Shaw Wrestling has won the 2023 LHSAA State Wrestling District III title for the first time in its history.
The Eagle wrestlers competed this past weekend in Bossier City against other hopeful programs, quickly securing the second–then first–place position by Saturday night. This is the first time the program has won the state title.
Freshman Caden Judice was the standout competitor clenching first in the D3 106lbs weight class, pinning every opponent during competition in under 41 seconds. He is the second freshman in school history to win at state as an underclassman (the first being Mr. Glenn Price, Class of 2022).
Senior Hayden Tassin placed second in D3 126lbs weight class, falling in the first round match.
In all, Shaw had seven wrestlers place within the top three of their weight classes.
For Coach Brandon Surrency (Class of 2009) this moment has been a long time coming:
“As an alumnus, it means a great deal…it was nice to not just knock at the door but to finally open it.” Himself a high school state champion, Coach Surrency knew that it was only a matter of time before everything would fall into place.
Despite the momentum and accomplishments from last season (including Coach Surrency being named 2022 LHSAA Wrestling Coach of the Year), the team knew this moment would not come easy.
“It took a great deal of discipline and accountability,” admits Coach Surrency. “We had individuals…move to the necessary weight class for us to have a legitimate shot.” That move required a great deal of sacrifice, one that some were not able to meet. “We had guys quit in the middle of the season.”
Despite the strain that was put on students who were already fighting to win, Coach Surrency and his staff knew in their hearts that this year was the one: “We kept telling our guys to have faith and everything will work itself [out].”
Faith has become a central component to the program’s success. In his homily during Holy Mass before the team’s departure, Father John Langan, SDB, Coordinator of Youth Ministry at Shaw, exhorted the wrestlers to ask God for a spirit of humility as they began competition.
“In the beginning of the season, the team had a retreat where they were honest [with each other],” reflects Fr. Langan. “They admitted their strengths, but also their weaknesses. That’s what I wanted to remind them of…it’s that humility that got them to this point”.
It would be that humility, that willingness to be vulnerable, that would push the team to victory this weekend.
Being a part of the team requires much more than raw talent; it requires genuine fraternity. In a 2018 interview with Crescent City Sports, Coach Surrency admitted that the family dynamic of the team is not a tagline or slogan, but a lived reality: “it’s a calling from Don Bosco… to grow personally, athletically, academically and as Christian [brothers].”
Saint John Bosco’s persistence and humility is what enabled his call to reason, religion and loving kindness to spread across the globe. In the same way, the team hopes that their persistence and humility grows the ranks of their family in the seasons to come.