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The Holiday Classic high school wrestling tournament at Evangel offers a variety of southern regional wrestling along with a flare of the Midwest.
The Holiday Classic, hosted by Evangel, has teams from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Missouri. Louisiana is represented by Ouachita Christian, Loyola and Evangel.
On the first day, the Missouri-based Jefferson City Jays led the team scores with 93.5.
Jefferson City brings in top-10 finishes at the state tournament in Missouri and also a state runner-up a couple of years ago. Jefferson City placed eight wrestlers as the top seed from its pool play.
Normally, the Jays go to Baton Rouge to compete in the Deep South Classic but stopped in Shreveport to compete instead.
“We’ve usually gone down to Baton Rouge to the Deep South Classic, and this is closer and it was a pool tournament instead of a dual tournament,” Jays coach Phil Cagle said “We felt we were a little better pool team this year than a dual team. We wanted to come down to see different kids. It’s a great experience for us. We always like to come down and eat the food.”
Former Holiday Classic champion Oklahoma-based Poteau Pirates currently resides in second place with 69.5 points.
Poteau grabbed three top seeds on the first day. Coach Chris Ford said his team started off slow but finished off strong in the pool play.
“Well we got off to a slow start. I thought in the first round we wrestled bad. We gave up some bonus points as far as getting pinned. Kind of like an episode of what could go wrong. We turned it around and done really good here later today.”
As for the Louisiana flavor in the tournament, Ouachita Christian currently sits at fourth place with 50 points. OCS’ strong middle weight class of Michael Gordy (138), Matthew Matherne (145), and Cole Ringle (152) won their respective pools.
OCS coach David Webre said,“I’ve had like six seniors who have been with me since fourth-graders. The heart of my order is about 138, 145, and 152. They’ve been with me a while.”
Evangel scored 35 points and finished in seventh place after pool play. The young Eagles squad grabbed two top seeds for the bracket round Saturday.
Chris Reed (170) and Datremecious ‘Tre’ White (285) grabbed those spots.
“Some schools when holiday comes, they take that holiday. Wrestling is every day, every day. You’re on the mat and find where the tournaments are,” Eagles coach Michael Guerrero said. “The tournaments keep the guys in shape and make sure their wind is built up. We just make sure our guys stay busy.”
Evangel’s White had to use a little of that wind in his first match by getting a pin in the last 30 seconds, but finished off strong in his second match against Jamar Bluefer with a pin in 12 seconds.
“My first match was against an Oklahoma football player and he was really tough. When we got down to the mat, I didn’t think his hips weren’t stiff enough and I got the roll.” White said. “On the second one, I got my hook on and just put him down. I think we are doing pretty good. We are young, but I think there were a lot of potential wins.”
Titles will be begin to be decided on Saturday morning as bracket play begins at 9:30.