MARQUETTE - Some things in Upper Peninsula high school wrestling don't change.
Like Ryan Gauthier of Iron Mountain winning an individual title and the Escanaba Eskymos claiming a team championship.
Saturday at the 44th Annual U.P. Wrestling Championships in Marquette, Gauthier copped his fourth straight peninsula crown, reportedly the fifth U.P. grappler to do so. Ray Champion of Negaunee is one of the five.
Gwinn freshman Alex Anderson slams Iron Mountain freshman Alex Edwards to the mat in the championship match of the 103-pound division at the Upper Peninsula Championships high school wrestling tournament on Saturday night at Marquette Senior High School. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"I remember watching this event when I was little thinking it would be so cool if I could come here and win this," Gauthier said after beating Steven Theuerkauf of Menominee for the 119-pound title, 5-0, to run his season record to 25-1.
"As a freshman, I won here. That set me up and made me want to ... be a four-time champ. I'm excited. It feels great."
Named the tournament's most valuable wrestler, Gauthier said he wrestled conservatively against Theuerkauf.
"I just wanted to make sure it was a solid victory," he said. "I didn't want to take any chances, just ride solid and if the pin came, I'd take it."
Gauthier, whose younger brother Jared also copped a title at 112 pounds, ran his career wins mark to 168 with his finals victory.
Coach Jamie Segorski's Escanaba squad, meanwhile, captured its third straight U.P. team title, pocketing the Duval Trophy in the process.
The Eskymos compiled 246 points to far outdistance runner-up Iron Mountain (160.5) and third place finisher Marquette (158).
"I thought we'd have a shot (at the title), but I'm really surprised by the scores," Segorski said. "This is typically a tight tournament.
"We just won the matches we were supposed to have won."
Esky placed four wrestlers in the finals and all four won: Kaleb Rahoi (125 pounds), Travis Heller (140), Jake Drage (189) and Dalton Paron-Spear (285).
"All four stood out, but Drage was a No. 3 seed who wrestled really well," said Segorski, in his 17th season at the Escanaba helm..
"This tournament is all about individual championships and being the best in the U.P. The kids take pride in that."
Marquette put three wrestlers into the finals, but all three - Jared Erickson (135), Curt Calovecchi (171) and Joe Iwanicki (215) - lost by decisions.
"Obviously, I wanted the kids to win," Marquette assistant coach Tony Gentz said. "Coming in here, I thought we'd have a chance to win.
"My immediate reaction is I'm disappointed, though the kids wrestled hard and we took home seven medals.
"Escanaba just won some key matches, two over our kids by one point at 140 pounds in the semis and 189 in the quarters," he added
Several other Superiorland wrestlers made the finals but finished second. They were: Alex Anderson (103) of Gwinn; Matt Oswald (125) of Negaunee; defending champion J.J. Sadler (130) of Munising in overtime after leading at one time 5-0; and Mathew Gonzalez 145) of Manistique.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is email@example.com.