Wildcats wrestling rebuilding with youth

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 11, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / January 11, 1999

RESERVE – Youth is the optimum word around the East St. John High Schoolwrestling program this season.

The Wildcats return just three wrestlers from a year ago, including just one senior. Gone is Nick Peppo, the regional champion in the 125-poundweight class last year. Peppo advanced the state meet all four years atthe school, placing second last year. Gone also are Jeremy Berthelot andCorey Sewell, both of whom qualified for state in 1998.

Coach Dan Erwin’s squad this season consists of six freshman, four sophomores and six juniors. Jason Delatte is the lone senior but even he isin just his second year of wrestling. The 17 team members are an increasefrom the eight wrestlers the team had a year ago.

With a young team, Erwin and assistant coach Shane Moras are doing a lot of teaching this season. The team is competing in smaller tournamentsthan in recent years but has been successful, bringing home six or seven medals from each one.

Team members include Melanie Maurin, Michelle McGee, Jennifer Villaret, Darnell Rixner, Victor Curly, Blake Maus, Lamar Duhe, Josh Entremont, Philip Ketchum, Sean Green, Chad Miller, Tommy Ecroyd, Jason Delatte, Orlando Labiche and Calvin Martin.

Maurin, McGee and Villaret marks the first time that three females have made the team. Rixner, Entremont and Delatte are the returning wrestlersfrom last year.

“They are working real hard,” Erwin said. “I am killing them in practiceand they keep coming back for more. If we can add five more next year andget over 20, we will do alright.”Martin is one example of the work ethic the team has shown. Martin alsocompetes in kickboxing and won the 145-pound weight class at a tournament in Tennessee over the holidays. A competitor in the 135-poundweight class in wrestling, Martin attends practice every day after school and then goes to kickboxing practice.

The Wildcats compete in the City Championships this weekend at Jesuit.

Next weekend they will compete at the Lee High Tournament in Baton Rouge with the junior varsity competing at Andrew Jackson.

The St. Paul’s Tournament follows on Jan. 23 with the regional meet atJesuit being held Jan. 29-30. The state meet will take place Feb. 5-6 atthe Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. Erwin is hoping to qualify one or twoand possibly three wrestlers for state this season.

Erwin is starting a USA Wrestling Club in March. Anyone interested cancontact Erwin at the school at 536-4226.

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