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PEPPO PLACES SECOND IN STATE TOURNAMENT

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / February 18, 1998

NEW ORLEANS – Jesuit’s Travis Guilbault rallied in the third period to out- point East St. John’s Nick Peppo, 15-11, and win the 125-pound weightclass at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association state wrestling tournament held at the UNO Keifer Lakefront Arena Saturday evening.

Guilbault’s victory clinched the Division I championship for Jesuit, the 11th straight year that the Blue Jays have captured the state title. Jesuitfinished with 240 points, edging out Brother Martin, which finished with 225 points. Grace King was third with 144 points, followed by Baton Rouge(77) and Airline (76). East St. John finished in 24th place with 22.5 points.Peppo had defeated Guilbault, 13-7, in the regionals the previous weekend at Jesuit. In Saturday’s match, Guilbault jumped out ahead, scoring onthree takedowns to take a 6-3 lead. Peppo rallied, scoring two points tocut the deficit to 6-5 after the first period.

Peppo gained the advantage in the second two-minute period, scoring on a near fall to take a 9-6 lead heading into the final period. Guilbault rallied,scoring on a takedown before Peppo answered with a reversal. ButGuilbault countered with an escape and a take down toward the end of the match to jump ahead by four.

“Guilbault is a hell of a wrestler,” East St. John coach Dan Erwin said. “Wehad a game plan going in, and he took us out of it.”Peppo, the top seed in the weight class, advanced to the championship round with a victory over Fontainebleau’s Sam Pearson, the fifth-seed earlier that day. Peppo dominated the third period, opening a 10-7 leadafter the second period to record a 20-9 major decision over Pearson.

Peppo opened the tournament with a 16-3 major decision over Northside’s Shawn Fritz Friday morning. Peppo came back in the quarterfinals thatnight, scoring a 26-10 technical fall over Brother Martin’s Richard Dixon, the number eight seed.

Guilbault, the second seed, opened the tournament with a pin of Houghton’s Dustin Ferguson in a minute, 36 seconds. He followed that with a 14-5major decision over seventh-seeded Stephen Englehardt of St. Paul’s in thequarterfinals. Guilbault advanced to the championship with a 17-8 majordecision over sixth-seeded Jeremy Schudmak of Grace King in the semifinals.

East St. John had two other wrestlers qualify for state. Jeremy Berthelotqualified in the 140-pound weight class, but was pinned by fourth-seeded Gabe Miller of Catholic in 3:20 of the preliminary match. Berthelot cameback to win his first consolation match, a 10-3 decision over Baton Rouge’s Marco Marshall, but was eliminated by the number six seed, Airline’s Boyd Guy, in the second consolation match. Guy went on to finishfourth in the weight class after losing to Brian McKinney in the consolation finals.

Corey Sewell qualified in the 275-pound class, but was pinned by the second seed, Fontainebleau’s Joshua Schneider, in 1:51 of the preliminary match. Schneider went on to place third by pinning Brother Martin’s PaulHale at the 3:45 mark of the consolation finals.

Baker’s David Simmons eliminated Sewell with a fall at the 1:54 mark in the first consolation round.

“They worked hard,” Erwin said of the three wrestlers. “They werededicated student-athletes.”

Photo: EAST ST. JOHN’S NICK PEPPO takes down Fontainebleau’s Sam Pearson in the semifinals of theLHSAA state wrestling tournament at the UNO Lakefront Arena Saturday morning.

Photo by Michael Kiral

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