Prep wrestling: Pins, forfeits help Marquette outlast Ishpeming to win Marquette County title

ISHPEMING – The result might’ve been impressive, but the coach wasn’t convinced.

Marquette Senior High School wrestling coach Tony Gentz said there was a lot of room for improvement after the Redmen defeated Ishpeming, 51-30, in the championship match of the Marquette County Meet at Westwood High School on Monday.

Part of his reasoning was a closer look at the matches, where Ishpeming pinned four Marquette opponents. MSHS more than made up for it with three pins of their own plus five forfeit victories that are worth just as many points as a pin.

“I’m not really pleased,” Gentz said. “We came out against Negaunee and we wrestled some good quality matches.

“Then against Ishpeming, we had (four) guys get pinned. Getting pinned isn’t acceptable in a dual match. It’s something we need to work on.”

He softened his criticism a bit by saying he has nine regulars who are wrestling in their first or second years.

“I was pleased with the effort, but the execution of our game plan needs some work,” Gentz said.

This meet, somewhat unusual as it was a set of dual matches, used a revolving set of byes with five teams that also included Negaunee, Westwood and Gwinn.

In the first round, Marquette earned a bye while Negaunee defeated Gwinn and Ishpeming dropped Westwood. The Patriots took out the Modeltowners in the consolation match. Scores weren’t available from these matches.

In Round 2, Ishpeming earned the bye as Marquette outlasted Negaunee, 56-15, setting up the championship between the Redmen and Hematites.

Three MSHS wrestlers each had two match wins Monday – Brian Helmer had a pin and technical fall at 152 pounds, Ricky Baker two pins at 171 and Beau Caster two pins at 135.

The finals, which began at the 140-pound level, started with three pins by Ishpeming in the first four matches by Johnathan Willey at 140 pounds, Jordan Tousignant at 145 and Nate Meyer at 160.

In between, Helmer recorded a pin to keep the Redmen within hailing distance. The two teams were still even 30-30 after 10 matches, Ishpeming adding a pin by Alec VanHorn at 285 and a forfeit, while MSHS picked up a pin by Baker and three forfeits.

But the Redmen took the final four divisions which included a pin by Caster and a decision by Cole Arnsten at 125.

While Ishpeming, Negaunee, Westwood and Gwinn have matches Wednesday or Thursday, all these teams and 13 others from around the Upper Peninsula will converge on Marquette for the U.P. Championship tournament on Saturday.