Bark River-Harris Honing In on Historic Opportunity

By John Vrancic
Special for

March 16, 2021

HARRIS — The Bark River-Harris wrestlers are gearing up for what they hope will be a historic postseason run.

BR-H will try to take the first step toward its goal when it travels to Manistique for the Division 4 Team District on Thursday.

Reigning District champ BR-H (21-2) faces the host Emeralds, and Iron Mountain meets Newberry at 6 p.m. The winners advance to the championship match at 7:30.

"This is definitely the best season we've had as a varsity program," said fourth-year coach Joe Racicot. "At the beginning of the season with the number of kids we had coming back, we thought we could be up near the top. Although, I wasn't sure we'd be 21-2. Many of the teams are shorthanded, although we're winning more matches than we're losing. We're heading in the right direction."

If the Broncos win the District, they would host the Team Regional for the first time March 24.

"It's going to be a challenge," said Racicot. "I have the utmost respect for the other coaches in our District. I've learned a lot from them. All of them are good friends and mentors to me. I'm one of the few coaches who didn't wrestle in high school because we didn't have a program here at that time. Although, it didn't take me long to fall in love with the sport."

Last year, the Broncos were crowned District champs for the first time in their 10-year history before falling to Onaway in a Regional opener.

Powers North Central sophomore Drew Allgeyer, who wrestles at BR-H through a co-op venture, is 23-0.

"We've been working hard," said Allgeyer, who will be wrestling at 160 pounds in the District and finished seventh at last season’s Finals at 145. "We have good practice partners and push each other every day. We're all helping each other to be the best we can be, which definitely pays off in competition.

"I have the strength for 171. I've been wrestling at 171 most of the year which helps me a lot,” he added. “All I want to do is have good matches. I always say I don't lose, I learn. There's always somebody better than you. That's big motivation right there."

Both of BR-H's losses this winter were to Division 2 Escanaba.

"We lost to them by six and 12 points," said Allgeyer. "They're the best team in the U.P., and they're well-coached. It's good for us to put up as much of a fight as we did, although none of this will mean anything once we get into the postseason when it really counts. Iron Mountain has a solid team. They and all the other teams will put their best lineup out there."

North Central junior Wyatt Raab (215) is 18-0 going into the postseason.

"This is the first time Bark River-Harris has had a chance to go to the state tournament as a team," he said. "We could also have the most individual qualifiers in school history. We're looking to make a lot of special trips this year.”

BR-H freshman Noah Gagne is pleasantly surprised by the Broncos' record.

"We have a lot of young guys this year," he added. "I thought we'd be pretty good, but not this good. Esky was definitely our toughest competition, and I think Iron Mountain is closer to us. “This has definitely been a learning experience for me. The older guys have been teaching me a lot of things. I've learned to be more confident. They told me to 'know what you're doing and try to listen to your coaches and teammates during a match.'"

Junior Avry Corrigan joined Allgeyer at last season’s Individual Finals. The Broncos this winter also have four girls, including junior captain Katie Viau and Melody Racicot who will be wrestling in Sunday's Michigan Wrestling Association girls state tournament at Highland.

"It's nice to see that growing," said coach Racicot. "We hope to eventually get a girls tournament in the U.P."

John Vrancic has covered high school sports in the Upper Peninsula since joining the Escanaba Daily Press staff in 1985. He is known most prominently across the peninsula for his extensive coverage of cross country and track & field that frequently appears in newspapers from the Wisconsin border to Lake Huron. He received the James Trethewey Award for Distinguished Service in 2015 from the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.

PHOTO: Drew Allgeyer’s arm is raised in victory after one of his wins last season during the Individual Finals at Ford Field. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

Performance of the Week: Iron Mountain's Shayna Hruska

January 27, 2023

Shayna HruskaShayna Hruska ♦ Iron Mountain
Junior ♦ Wrestling

With an 8-2 decision win in the 106-pound final Saturday, Hruska became the first female champion at the annual Upper Peninsula Championships, and she then was selected the event’s “Outstanding Wrestler” for going 3-0 also with pins in her first two matches of the tournament. Those victories improved her record to 18-6 this season.

Hruska began wrestling in third grade and finished fourth at 97 pounds as a freshman at the 2021 Michigan Wrestling Association Girls Championships. She then finished second at her District to reach Regionals competing in the bracket with the boys last season. She entered last week’s U.P. Championships title coming off a runner-up finish at the Escanaba Elks Invitational on Jan. 7 and the championship at 106 at Kingsford’s Ray Mariucci Wrestling Invitational on Jan. 14.

@mhsaasports 🤼‍♀️POW: Shayna Hruska #performanceoftheweek #wrestling #upchampionship #outstandingwrestler #congrats #meetchamp #uppower #mountaineers #ironmountain #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp @shaynahruska ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.

MI Student Aid's "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

2022-23 Honorees

Jan. 19: Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

(Photos courtesy of the Iron Mountain High School athletic department.)