Braves grapplers take 13th straight title

Courtesy photo The Gladstone wrestling team poses with their trophy after winning a Division 3 district title at Gladstone Thursday.

GLADSTONE — The Gladstone wrestlers were tested but prevailed here Thursday night as they captured their 13th straight Division 3 team district championship with a 37-30 triumph over the Negaunee Miners.

Gladstone reached the title round by edging Kingsford 42-36.

The victory sends the Braves to the regional team tournament March 24 at Hart where they’ll face Boyne City in their opener. Hart hosts Kingsley in the other semifinal.

The Braves mathematically secured the title after junior Hunter Solis pinned Negaunee freshman Wyatt Lauer 64 seconds into the 130-pound match for a 37-6 advantage.

“We knew it’d be a tight match with Negaunee,” said Braves coach Jeff Brazeau. “It could have gone either way. Kingsford pushed us, and we came back out with a lot of fire.”

Negaunee opened with a forfeit at 171. Senior Blake Servant (189) then pulled the Braves within 6-4 by taking an 11-2 decision from sophomore Nathan Keough.

Sophomore Cole Potier (215) gave the Braves a 10-6 lead by pinning Eli Van Buren in one, minute, 50 seconds and senior Peter Noblet (285) then used a late reversal to secure a 5-1 victory over senior Bryce Dunstan to put them up 13-6.

“That was a tough match,” said Noblet. “I’m a smaller guy but have a little more speed and quickness. We were a little out of it against Kingsford, although their guys wrestled well. We came out a little sleepy, and the coaches told us we had to pick it up for the championship match. It was a wake-up call.”

The Braves took the next three bouts by forfeit, setting the stage for Solis’ title-clinching victory.

“Pete was giving up 70 pounds to their guy,” said Brazeau. “He wrestled a great match. Kingsford gave up points all the way up to 140. When you’re giving up that many weight classes, it makes things tough. We had a little talk after the match. We told the guys they had to step up, and they did.”

Kingsford won three of the four contested matches against the Braves, gaining a 24-6 lead after junior Matt Wilson pinned sophomore Gavin Depuydt 2:40 into the 285 bout.

Gladstone then took the next six weight classes by forfeit for an insurmountable 42-24 cushion.

The Flivvers took a forfeit at 160 before Servant pinned freshman Noah Johnson at 1:12.

Kingsford regained the lead after sophomore Josh Peterson (189) pinned Cole Potier in 2:28.

Senior Elliot Johnson (215) then recorded a pin over Noblet at 3:51 for an 18-6 cushion.

“That was awesome,” said Kingsford coach Darren Groleau. “I know Gladstone had some guys out, but with them out we knew we had a chance.

“Potier vs. Peterson was the match I wanted. Noah wrestled for the first time at 171, and we moved Josh up to 189. When Josh got that pin it got the other guys excited and gave us some momentum. We may have lost the match, but I don’t take this as a loss at all. I felt we finished on a high note. No doubt, we pulled some upsets. Our guys got the job done.”

Negaunee defeated Menominee 37-15 in its opener.

Senior Connor Bretl (130) hung on for a 12-11 victory over freshman Wyatt Lauer. The Maroons, however, still trailed 24-9.

A reversal in overtime enabled Negaunee sophomore Joe McCollum (135) to secure an 11-9 triumph over senior Kaleb Crawford, giving the Miners a 27-9 cushion.

Senior Tyler Huesinger (140) pinned John Schouten in overtime to trim Menominee’s deficit to 27-15.

Negaunee sophomore Brody Prusi (145) pinned Kadyn Smejkal at 2:31 and classmate Ryan Reno took a 9-1 decision from freshman Ethan Primley in the finale.

“I thought we wrestled well,” said Negaunee coach Matt Oswald. “We’re just happy to have a season and be here. This has been a bit of a learning experience. Most of our guys are sophomores. We have a lot to build on. We’re looking for a good showing this weekend. We’re hoping to get a few kids through.”

Gladstone will wrestle the remainder of the season without junior Brett Boudreau, who underwent knee surgery on Monday.

“Losing Brett hurts our team big time,” said Brazeau. “Although, that just means other kids have to step up.”

All four teams will travel to Grayling for Saturday’s individual district.

Negaunee 37, Menominee 15

171 — T. McCollum, N, forfeit

189 — Helppi, N, pinned Braxten Silkworth, 1:58

215 — Van Buren, N, pinned Shaw, :25

285 — Dunstan, N, forfeit

119 — Freeman, M, forfeit

130 — Bretl, M, dec. Lauer, 12-11

135 — J. McCollum, def. Crawford, 11-9 (OT)

140 — Huesinger, M. pinned Schouten, in overtime

145 — Prusi, N, pinned Smajkel, 2:31

152 — Reno, N, dec. Primley, 9-1

Gladstone 42, Kingsford 36

160 — Bird, K, forfeit

171 — Servant, G, pinned N. Johnson, 1:12

189 — Peterson, K, pinned Potier, 2:28

215 — E. Johnson, K, pinned Noblet, 3:51

285 — Wilson, K, pinned Depuydt, 2:40

103 — Terrien, G, forfeit

112 — Hansen, G, forfeit

125 — A. Solis, G, forfeit

130 — H. Solis, G, forfeit

135 — Cox, G, forfeit

140 — Detiege, G, forfeit

145 — Wilcox, K, forfeit

152 — Maki, K, forfeit

Gladstone 37, Negaunee 30

171 — Helppi, N, forfeit

189 — Servant, G, dec. Keough, 11-2

215 — Potier, G, pinned VanBuren, 1:50

285 — Noblet, G, dec. Dunstan, 5-1

103 — Terrien, G, forfeit

112 — Hansen, G, forfeit

125 — A. Solis, G, forfeit

130 — H. Solis, G, pinned Lauer, 1:04

135 — J. McCollum, N, pinned Cox, 2:50

140 — Schouten, N, forfeit

145 — Prusi, N, pinned Detiege, 1:31

152 — Reno, N, forfeit


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