90 leapt into his 195-pound son’s arms when he walked off the mat after topping Hahnville’s Trevon Honor, the 2016 runner-up, in a fall at 5:18 of the first period.
“This is amazing. Matt started wrestling when he was three and a half and there’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears since then,” Greg Salinas said. “He couldn’t even walk when he was here last year.”
Bates managed a 5-3 win over Eduardo Garcia in the 152-pound division.
“I just waited for him to shoot,” Bates said. “My toughest match of the tournament was probably my semifinal, but this was a close second.”
VanVeckhoven slammed Carencro’s Gabe Duplechain to the mat just 37 seconds into the match.
“The secret was to go in with a clean mind and try everything because I had nothing to lose,” VanVeckhoven said. “I was surprised it was over so quick. I expected it to last awhile since it was the finals.”
Parkway’s Dalton Driggers finished as state runner-up to Martin Garrett of Shaw at Division II’s 160 pounds.