Eskymos prevail in dandy dual

Escanaba tops rival Braves

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Members of the Escanaba wrestling team celebrate during Bailey Papineau’s 189-pound bout against Gladstone’s Darin Johnson.

ESCANABA — A pair of Delta County wrestling teams kept fans at the edge of their seats in the Escanaba High School gym Wednesday night as the host Eskymos edged Gladstone 39-36 in their lone dual meet this season.

The meet was close throughout with neither team leading by more than nine points.

“Everybody got their money’s worth,” said Esky coach Jeff Wright. “I haven’t seen that many fans for this match in a while. It was good to see this kind of turnout and excitement.”

The Eskymos led 33-24 after taking a forfeit at 160 pounds.

Gladstone junior Devin Eickhoff, however, pinned senior Tyler Cook 59 seconds into the 171 match, bringing the Braves within 33-30.

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Gladstone’s Darin Johnson, left, and Escanaba’s Bailey Papineau hooked up in a thrilling 189-pound match in Wednesday’s dual meet at EHS.

With momentum seemingly on Gladstone’s side, senior Darin Johnson (189) gained a 10-2 lead on Esky’s Bailey Papineau with a near fall at the end of the first period.

Papineau then began his comeback, climbing within 10-9 after the second period and gaining the upper hand in the third en route to an 18-10 victory.

“Darin offered to come out and help us so we wouldn’t have to forfeit another weight class,” coach Dan Seronko said, noting the Braves had already left three classes open. “This was Darin’s first time on a mat since youth wrestling.

Darin is fast and strong, but he got a little tired in the end. We were concerrned that maybe his lungs would get him.”

The Eskymos at first received four points for a major decision and an insurmountable 37-30 lead.

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Gladstone’s Adam Bruce, top, takes control of his 135-pound bout against Escanaba’s Courage Krueger en route to a pin in Wednesday’s dual meet.

Johnson, despite his best intentions, was then disqualified for multiple infractions which enabled Esky to instead be awarded six points for a 39-30 advantage.

“Getting that one was huge,” said Wright. “If we don’t win that match, we’re done. It was one of those nights which nothing went as planned.”

Senior Jared Demeuse (215) pinned Isaiah Olson 2:22 into the final match to bring the Braves within their final three-point margin.

“We did what we could,” said Seronko. “Only, we came up a little short. We felt we could have done a few things a little different.”

The Braves scored the first six points as junior Cole Dawson pinned sophomore Zackary Barnhart 1:18 into the 285-pound bout.

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Escanaba’s Dayton Miron attempts an escape from Sam Hill in the 145-pound bout. Miron won the match with a pin.

Freshman Collin Arnt (103) sliced Esky’s deficit in half by taking a 9-5 decision from Braves’ sophomore Lane Matzke. Esky then took forfeits at 112 and 119 for a 15-6 lead.

At 125, Gladstone junior Vadym Torvinen edged sophomore Justin Mathieson 6-4 on a takedown 20 seconds into overtime.

Classmate Nick Dawson (130) pulled the Braves within 15-12 by taking a 3-1 decision from sophomore Tyler Lawson.

Gladstone then gained an 18-15 lead when junior Adam Bruce (135) improved to 26-0 this season by pinning senior Courage Krueger in 1:43.

Sophomore Hunter Larson (140) pinned sophomore Cole Hansen in 5:33, enabling the Eskymos to regain the lead, and classmate Dayton Miron (145) pinned junior Sam Hill at 3:41 for a 27-18 cushion.

The Braves again trimmed their deficit to three (27-24) after senior Alex Chouinard pinned junior Kyle Gendron in 3:27. Esky, however, didn’t allow them to go ahead.

“Hunter’s pin was also huge,” said Wright. “Dayton nearly got put on his back (in the first period), but he never gave up and came back and got the pin. Collin also wrestled tough. It’s not easy having three close matches in a year with the same guy, but Collin came through for us. No doubt, this is a big win for our team. Yet, it’s just another step in the season. The regular season is done. Now, it’s the post-season. We have to step up.”

Barnhart suffered a knee injury at the end of the 285 bout and is questionable for next Wednesday’s Division 2 district tournament.

The Eskymos host Sault Ste. Marie in their district opener at 6 p.m. The winner faces Marquette in the title round at approximately 7:30.

Gladstone concludes its regular season in Saturday’s Mid-Peninsula Conference meet at Negaunee.

The summary:

285 — C. Dawson, G, pinned Barnhart, 1:18

103 — Arnt, E, dec. L. Matzke, 9-5

112 — Chouinard, E, forfeit

119 — Esky, forfeit

125 — Torvinen, G, dec. Mathieson, 6-4 (OT)

130 — N. Dawson, G, dec. Lawson, 3-1

135 — Bruce, G, pinned Krueger, 1:43

140 — H. Larson, E, pinned Hansen, 5:33

145 — Miron, E, pinned Hill, 3:41

152 — Chouinard, G, pinned Gendron, 3:27

160 — Wunder, E, forfeit

171 — Eickhoff, G, pinned Cook, :59

189 — Papineau, E, dec. Johnson, 18-10

215 — Demeuse, G, pinned Olson, 2:22.