ESJ building on success at state

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / December 27, 2000

RESERVE – The East St. John wrestling team did quite well at the statemeet last February.

Now with a new coach and some new faces, the Wildcats hope that success will carry onto this season.

Brian Cox comes on board as the new coach, taking over for Dan Erwin who has moved on to Hahnville to restart the program there. Cox has eightwrestlers back from last year, including two seniors – Calvin Raphile and Tommy Ecroyd.

Raphile, wrestling in the 275-pound class last year, advanced to the third round of the consolations. Raphile, who is currently out with a rib injury,has dropped down to the 215-pound class this season where he is expected to be seeded fourth at state.

“It helped a lot,” Raphile said of competing at state last season. “We havea young team this year. But if we keep practicing, keep getting experience,I feel we can do better.”Melanie Maurin, the lone girl competing in the state meet last year, advanced to the third round of the consolation round. She will becompeting in the 103-pound class this season.

Chad Miller moved into the second round of the consolations of the 145- pound class last year at state. This year, Miller has moved up to the 160-pound class.

“It helped out a lot,” Cox said of state. “They know what they are doing.Now we just have to improve on that.” The Wildcats got off to a good start at the Pearl River Tournament two weekends ago. Sophomore James Genovese went 3-2 in the 189-poundclass. Sean Eldridge, one of three newcomers on the team, also won amatch.

“And the others got good experience,” Cox said. “We had fun last weekend.We got to watch all the other matches and learn from the other people. Wegot to come together and this is a good group.”In a dual meet against John Curtis the previous Wednesday, Miller won two matches and Michelle McGhee one.

“We’ve been looking pretty good,” Cox said. “We have a young group. Wedidn’t win but we showed a lot. That’s what I want.” With eight wrestlers back from last year and three promising newcomers, Cox expects the group to keep getting better as the season progresses.

Among the others returning are Greg Nations in the 145-pound class and Jennifer Villeret at the 112-pound class. The newcomers are Eldridge,Joseph Trosclair and Josh Waguespack.

“I expect us to go to state and do well,” Cox said. “I expect us to do betterby mid-February and do well at state.”East St. John resumes the season with a dual meet at Andrew Jackson Jan.3.

The state tournament will be held again at the Pontchartrain Center Feb. 16-18.

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