Hahnville junior Kendrick Jones became the second wrestler in his school’s history to win a state championship when he claimed a 4-2 sudden victory over Daniel Relayson of Holy Cross in the finals of the 195-pound weight class.
Jone’s feat is even more remarkable considering the fact that he has only wrestled for two years.
“He wanted to make it known that he was the best 195 in the state. I think he proved it and earned everyone’s respect,” Hahnville wrestling coach Dan Erwin said.
Jones entered the state tournament with the No. 3 seed after going 48-4 in the regular season. Only one of those losses occurred to a wrestler in Louisiana, and Jones quickly avenged that defeat by pinning his opponent in 51 seconds in the early rounds of the tournament.
In the state championship, Jones forced overtime with a takedown before going on to the sudden victory.
Erwin said that Jone’s rise to the top of the 195-pound class is impressive because he only wrestled for Hahnville in his freshman year before rejoining the team for his junior season.
“I pulled him off basketball tryouts in his freshman year, but he moved to Texas last year and didn’t wrestle,” Erwin said. “He called me during the summer and said he wanted to come back.”
Jones is already focused on next season. Erwin said five minutes after Jone’s championship win, he turned to his coach and said, “alright coach, what’s next?”
Jones plans on attending college on a wrestling scholarship and already has a few offers from small schools around the area. However, he still has a lot of room to improve and Erwin said he could eventually reach his goal of being an Olympic wrestler.
“Kendrick’s skill level is not even close to being what it’s going to be next year,” Erwin said. “He still has a lot of things to learn about positioning, but he has skills that you can’t teach.”
Hahnville sophomore Nicholas Lirette also made the finals in the 106-pound weight class before losing to No. 1 seed Steven Shields of Brother Martin. Erwin feels that Lirette, who is also in his second year as a wrestler, has a chance to win a state title next year due to his impressive work ethic.
“He trains like no one I’ve ever seen. He wakes up and trains, goes to practice and outworks everyone and comes home and trains,” Erwin said. “You can’t outwork him.“Once he gets the little things straight, he will be a force to be reckoned with for the next two years.”
Overall, the Tigers finished 11th out of 29 teams at the state tournament. All 14 starters will return next season.Destrehan also had a wrestler make it to the state finals.
RaeJuan Marbley, who is a standout linebacker and has committed to play football at Tulane, lost his first match of the year in the state championship. He was pinned by No. 1 seed Quin Gilliam of Byrd in the 220 finals.
Destrehan junior David Thompson advanced to the semifinals before losing to Holy Cross’ Relayson.