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Escanaba wins, Marquette Redmen runners-up at Upper Peninsula Championships wrestling meet

Ishpeming’s Alaric Martin, blue singlet, takes on Newberry’s Lance Bowler in the championship match at 189 pounds at the Upper Peninsula Championships wrestling meet held at Marquette Senior High School on Saturday. Martin won this match. (Journal photo by Amy Grigas)

MARQUETTE — When the lights go down and the spotlight illuminates the mat at the Upper Peninsula Championships, it’s time for wrestlers to shine.

And it was the Escanaba Eskymos who did it the brightest on Saturday.

Escanaba won the 11-team tournament with 209 points and five individual champions. Collin Arnt (125 pounds) and Hunter Larson (140) got their victories by pin, while Tyler Lawson (135), Brodey Bevins (145) and Kahler Geyer (171) won by decision. Geyer’s 10-4 win came against Munising’s Gabriel Cole.

Marquette took second with 179 points, and even though the Redmen had just one individual winner, three-time U.P. champ Joe Lagrou at 119 pounds, MSHS had three other wrestlers — Payton Holmstrom, Chris Ricker and Wyatt Kuhlman — make it to the finals. Lagrou got his title by pinning Ishpeming’s Jaeger Wilson.

All in all, Marquette head coach Tony Gentz was happy with how his team performed.

“I thought it went pretty well,” he said. “We wrestled pretty hard all day. It’s one of those days where a match here or there and we’re fighting for the lead instead of hanging on for second. A lot of kids avenged losses from earlier in the season. Overall, every kid, from top to bottom, wrestled the entire match.”

Ricker, who upset top-seeded Eddie Cardew of Kingsford in the 285-pound bracket, almost emerged as the champion before falling in the finals 5-1 to Gladstone’s Brett Boudreau.

“He beat the No. 1 seed, pinned him in the semifinals,” Gentz said. “That was a good match for him. Being in the finals as a sophomore at heavyweight, that’s awesome.”

The Braves, who finished third as a team with 156.5 points, had two more champions with Cole Hansen, who won at 160 by pinning Westwood’s Rocco Carlson, and Michael Brazeau, who took the 103 title with a 10-3 decision over Rudyard’s Bradley Hall.

Iron Mountain finished fourth (110 points) and had two individual winners with Shawn McGuire defeating Holmstrom 7-1 at 112 and Parker Stroud defeating Gwinn’s Xander Luoma by major decision (16-4) at 130.

Negaunee was fifth with 101 points as Leo Helppi came out on top at 215 for the Miners, defeating Kingsford’s Ben Stanish 8-3.

Helppi said he had a strategy going into the finals that worked for him.

“The key was being aggressive in the first and second periods and wrestling smart in the third,” Helppi said. “I’m really happy with how I did. I was seeded first coming into the meet today and I was feeling really confident, besides a small injury I had (with) my elbow. I was kind of nursing my elbow, but I was feeling really confident and it paid off.”

Westwood was sixth with 98 points followed by Kingsford (96.5), Newberry (89), Ishpeming (87.5), Rudyard (85) and Bark River-Harris (80).

Ishpeming had a champion with Alaric Martin defeating Newberry’s Lance Bowler by major decision (15-7).

The 152-pound winner was Sault Ste. Marie’s Nathan Heyrman, who defeated Esky’s Dayton Miron by technical fall, 15-0.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.

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