Manistique High School senior Tanner Gonzalez returned home to a hero’s welcome on Sunday after winning a state wrestling championship Saturday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Gonzalez beat Johnathon Stid of Dansville High School, 5-4, in double overtime, to win the schools’ first-ever state title. He is just the third Upper Peninsula wrestler to bring home a state championship.
A celebration was held Sunday afternoon in which Gonzalez and his family was treated to a police and fire escort through the City of Manistique. Then there was a pizza party at the high school, attended by dozens of students and members of the community. In an interview with the Radio Results Network at the event, Gonzalez was excited.
“Winning states was fun, but coming back home to this is even better, I think, than winning the state championship itself,” Gonzalez said. “Seeing everybody here, and (reading) everything on Facebook, and everybody supporting me, is a great thing. It’s a small town, so to see all these people come here, and to have all the fire trucks and cop cars and ambulances, that was sweet!”
“Our town has had some hard times, with the paper mill being opened and closed over the past few years, and people being out of work,” Manistique High School Athletic Director Rob Ryan told RRN News. “And also, some of our team sports have not been real successful. We’re kind of going through a down cycle right now. So for Tanner to do what he did, and be so competitive and win, is really uplifting.”
Gonzalez says that his mother tried to hide the welcome home celebration from him, but he saw it on Facebook posts during the seven-hour ride back to the Upper Peninsula from suburban Detroit.