ESCANABA - The Marquette Senior High School wrestling started off Thursday night with three straight pins to put itself ahead 18-0, but Escanaba's Bill Soper energized his whole team after winning his heavyweight match over Rainger Rossway.
After that, it was all Escanaba, as the Eskymos rolled to a 53-21 Great Northern Conference triumph.
"It was a good draw for them to start off at 171. Curt Calovecchi is a great wrestler," said Escanaba coach Jamie Segorski. "They followed it up with their 189-pounder who is pretty good, and then (Josef) Iwanicki who is a real good wrestler too. So we knew going in there that it was a tough draw. We got pinned by their heavyweight a few weeks ago, so it was a real big win for Bill, and he wrestled absolutely fantastic tonight."
Marquette heavyweight Rainger Rossway vies for position against Escanaba's Bill Soper during their match on Thursday in Escanaba. (Escanaba Daily Press by Justin Marietti)
As the heavyweight match reached its end, the entire Eskymos team was cheering him on, and the tone in the building seemed to change.
The next match featured the 112-pounder Trevor Irving, who pinned Marquette's Tyler Teneyck in 1 minute, 43 seconds. After a couple of forfeits by the Redmen, Escanaba had a 21-18 lead.
At 125 pounds, Hunter Moore of Marquette took on Zach Priebe in perhaps the most tightly contested match of the evening. Priebe built an early lead, but Moore came back with an escape to make it 13-10, and then pulled off a reversal in the final seconds. However, the late run came up just short, as Priebe took the match, 13-12.
Another forfeit from Marquette boosted the Eskymos to a 30-18 lead. Then Escanaba's Hunter Sadler pinned Ken Hubbard in 3:26, and Kaleb Rahoi earned a win by technical fall over Marquette's Brian Helmer Jr. in 2:22, giving the Eskymos a commanding 41-18 advantage in the contest.
At 152 pounds, Austin Johnson earned one final victory for the Redmen when he beat Alec Slaga by a 4-1 decision.
"They're a good team, we knew that coming down here," said Marquette coach Charlie Gentz.
"To me, tonight was just a gauge to see where we're at because realistically, we want to perform at our best when we see them at districts."