Eskymos capture 10th straight title
ESCANABA – The Escanaba wrestlers maintained their stranglehold on the Division 2 team district title Thursday night in a 64-12 triumph over the Marquette Redmen.
Senior Zach Priebe clinched Esky’s 10th consecutive team title by hanging on for a 7-5 victory over Hunter Moore in the 130-pound bout, giving the Eskymos an insurmountable 42-6 advantage.
The victory sends the Eskymos to the team regional at Mount Pleasant, where they’ll face the winner of the Mount Pleasant district on Wednesday.
Esky, however, must first focus on the individual district Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in Gaylord.
Priebe appeared to be in control as he took a 7-1 advantage on a near fall late in the first period.
In the 130 match, Moore trimmed his deficit to 7-2 with an escape at the end of the opening frame before adding a near fall early in the second.
“Hunter is a good wrestler and caught Zach in a headlock,” said Esky coach Jamie Segorski. “But Zach was able to get out of it and ride out the third period, which is a credit to his conditioning. Zach didn’t want to lose his last match in our gym.”
Despite being on his back nearly half of the second stanza, Priebe was able to maintain his two-point cushion to the end.
“That was a good match,” said Marquette coach Tony Gentz. “We told Hunter he had nothing to lose and he wrestled that way. We also told him ‘if you win this, you get a heads-up in the seedings (in the individual district).'”
The stage was set for Priebe’s title-clinching victory in a previous match when senior teammate Marlie Gillis (125) took a 13-4 decision from sophomore Cole Arntsen for a 39-6 advantage with six bouts remaining.
“Now that we’re getting toward the end of the season, you have to keep your head up,” said Gillis, who placed second in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Women’s Championships last Sunday. “I pinned him the first time (in the Upper Peninsula Championships in Marquette on Jan. 18), but I knew I still had to be aggressive and do my best. I just try to be confident in what I’m doing.”
Senior Joe Heller (171) got the Eskymos started on the right foot, beating junior Rick Baker on a technical fall (18-1) at the end of the second period of the opening match.
Marquette then took a brief 6-5 lead as senior Jackson Mahler (189) pinned sophomore Cory Chenier in four minutes, 28 seconds.
The Eskymos responded with pins in the next three bouts, followed by a pair of forfeits and sophomore Sergei LaMarche’s (119) pin of freshman Robert Glover in 65 seconds for a 35-6 cushion.
“In all fairness to Marquette, they have a young team this year,” said Segorski. “Although, I thought we wrestled well. Our seniors showed excellent leadership. This was a great way to end their careers at home.”
The Eskymos were scheduled to face Sault Ste. Marie in their opener, but the Blue Devils decided to pass on the team district.
“Our kids were excited to wrestle two matches,” said Segorski. “It’s unfortunate they didn’t come because they have a nice program. We would liked to have tested ourselves.”
Marquette recorded its second victory at 135 when freshman Beau Caster pinned junior Corey McInerney in 2:34.
“I thought Beau wrestled a real good match,” said Gentz. “As a team, we tend to get caught in poor-position situations. We need to regroup and keep working as a team. If we wrestle hard and smart on Saturday, we can send a couple kids to the (individual) regionals.”