Prep wrestling: IM grappler wins Marquette Challenge title

MARQUETTE – Three Escanaba-area wrestlers were in the hunt, but came up a little short in their quest for individual titles in Saturday’s Marquette Challenge.

Escanaba junior Zach Priebe and senior Kaleb Rahoi and Gladstone senior Tom Bailey reached the championship round, each settling for runner-up honors under the spotlight in the Marquette High School gym.

New Lothrop took the home the championship trophy for the first time in 11 years with 246 points, followed by three-time defending champ Merrill, Wis., 204 and Grandville 155.

New Lothrop senior Josh Wendling, who won the 160-pound division, was selected Most Valuable Wrestler and Merrlll junior Scott Arneson received an award for the most pins. He pinned four opponents in eigth minutes, 10 seconds.

Gladstone placed sixth with 114 points and Esky took ninth at 79 1/2.

“A lot of things went good and a couple things went real bad for us,” said Gladstone coach Jesse DeBacker. “We had such a disappointing loss (at Escanaba) Thursday night. I think our kids knew what they had to do to step up, and we’re leaving this meet with a much better feeling. We need to stay focused and keep moving in the direction we’re going.”

Iron Mountain junior Jared Gauthier was the lone Upper Peninsula grappler to be crowned champion, taking an 8-4 decision from Gaylord senior Seth Lashuay in the 125 final.

“I was told by a couple coaches he liked to use the chest crusher,” said Gauthier, who overcame a 4-0 deficit. “Most of the kids in Gaylord use that. I knew what to expect. I was down 4-0, then got a reversal. That turned the tide bigtime. It’s very rewarding to come here and win my first Marquette Challenge, and do it against top-notch competition. This is what makes you better.”

Rahoi dropped an 8-2 decision to Sparta sophomore Joel Rees in the 145-pound final and Priebe got pinned 3:09 into the 130 final by Arneson.

Priebe reached the title match by taking a 9-0 decision from New Lothrop junior Dalton Birchmeier.

Priebe appeared to hold his own in the title bout, but surrendered takedowns to Arneson late in the first period and early in the second prior to being pinned.

Bailey was pinned at 1:37 into the 285 final by Merrill senior Tyler Schmidt, ranked 15th in the nation.

Additional Escanaba-area place winners include Gladstone’s Bobby Beauchamp (135) and Esky’s Travis Heller (160) in third, Gladstone’s Jeremy Kadish (152) and Jake Cronick (189) fourth and Esky’s Hunter Sadler (152) fifth.

Four other U.P. grapplers placed fifth. They were Iron Mountain’s Alex Edwards (119) and Jacob Weslin 145), Marquette’s Hunter Moore (130) and St. Ignace’s James Cryderman (160).