Hahnville student wrestler Nicholas Lirette, representing the River Parish Wrestling Academy, won the state championship in freestyle at the USA Wrestling State Tournament.
The tournament featured two different styles of wrestling, Greco Roman and freestyle. Lirette not only finished first in freestyle, but he was the state runner-up in Greco Roman.
Two of Lirette’s teammates also placed in the event. Chris Jones, of Hahnville High, finished in third place in freestyle while Joel Ramirez, also of Hahnville, finished third in Greco Roman.
USA Wrestling is the same organization that puts on Olympic wrestling and River Parish Wrestling Academy coach Dave Menendez said Lirette has a bright future.
"Nick did real well and he is probably the best wrestler on our team and getting a state championship showed how good he is," Menendez said. "He started for Hahnville last year as a freshman and he might get the opportunity to wrestle in college one day."
Lirette is currently in Pennsylvania attending an intensive two-week camp put on by J Robinson, who is the head coach of the University of Minnesota wrestling team.
Jones is also attending the camp after his third-place finish in freestyle.
"Chris is another good, young wrestler and he is a very good athlete," Menendez said. "I thought he could have done better because he has performed better during the season, but I was proud of him for getting third."
Ramirez, who finished third in the Junior Division in Greco Roman, had one of his best performances of the year at the state tournament.
"Joel has been working very hard and I was happy for him," Menendez said. "He is a guy who is wrestling in a bigger weight class and he had to overcome wrestling a better athlete."
Though River Parish Wrestling Academy had three wrestlers place at the event, Menendez said his guys have looked much better throughout the season than they did last week.
"For the whole weekend, I wasn’t overly happy with our performance because we usually place a lot better. We usually have four guys place," he said.
Chase Menendez, who wrestles at Destrehan, placed fourth in Greco Roman and just missed getting on the podium.
River Parish Wrestling Academy was started to increase the number of wrestlers in the area. Menendez says athletes who may be too small for football or other sports can wrestle against people their own size and prove their talent on the floor.
"Wrestling goes by weight and starts off at 88 pounds and goes to 285 pounds," he said. "These guys are getting the chance to prove themselves against people that are their same size."
River Parish Wrestling teaches wrestlers as young as 6 to age 18 and is hoping to get wrestling programs started at the St. Charles Parish middle schools.
|Nicholas Lirette, wrestling in the 113-pound weight class, won the state championship in the freestyle and finished as runner-up in Greco Roman. Lirette wrestles with River Parish Wrestling Academy as well as Hahnville High School.|