Freshman Connor Tulenchik pinned Jack Fuchs of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton to win the true second match, and earn a trip to the Class 2A state tournament, at 138 pounds at the Section 8-2A individual tournament on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Hawley.
Tulenchik, 35-9 overall, will compete in the state individual tournament at 9 a.m., Friday, March 1, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
"Connor went into the tournament with a lot of confidence," said Road Crew coach Travis Hoffarth. "He did lose in the semifinals to (Fabyon) Greer of Detroit Lakes. We had a good scouting report on (Greer), but in trying to key in on his weakness, we found ourselves get away from our strengths."
Tulenchik bounced back by winning his remaining matches, including earning a major decision over Coltan Satter of Perham 12-3 in the third place match. The win set up the true second match against Fuchs.
"Connor is best when he is aggressive, and after (losing to Greer) we made sure he got back to his offense," Hoffarth said. "Once he won his third-place match, and realized he had a true second match, he found a dark corner to get focused on the final task."
Tulenchik had lost to Fuchs 7-1 during the regular season at the Big Bear tournament in Cass Lake and was edged by Fuchs 10-8 in overtime in the finals at Lake Park.
"We knew that Connor had closed the gap on (Fuchs), and had him on his back in the overtime match," Hoffarth said. "Things didn't look good as Connor found himself on his back in the second period, but did a great job of getting off his back, which gave him new life. Connor went into the third period down 5-0, but he never panicked. He flipped the switch in the third period and got two takedowns and in the process dumped him to his back and got the fall. The place went crazy. It's one for the memory books. To make it (to state) as a freshman is big. It sets the stage for the rest of his career."
The Road Crew had five wrestlers finish in fourth place, including Jake Poehler, who lost the third-place match by injury default.
"Jake had an amazing season," Hoffarth said of the junior. "He ended up with 39 wins. Unfortunately, he injured his elbow in the wrestleback semifinals and had to default. Not reaching his ultimate goal of making it to state will only add fuel to the fire for Jake's off-season workouts."
Others placing fourth were freshman Caleb Ruhl (113), junior Evan Koering (132), junior Keenan Dahl (182) and junior Josh Pettit (220). Ruhl and Pettit each finish with 29 wins while Koering and Dahl had 26. The Road Crew's Harley Large (145) and Corbin Knapp (195) both place fifth.
"Overall we had a really great weekend," Hoffarth said. "I'm proud of how hard we battled this season. We had 10 place winners, and eight of them return next year."
Hoffarth added that Pequot Lakes will host next year's section individual tournament.
"We told the kids that should be all the incentive they need to work hard in the offseason," he said. "They can punch their tickets to the state in front of the home crowd at the section meet."
Section 8-2A individual tournament
Road Crew final matches:
106 - 5th place: Brodie Strand (Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton) dec. Owen Carlson (Road Crew) 4-0
113 - 3rd place: Griffin Lundeen (Thief River Falls) dec. Caleb Ruhl (Road Crew) 7-2
132 - 3rd place: Blake Weber (Detroit Lakes) pinned Evan Koering (Road Crew) 2:49
138 - 2nd place wrestleback: Connor Tulenchik (Road Crew) pinned Jack Fuchs (D-G-F) 5:20; 3rd place: Connor Tulenchik major dec. over Coltan Satter (Perham) 12-3
145 - 5th place: Harley Large (Road Crew) dec. Andrew Wetli (United Clay Becker) 3-1
152 - 3rd place: Kaden Hartwell (Fergus Falls) injury default over Jake Poehler (Road Crew)
170 - 5th place: Kyle Miller (Thief River Falls) dec. Tim Ryan (Road Crew) 3-2
182 - 3rd place: Jack Hensel (Park Rapids) dec. Keenan Dahl (Road Crew) 4-1
195 - 5th place: Corbin Knapp (Road Crew) pinned Tyson Back (Fergus Falls) 2:40
220 - 3rd place: Mason Iverson (Thief River Falls) pinned Josh Pettit (Road Crew) :55