For Teurlings Catholic wrestling coach Kent Masson, it’s almost like he’s studying for a math test.
Prior to the Division II State Wrestling Tournament, he goes over all the scenarios, twisting and turning them every which way to avoid being taken off guard once his Rebels get to the Ponchartrain Center.
For the past two seasons, all the numbers-crunching ended up with Teurlings winning back-to-back state championships.
If his Rebels win a third straight, Masson is convinced it’s going to be by an eyelash.
“When I run the numbers, I do best-case scenario, worst-case scenario and then one with more of an even mind,” he said. “Every time I do it, we either win by two or three points or finish second by two or three points.”
In Masson’s mind, that further illustrates how important every win and every match is going to be all weekend in what is expected to be a close battle with Holy Cross.
“Getting pins is what made the difference for us last year,” he said. “We led all three tournaments last year in falls. That was big for us. That’s going to be very important again this year. If you’re winning by a good margin, you have to work for a fall. If it’s close, you just go for the win.”
The other key is for the wrestlers in the consolation rounds to keep focused, because all wins count.
“That could easily be the difference between winning state or finishing second,” Masson said. “I think our kids have bought into it.”
Masson said he was a bit upset at Jimmie McBride being seeded No. 2 at 170 after finishing higher than the No. 1 seed from St. Louis at Ken Cole and Louisiana Classics.
McBride is among a group of state title contenders from the Rebels that also includes Brock Bonin at 106, Travis Thibodeaux at 152, Nick Schneider at 182 and Adam Garza at 220.
“This year’s team is very different,” Masson said. “Two years ago, that team was very business-like. Last year’s team has a real chip on their shoulders. This year’s team is very loose. They joke around. They’re just different mentally. While I’d like them to be a little more (business-like), I also can’t fault them for being laid back.”
While neighborhood Division II rival Northside High may not have enough wrestlers to make a serious run at a state title, Vikings’ coach John Simmons has his sights set on finishing as high as third.
“We finished fifth at Ken Cole with nine wrestlers, so I think that’s a good sign for what we’re capable of doing at State,” Simmons said. “If we can get at least four in the finals, we can definitely surprise some people.”
The Vikings are led by the late-season surge of Daniel Kincade at 220 pounds. Not only did Kincade shock everyone with a win at the Louisiana Classics, he followed that up with a Ken Cole title as well.
His twin brother Allen Kincade is also hot as well as the No. 2 seed at 285.
“Those guys have been great for the younger wrestlers in our wrestling room,” Simmons said. “They see what can happen when you work hard. The twins combined for one win as freshmen and look at where they are now.”
“I’ve really been impressed with how hard this team has been working. I’m really proud of them. The work they’re putting in from December to now is a 180-degree turnaround.”