Esky settles it on the mat

GLADSTONE – Little has separated Gladstone and Escanaba on the mat this season and Thursday night was no different as it came down to the final matches to determine a winner, with Escanaba capturing a 36-29 victory between the rivals.

Marquette also took part in the GNC triangular meet as they were defeated 66-7 by Gladstone and 59-21 by Escanaba.

The Braves took their first lead of the match (20-16) when senior heavyweight Tom Bailey pinned Mohammed Hoque in 1:14. Gladstone lost the lead as they forfeited the 103 match and lost on a decision in the 112 pound match-up. The Braves fought back as James Bruce (119) picked up a 10-3 decision over Sergei LaMarch to cut the Eskymos lead to 27-23.

Gladstone then took a gamble by forfeiting the 125 match-up against Zachary Priebe and bumping Brayden Williams up to 130.

The forfeit set up a showdown between Williams and junior Corey Mclnerney. Williams jumped ahead 5-3 after the first period but Mclnerney battled back and won the match with a 13-6 decision.

“You know he got caught early in the match with a whip over, we knew it was coming and it’s a solid move, we use it a lot and he got hit with it,” said Esky head coach Jamie Segorski. “I give him a ton of credit because he just fought his tail off to get off his back and it didn’t gas him and he came back and he went right back to work and controlled the rest of the match.”

The win put the Eskymos ahead 33-23 and sealed the win with only one match remaining. Segorski said adjusting line-ups can be tricky.

“The thing about us and Gladstone right now is we don’t have a lot of flexibility to move guys anywhere and if we move a guy out that means we’re going to give up a weight,” he said. “They threw their cards on the table at 125 and went for the win and I give them credit for it. It was a bold decision and they needed to and they almost got it.”

The first time Gladstone and Escanaba met this season a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were the difference for the Eskymos. This time everything was settled on the mat but Braves head coach Jesse DeBacker noted the importance of the high intensity match-ups.

“It’s going to be close like this so we needed more matches like this come post-season when we get into the districts and the regionals,” DeBacker said. “We need more matches like this, close matches that come right down to the end like this.”

Escanaba got on the board first as junior Kaleb Rahoi pinned Jared Syverson 1:12 seconds into the 140-pound bout. Escanaba’s Hunter Sadler (145) followed with a 4-0 decision over Kevin Priebe to put the Eskymos ahead 9-0.

It appeared the Braves were going to tack on six points of their own at the 152 match-up but a pin by Jeremy Kadish as time expired in the second round, was called off after a clock malfunction.

“They didn’t start the clock right away,” said Esky head coach Jamie Segorski. “They started their clock late and we got pinned with basically no time on the clock so they had to go back and adjust the time and it wound up being a 15-point tech fall instead of a pin.”

Escanaba followed the call with a major decision victory by Travis Heller (160) to take a 13-5 lead. Escanaba followed with another decision, building a 16-5 lead, before the Braves mounted a comeback.

Jacob Cronick (189) pinned Cory Chenier in 39 seconds and his brother Jack followed that up with a 4-2 decision over Devin Olsen at 215. Tom Bailey’s (285) pin gave the Braves a 20-16 advantage, their only of the contest.

“We weren’t expected to beat them at all this year and it’s just a credit to the Escanaba wrestlers,” Segorski said. “They’re just a tough bunch of kids. We have nine freshmen and sophomores in our starting lineup so the future looks bright and we’re happy about where we’re at right now.”

Marquette, which was a late addition to the triangular meet, competed without four of their regular starters. Head coach Charlie Gentz said the meet provided a good chance to see Escanaba before districts, Thursday.

“I’m missing four starters so it was kind of a patch work deal,” Gentz said. “I wanted to see how we would respond. We see these guys next week going into districts so hopefully with my four starters we can close the gap and maybe even sneak one out.”

Beau Caster and Jackson Mahler each recorded pins for the Redmen in their match against Esanaba.

“Beau and Jackson both just went out there to score points and they did that, and they also came with pins on each of them and that’s what we work towards,” Gentz said.