Gazette's Prep Peak Performer of the Week: Peter Isais, Pine Creek wrestling

0
Photo - Pine Creek wrestler Peter Isais , for the second year in a row has won his competition in the 160 lb. category. He is the Peak Performer for the week.  photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
Pine Creek wrestler Peter Isais , for the second year in a row has won his competition in the 160 lb. category. He is the Peak Performer for the week. photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

Wrestling is in Peter Isais' blood. It's a family tradition, and he has certainly made his family proud.

The Pine Creek senior defeated Cheyenne Mountain's Zac Baker by a 13-6 decision to win the 160-pound 4A state championship. It was his second straight state title - he also won the 5A crown at the same weight class last season.

"It's an amazing feeling to know that all your hard work and effort that you put in - in the weight room and wrestling room - paid off," Isais said. "The beauty of wrestling is that it's an individual sport, so when you go out there, it's all on you. After winning one title, your name is out there, and you have a target on your back."

The target on his back didn't matter at his final state tournament. Isais lit up the scoreboard in his first two matches, winning by tech falls of 21-1 and 18-3. He won a 4-1 decision in the semifinals before coasting in the finals.

"Peter is consistent, and he doesn't make mistakes - which makes him hard to beat," Pine Creek coach Billy Gabel said. "We had a really good game plan going into the match to make sure he capitalized on any bad shots his opponent took. He scored the majority of his points at the end of rounds."

Wrestling runs in the family. Isais' father, Pete, won back-to-back state titles at Fowler High School in 1986-87, exactly 30 years before his son did the same.

Pete is the director of national events for USA Wrestling, and also was an assistant coach on three national title-winning teams at North Dakota State University.

"I've been wrestling since I was 3 years old, and I grew up around the sport," Peter said. "When I was 3, my first wrestling partner was a stuffed dog that was about 3 feet tall. I'd put on my dad's size 10 wrestling shoes and go wrestle on the mat with the dog."

Wrestling that stuffed dog was the beginning, and a dominant high school career - which will leave an impact on the Pine Creek program for many years after Isais is gone - is probably the end.

"He's an example of if you keep working hard and doing the right things, you will be successful," Gabel said. "When the young guys in the program are watching Peter at the state tournament, they're setting goals for themselves. I always tell the seniors to leave the program better than you got it. It's about leaving a legacy and passing on leadership, character and integrity."

Here's where the story takes an unforeseen turn - Isais will not be wrestling at the college level next fall. Instead, he'll be a preferred walk-on for the North Dakota State football team.

Isais was one of the best wide receivers in 4A this past season, catching 61 passes for 898 yards and 13 touchdowns to help the Eagles to their third state title in four years.

"I love wrestling, and I'm not closing the door completely on doing it again, but I feel like football is a better option for me in college," Isais said. "But I'll still be checking in on the guys on the wrestling team at Pine Creek next season, that's for sure."