The seventh-seeded Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestling team is making their debut at the Class AA state team tournament against a program that’s no stranger to state competition when they face the second-seeded Foley Falcons at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27.
The Road Crew (18-4 overall) advance after winning their first Section 8AA title. The Falcons (25-3) will be making their seventh consecutive trip to state and 21st overall. Foley finished second in Class AA in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, and were third last season.
“It’s all about peaking in the playoffs,” said Road Crew coach Travis Hoffarth. “(The section team tournament) was the first time we wrestled with our full lineup all year. We finally had the kids healthy and in the right spots.”
The Road Crew has two individual section champions, Anthony Philipson at 106 pounds and Justin Mackenthun at 282 and a runner-up in Jared Adkins at 285. Top records for the Road Crew are Philipson 30-2, Mackenthun 29-3, Triston Rubner 20-5, Nick Gravdahl 32-7, Jared Adkins 25-7 and Ozzy Miller 31-9.
The Falcons have six individual section champions – Tyler Funk (126), Carter Nielsen (152), Luke Kelvington (170), Tyler Midas (182), Mitch Struffert (195) and Mitch Keeler (285). The top records are Nielsen at 34-2, Midas 33-3, Funk 24-4 and Keeler 36-5.
Other quarterfinal matchups include: No. 1 Simley of Inver Grove Heights (23-3) vs. No. 8 Dawson-Boyd/Montivedio (28-4); No. 2 Kasson-Mantorville (22-6) vs. No. 4 Totino Grace (16-4); and No. 3 Scott West (21-2) vs. Milaca/Lake Christian (23-9). Kasson-Mantorville is the defending state champions while Simley was runner-up.
A welcome home for the Road Crew will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, at Pequot Lakes High School.