Connor Tulenchik won the 120-pound title to lead the Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestlers to a fifth-place finish at the season-opening Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 2.
"Connor started the season the same way he did last season by winning the championship at Wadena-Deer Creek," Road Crew coach Travis Hoffarth said of Tulenchik. "Connor was the champion at 106 pounds last season as a seventh grader. I told him he has a chance to do something rare - win six (W-DC) tournament titles in his career. He's in great shape and does a good job of capitalizing on his opponent's mistakes. He also has a knack for creating opportunities in crunch time."
The Road Crew's Addisuone Harrington (126), Jake Poehler (145), Peter Koering (160) and John Urseth (220) all finished third.
"Addisuone (Harrington) arrived on day one of practice ready to outwork everyone, and he has really been a leader in our room," Hoffarth said. "Jake (Poehler) is going to be a key to our success as he finds ways to earn bonus points in key spots. He will improve with another full season of varsity under his belt.
"Peter (Koering) had a good summer camp, so I was hoping that would transfer into our school season, and it did. Peter knows his style and does a few things really well in all the phases - top, bottom and neutral position.
"John (Urseth) is another guy that came in extremely hungry for his senior season. He has improved so much and has gained confidence."
Hoffarth added that he was pleased with his team's performance to open the season.
"We had nine of the 12 weight classes finish in the top six," he said. "Overall, we are in pretty good shape. We will have to dig a little deeper, but I felt we really held our own. We have a few guys in our lineup who will get valuable varsity experience, which improves us both now and in the future."
The Road Crew's Caleb Ruhl (106), Austin Staricha (113) and Harley Large (152) won their first varsity matches of their careers.
"We also had Colton Anderson make a return to the mat after a three-year layoff," Hoffarth said. "He wrestled really well and got in the win column to finish sixth."
The Road Crew is scheduled to wrestle at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley on Thursday, Dec. 7.
Team scores: 1-Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 207, 2-Thief River Falls 191, 3-Badger Greenbush/Middle River 165.5, 4-Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale 146, 5-Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 123, 6-United North Central 113, 7-PIerz 110.5, 8-Staples-Motley 99.5, 9-Wadena-Deer Creek 54
106: Caleb Ruhl (Road Crew) 1-2 overall
113: 6-Austin Staricha (Road Crew) 1-3
120: 1-Connor Tulenchik (PLPRB) 3-0
126: 3-Addisuone Harrington (Road Crew) 3-1
138: Zach Tulenchik (Road Crew) 0-2
145: 3-Jake Poehler (Road Crew) 3-1
152: Harley Large (Road Crew) 2-3
160: 3-Peter Koering (Road Crew) 4-1
170: Keenan Dahl (Road Crew) 0-2
182: 6-Colton Anderson (Road Crew) 1-3
195: 4-Josh Pettit (Road Crew) 1-2
220: 3-John Urseth (Road Crew) 3-1