GLADSTONE - The Gladstone wrestlers made an early-season statement Thursday night, gaining a 45-21 victory over three-time defending Upper Peninsula champion Escanaba.
Gladstone led all the way in this match-up, opening with Jake Cronick's 4-0 triumph over Alec Slaga on the strength of two takedowns in the 171-pound bout.
"Jake's takedowns were huge," said Braves' coach Jesse DeBacker. "The meet started at a good weight for us. Once we got that first big win, the troops kind of rallied from there and kept it going. As a team, this is a real big win for us. The kids wrestled well."
Paul Gerard photo
James Bruce of Gladstone grips Escanaba’s Sergei LaMarche in the 112 weight class Thursday evening at Gladstone.
The Braves then recorded pins in the next three matches, including Tom Bailey's conquest of Bill Soper three minutes, 25 seconds into the heavyweight bout for a 21-0 advantage.
Esky finally got on the board at 103 when Brittinie Larson took a 13-7 decision from Jackson Simison.
Gladstone, however, hiked its advantage to 27-3 on James Bruce's pin of Sergei LaMarche 1:34 into the 112-pound match.
171 - Jake Cronick, G, dec. Slaga, 4-0
189 - Brad Gagnon, G, pinned Schemke, 3:11
215 - Jack Cronick, G, pinned Timler, :51
Hwt - Bailey, G, pinned Soper, 3:25
103 - Larson, E, dec. Simison, 13-7
112 - Bruce, G, pinned LaMarche, 1:34
119 - Gillis, E, dec. Kujala, 5-2
125 - Priebe, E, pinned Williams, 2:40
130 - Beauchamp, G, pinned Adams, 3:13
135 - Taylor, G, dec. Sadler, 8-4
140 - Rahoi, E, dec. Jeremy Kadish, 3-0
145 - Josh Kadish, G, dec. Peippo, 6-3
152 - Heller, E, pinned Barron, 3:52
160 - Brandon Gagnon, G, forfeit
The Eskymos took the next two bouts, with Marlie Gillis (119) taking a 5-2 decision from Jake Kujala and Zach Priebe (125) pinning Brayden Williams at 2:40, trimming their deficit to 27-12.
"Both of our girls wrestled real well," said Esky coach Jamie Segorski. "We were counting on them and they came through. Alec is actually a 152-pounder who was wrestling at 171. He's a real good wrestler, but going up two weight classes is tough. We knew we were facing an uphill battle tonight and did a few good things. I don't know if we were expecting to win tonight, but we were certainly expecting to perform better overall."
The Braves didn't allow Esky to get any closer, however, as Bobby Beauchamp (130) pinned Tyler Adams at 3:13 for a 33-12 cushion.
"We're real proud of Bobby's effort," said DeBacker. "That was a case of a freshman really stepping up."
Gladstone, in effect, secured the decision during the ensuing match as Sam Taylor earned an 8-4 triumph over Hunter Sadler (135) for a 36-12 advantage.
Any hopes the Eskymos had of gaining a tie ended in the next bout, despite Kaleb Rahoi's 3-0 victory over Jeremy Kadish (140).
At that point, the Braves led 36-15 with just three matches remaining.
"Esky has a tough, young team," said DeBacker. "The two girls in their lineup are tough. I was impressed with both of them. Their kids have a bright future. There's going to be some battles between us this year."
Both teams resume in Saturday's Marquette Challenge.