Mountaineers, Knights to state
ROGERS CITY – Iron Mountain’s Jared Gauthier placed second and four other area wrestlers also qualified Saturday for the MHSAA Division 4 individual wrestling state finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
In a Division 4 regional, Gauthier (40-2) gained another state berth by posting a 2-1 record. Hesperia’s Zack Yates pinned Gauthier and Mountaineer teammate Alex Edwards (37-4), who registered a 3-1 mark and also qualified for state.
Yates is the state’s top-ranked wrestler at 119 pounds.
“Gauthier and Edwards have been wrestling outstanding and are ready for the state finals,” Mountaineer coach Brandon Rutter said. “We are looking forward to see what they can do in the finals.
“Even though two qualifed for the state finals, the team as a whole wrestled well.”
Iron Mountain’s Corbin Henkel, 1-2 at 130; Tanner Chouinard, 1-2 at 135, and Jacob Weslin, 0-2 at 140, also wrestled in the regional.
Chouinard lost in the semifinal consolation round to Ishpeming’s Jonathan Willey. Chouinard held a 6-4 lead in the final seconds before a Willey headlock triggered a 9-6 decision.
“Tanner was our only senior on the team and we wanted to push him through to the finals,” Rutter said. “Tanner’s loss was a tough one to take as a coaching staff. He did everything right the entire match and made one mistake at the end.
“Tanner turned in a great season and will be missed.”
Three Norway wrestlers – sophomore Taylor Bonetti (37-16), 2-2 at 152; sophomore Jacob Rehn (30-13), 1-2 at 171, and senior Cayleb Winkler (29-13), 2-2 at 125 – placed fourth at the regional and qualified for state.
“It was exciting for the boys,” said Knights coach Nick Burklund, noting they all qualified by winning their second match in the blood round. “They knew to qualify for states they had to win two matches before they lost two, and in that blood round, the deciding match, they really stepped it up.
“Both Jake Rehn and Cayleb Winkler dominated matches.”
Bonetti was losing in the third round by 2 points with less than a minute left. A reversal and two near fall points gave Bonetti the lead and match.
Norway freshman Zac Decremer (103) picked up a first round win but then lost his last two to keep him from advancing.
“Zac wrestled really tough all day through a shoulder injury,” Burklund said. “I cant say enough about that kid’s heart. He never gave up. I sure am glad he’s only a freshman because he’s got a very bright future.”
Norway’s two other wrestlers, Jake Wetsel (130) and Kasey Siegle (285), “both wrestled well but both fell short in their first two matches.”
In the Division 3 regional at Kingsley, Kingsford’s Keaten Parent, 1-2 at 125, and Harley Winters, 215, did not advance to state.
State individual meet is slated to begin Thursday, Feb. 28.