Norway grabs M-PC title

ISHPEMING – The Manistique wrestlers weren’t fortunate enough to earn any championships during Saturday’s Mid-Peninsula Conference meet.

But freshman Louie Berry did his best to represent the Emeralds in the 119-pound title round, where he dropped a 4-0 decision to Norway sophomore Tim Huddleston.

Norway retained its title with 249 points, followed by Iron Mountain 154 and host Westwood 122. The Emeralds placed sixth at 71.

“I’m not displeased with what happened,” said Emeralds’ coach Gary Bowman. “We lost only two matches we should have won. We had three kids who were on the mat for only the second time, and they won a couple matches. Overall, we did about what we expected.”

Huddleston took a 2-0 lead on a takedown late in the first period and finished the scoring on a reversal with 93 seconds left in the third.

“This is the best I’ve done against him this year,” said Berry. “He beat me 13-8 and 8-1 earlier this season. I felt I had a better stance this time and was moving right off the whistle on the bottom. I feel I’m getting better with each match.”

Manistique junior Amber Smith (112) and sophomore Landon Burton (215) also reached the podium by placing third.

Smith pinned Westwood freshman Cedric Nora three minutes, 28 seconds into the third-place bout and Burton took a 4-0 decision from Gwinn sophomore Trevor Kirkpatrick-Bray.

“This is the same place I took in the conference last year,” Smith said moments before heading downstate for Sunday’s Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Women’s Finals at Howell. “I’m really happy with that. I got a near fall early in the second period, which gave me some breathing room (a 5-0 lead). That made me feel I had everything under control.”

Former Manistique and current Norway wrestlers Cole and Zavier Gonzalez were crowned champions at 140 and 152 pounds, respectively.

Cole (a junior) beat Negaunee’s Brody Rosten by technical fall (16-1) and Zavier (a senior) pinned Westwood’s Josh Argall in 4:48.

“This hasn’t really been any different from the last two years,” said Cole. “The practices have been about the same. We just have more people to match up with in practice.”

Freshman brother, Tanner Gonzalez, reached the 135-pound final where he dropped a 7-2 decision to undefeated Iron Mountain junior Jared Gauthier (now 30-0).

Manistique enters the Division 4 team district at Newberry, facing the host Indians at 6 p.m.

Also, defending champ St. Ignace faces Rudyard at 6, with the championship match scheduled for 7:30.

Smith believes the Emeralds can be crowned district champions for the first time.

“I think we have a chance to make a little history for Manistique wrestling, but we have to work as hard as we possibly can,” she said. “We’ve really got to want it.”