In order to eventually reach the top of the mountain in Division II wrestling, Live Oak will have to scale Teurlings Catholic.
For the second time in four years, the Eagles managed to do that in the regular season.
Live Oak registered seven individual wins, including six by pin, and defeated Teurlings 39-37 in Wednesday’s dual match at Teurlings.
“It’s always been back and forth and real close,” Live Oak coach Chris Collier said of the series with Teurlings. “We always seem to get them in the regular season, but they always seem to get us in the postseason.”
Teurlings has become the standard in Division II by which every aspiring program tries to gauge itself.
The Rebels have won or shared in seven state championships over the last eight years, including a co-title with Parkway last year followed by the Eagles in third place.
Collier believes Wednesday’s two-point victory over Teurlings is an indication of his team’s potential.
“It definitely shows that we’re pushing in the right direction,” he said. “You’re getting close to the time of year where you want to start peaking as a team. Even as tight as it was, there are definitely things we still need to work on and get better. It shows that we’re competing with one of the top teams in our division.”
Live Oak’s in the midst of a month-long push leading up to the Feb. 8-9 state championships at Century-Link Center in Bossier City.
The Eagles have taken part in a tournament in Hoover, Ala., where they faced competition from Alabama, Florida and Tennessee, defeated Zachary in a home dual match before last week’s stop in the prestigious Ken Cole Invitational at Comeaux High School, where they finished 15th.
Live Oak takes the momentum it established from the win over Teurlings into this weekend’s Louisiana Classics, hosted at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The Eagles finish the regular season with a home dual meet next Wednesday against Dutchtown and the City Championships Jan. 25-26 at Catholic High.
“We pretty much run a gauntlet the whole way going into state,” he said. “This is probably one of the more grueling schedules we’ve had to try and prepare for state, but this is also the year we’ve had the talent to be able to run something like that.”
Live Oak established a 24-9 lead over Teurlings after three successive pins from Jordan Chenevert at 126 pounds, Harley Lee at 132 pounds and Anthony Dodson at 138.
All of those matches were decided in the second period.
“That kind of helped us build up a lead,” Collier said. “After that we began to think we had a legit chance to win this and our momentum picked up.”
Collier credited Teurlings’ middle weights for allowing the Rebels to get back into the match, reducing Live Oak’s lead to 27-25 following the match at 170 pounds.
Nawab Singh picked up a key win at 160 pounds in a sudden victory (7-5) – a takedown in the first one-minute overtime – while Austin Cook had a pin in 37 seconds at 182 pounds that made it 33-31.
The Eagles, who also had a victory by pin from Lathan Hirschey at 113 pounds, clinched the victory when Tyler Braun came up with a pin at the 4 minute, 30 second mark in the second period to win his 220-pound match.
“That’s one of the things I like about duals, the kids get into it,” Collier said. “They have a chance to watch their one guy at a time. You can feel the guys getting into it, literally coming out of their seats when we had chance to pin and time runs out at the end.”