Eskymos take advantage of Braves miscue

ESCANABA – The Gladstone wrestlers learned a painful lesson about the importance of sportsmanship Thursday night as they suffered their first loss this season.

On the mat, Escanaba and Gladstone finished in a 40-40 draw.

Esky, however, was awarded the victory due to a pair unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Gladstone wrestlers after the 125 and 130-pound bouts.

“I’m digusted and disappointed,” said coach Jesse DeBacker, who let the Braves hear about it after the meet. “At Gladstone, we pride ourselves on sportsmanship. This is very uncharacteristic of our teams. I don’t why these kids acted like that. I wish I had an answer. Escanaba was the better team tonight.”

Gladstone started with a bang as sophomore James Bruce pinned Esky senior Marlie Gillis 57 seconds into the 119-pound bout.

Esky senior Zach Priebe (125) then pinned senior Brayden Williams in 2:24 and junior teammate Tyler Adams (130) followed with a pin of freshman Kyle McKenzie at 2:27.

The pins coupled with the penalty points enabled the Eskymos to gain a 12-4 lead.

“It’s part of the game,” said Esky coach Jamie Segorski. “Wrestling is an emotional sport, but you have to be able to control yourself. In 2005, we lost the (Great Northern) conference championship the same way. It can be frustrating when you lose a match that way and their kids lost their composure for a second.”

Esky gained a 24-10 advantage after sophomore Hunter Sadler (145) pinned junior Sam Taylor in 4:40.

Then at 152, junior Jeremy Kadish pinned junior Brent Picord in 42 seconds to pull the Braves within 24-16.

Senior Brandon Gagnon then recorded his ninth straight pin, taking care of Esky’s Teddy Peippo in 3:55 and suddenly Gladstone was within 24-22.

“We had some kids really step up and some do less than we thought they were going to do,” said DeBacker. “Some of our kids need to learn how to be more level-headed.”

Senior Travis Heller (171) temporarily stopped the bleeding for Esky, hiking its cushion to 28-22 by taking a 10-1 decision from junior Bradley Gagnon.

Gladstone tied the score at 28 on a void at 189 prior to winning the next two bouts by pin.

Senior heavyweight Tom Bailey put the Braves up 40-28, pinning sophomore Bryant Beem in just 23 seconds.

Esky tied the score by taking forfeits in the final two matches, with its victory being awarded a short time later.

Segorski believes a difficult schedule helped prepare the Eskymos for Thursday’s match-up.

“We’ve paid a price already and our schedule doesn’t get any easier,” he said. “It’s all a process. We’re training kids for the (Division 2 individual) state tournament. We have some kids we think can place real high.”

Both teams resume in Saturday’s Marquette Challenge.