Connor Tulenchik went 3-0 and picked up his 75th career win for the Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew, who swept all three matches at their quadrangular wrestling match Friday, Feb. 1, in Pequot Lakes.
Tulenchik improved to 29-8 overall for the Road Crew, who defeated Sauk Rapids/Melrose 57-12, Roseau 42-24 and Fergus Falls 62-16.
"Connor (Tulenchik) has been a really good leader on and off the mat this season," said Road Crew head coach Travis Hoffarth, who also earned his 150th coaching win during the quadrangular. "We ask him to sacrifice a lot as we bounce him around our lineup. We have put him in at 138, 145, and 152 and he brings the same approach every time. Earning his 75th victory as a freshman is an outstanding accomplishment, but his ultimate goal is to be the all-time career wins leader in program history (currently held by Randy Rager) and get to the top of the podium at the state tournament before he walks out of our room as a senior."
As for the coaching win milestone, Hoffarth passed on the credit to many people.
"Coaching records are earned by the kids and people around you," he said. "I have been lucky enough to have kids who were consistently willing to work extremely hard. You get out what you put into this sport, and we have had a lot of kids since I came into this program who have amazed me with their dedication."
Hoffarth also credited former Road Crew head coach Tom Demars, who he replaced nine years ago.
"I'm also lucky to have had a mentor and friend in Tom (Demars) when I joined the program 13 years ago," he said. "I got to learn under him for a few years (before becoming head coach), and he really helped mold me and taught me some valuable lessons both in coaching and life."
Caleb Ruhl and Tim Ryan also finished 3-0 for the Road Crew.
"Caleb (Ruhl) has put together a breakout season," Hoffarth said. "He had a really nice junior high season last year, so we knew he was close. It was a case of carrying that confidence over to the varsity mat. We are now seeing him apply it and it is fun to watch.
"Tim (Ryan) was our lone healthy senior for Parents/Senior Night, and he finished out his home dual career with a nice win against his Sauk Centre-Melrose opponent. He controlled the tempo from the first whistle and really controlled the whole match. He is starting to peak at the right time."
Hoffarth added that he was worried about how his team would perform after not practicing for three days because of the cold weather conditions that canceled school.
"I was nervous about how we would respond," he said. "Wrestling is a sport that requires you to continue to drill and put yourself in situations throughout practice to keep your timing down. We knew that the teams coming in would have a few open weights, but sometimes that can have a negative impact on the kids as they relax. We reminded them that we had to keep our edge, and I thought we responded well. It also always helps to wrestle in front of the home crowd."
The Road Crew, 18-8 overall before wrapping up the regular season against Sebeka Tuesday, Feb. 5, is scheduled to compete at the Section 8-2A team competition on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Road Crew individual results:
106: Owen Carlson 2-0
113: Caleb Ruhl 3-0
120: Grant Thompson 2-1
126: Finnegan O'Dell 1-1, Chance Abraham 1-0
132: Finnegan O'Dell 1-0, Evan Koering 2-0
138: Evan Koering 0-1, Connor Tulenchik 2-0
145: Connor Tulenchik 1-0, Matthew Foster 2-0
152: Matthew Foster 0-1, Logan Mejdrich 1-0
160: Jake Poehler 2-1
170: Tim Ryan 3-0
182: Keenan Dahl 2-1
195: Rylie Peters 1-0
220: Rylie Peters 1-0, Josh Pettit 1-1
285: Myca Reynolds 1-1