Wrestling: Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew advance to state after claiming Section 8-2A title
Team to make second state appearance in three years on March 2 in St. Paul
THIEF RIVER FALLS — The Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew are heading back to the state wrestling tournament after defeating the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels 36-23 in the Section 8-2A title match Friday, Feb. 17, in Thief River Falls.
It’s the second trip to state in three years for the Road Crew, who were seeded No. 2 in the East division while D-W-F was the No. 2 seed in the West. PL/PR-B advances to the Class 2A state quarterfinals at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 2, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
We let a match slip away at Perham in the regular season. That was a key moment in our season. It helped us refocus, and proved we needed to work harder.
Trey Tuchtenhagen’s pin at 182 pounds clinched the victory against D-G-F. The Road Crew’s Easton Miller, Parker Zutter and Chance Abraham also had pins against the Rebels.
“We knew that we matched up well with D-G-F,” Road Crew coach Travis Hoffarth said. “Our kids did such an amazing job of limiting their bonus points. We only gave up one fall in the finals.”
The Rebels downed Perham 34-21 in the West semifinals, and Hoffarth said his team was “ready to face either team” in the final.
“We let a match slip away at Perham in the regular season,” Hoffarth said of his team's only loss in 31 matches this season. “That was a key moment in our season. It helped us refocus, and proved we needed to work harder. (D-G-F) really came on strong at the end of the season. We felt they were favored against Perham in the semifinals since they defeated them earlier in the season.”
The Road Crew opened the title match with Trevor Holmberg winning by decision at 106.
We told the kids that the last team standing in our section was going to be the winner of our semifinals match. The kids wrestled so well and fought for every point.
“Trevor did a great job of getting the fire started,” Hoffarth said. “It was important to win the first match since we were favored in the next two. Leading 15-0 after three weight classes was a key. We then put James Cummings in at 152, and bumped our next three guys up a weight class. James came out with a lot of fire, and wrestled well. James lost 7-2, but he really took the wind out of their sails.”
Abraham won by fall and Earl Stockman triumphed by decision, setting the stage for Tuchtenhagen’s title clinching win by fall over Cole Julin.
“Trey entered the match with 49 pins in his career, and found the best time to celebrate his 50th fall,” said Hoffarth, who added that his squad was focused on advancing to state. “Before sections, the team met in our wrestling room, and I showed them an open spot on the wall that is spaced out for one more state tournament record board. I told them their names would be going in that spot, and told them that we ‘hunt until the job is done.’ They won the section, and now ‘the hunt’ continues.”
The Road Crew’s most competitive match of sections came in the East semifinals earlier in the day when they defeated the No. 1 seed and defending section champion Thief River Falls Prowlers 35-30.
“We told the kids that the last team standing in our section was going to be the winner of our semifinals match,” Hoffarth said of facing TRF. “The kids wrestled so well and fought for every point.”
The Prowlers have been a key section rival for the Road Crew in recent years. The Road Crew defeated the Prowlers 43-25 to claim the section title in the 2020-21 season, and last year TRF edged the Road Crew 36-33 in the section final.
Hoffarth said a key match against TRF came at 126 pounds where freshman Owen Dabill rallied to win by fall.
“Owen who was a fill-in all season, and got a chance to slide into our lineup after an injury,” Hoffarth said of Dabill, who had a 9-6 record going into the semifinals. “He fought off a pin against Maverick Iverson in the first period, and was down 4-0 in the second period. He then found a way to take Iverson to his back, and get a huge fall. That put four wins in our back pocket and a 20-0 lead. We felt we had three more wins coming, so we were in good shape. However, TRF did a great job of limiting our bonus points.”
The match came down to heavyweight Riley Peters taking the mat with the Road Crew leading 32-30. Last year, Peters was pinned in the deciding match against TRF.
“We were ahead 33-30 last season when Riley was pinned,” Hoffarth said. “I was nervous for him, and I was hoping that he was in a great frame of mind, just knowing the pressure that was on him. Riley found himself in a 3-1 deficit late in the second period, but he was then able to take Jackson Ingram from his feet to his back for a takedown and a two-point near fall. Riley was leading 7-5 with time winding down before a takedown as time expired gave him a 9-5 victory, and revenge (from last year).”
On Thursday, Feb. 16, Zutter pinned his opponent in 24 seconds as the Road Crew defeated the East No. 3 seeded Alexandria in the quarterfinals. Miller, Sean Kilpatrick, Abraham, Corbin Knapp, Payton Scott and Peters also won with pins. Finishing 3-0 at sections were Zutter, Miller, Abraham, Tuchtenhagen and Knapp.
The Road Crew will compete at the section individual tournament at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 in Detroit Lakes. Top records include: Zutter 41-0, Miller 38-2, Knapp 37-3, Abraham 34-2, Tuchtenhagen 34-6, Peters 33-8, Brady Ruhl 27-13, Sean Kilpatrick 25-15, Stockman 24-8 and Holmberg 24-14.
SECTION 8-2A CHAMPIONSHIP
PL/PRB 36, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 23
106: Trevor Holmberg (PLPRB) dec. Kayleb Kosen 7-1
113: Parker Zutter (PLPRB) pinned Gabe Schmitz 0:28
120: Easton Miller (PLPRB) pinned Sam Schmitz 0:28
126: Jacob Luebke (DGF) tech. fall Owen Dabill 16-1
132: Alex Anderson (DGF) dec. Sean Kilpatrick 3-2
138: Austin Lenhart (DGF) dec. Grant Thompson 7-3
145: Brady Ruhl (PLPRB) dec. Camden Mustachia 7-4
152: Roy Rude (DGF) dec. James Cummings 7-2
160: Chance Abraham (PLPRB) pinned Joey Arends 2:54
170: Earl Stockman (PLPRB) dec. Thomas Thureen 8-1
182: Trey Tuchtenthagen (PLPRB) pinned Cole Julin 1:19
195: Corbin Knapp (PLPRB) dec. Jordan Summers 1-0
220: Caleb Johnson (DGF) dec. Payton Scott 7-5
285: Bryce Fischer (DGF) pinned Riley Peters 5:27
PL/PRB 35, Thief River Falls 30
106: Holmberg (PLPRB) major dec. Damien Kazmierczak 11-1
113: Zutter (PLPRB) major dec. Nick Svir 16-5
120: Miller (PLPRB) pinned Landen Larson 3:20
126: Dabill (PLPRB) pinned Maverick Iverson 4:44
132: Noah Jacobson (TRF) pinned Kilpatrick 3:49
138: Keigan Hermanson (TRF) dec. Thompson 12-9
145: Kale Geiser (TRF) dec. Ruhl 5-2
152: Abraham (PLPRB) dec. Ethan Lane 5-0
160: Griffin Lundeen (TRF) pinned Stockman 1:55
170: Damon Ferguson (TRF) pinned Paxton Goddard 0:18
182: Tuchtenhagen (PLPRB) dec. Riley Possant 9-6
195: Knapp (PLPRB) pinned Josh Herrera 0:48
220: Carter Engebretson (TRF) pinned Scott 0:56
285: Peters (PLPRB) dec. Jackson Ingram 9-5
PL/PRB 52, Alexandria 21
106: Nolan Fettig (A) pinned Holmberg 3:10
113: Zutter (P) pinned Ty Larson 0:24
120: Miller (P) pinned Logan Timm 2:00
126: Mason Mcgrane (A) pinned Dabill 2:59
132: Kilpatrick (P) pinned Isaac Saffert 4:31
138: Grant Thompson (P) dec. Zachary Brezina 7-2
145: Blaze Nelson (A) dec. Ruhl 3-0
152: Abraham (P) pinned Karl Franson 1:18
160: Stockman (P) major dec. Gavin Engelbrecht 11-0
170: Kelly Johnson (A) pinned Goddard 0:25
182: Tuchtenhagen (P) dec. Landon Seward 9-2
195: Knapp (A) pinned Jordan Nicholson 3:21220: Scott (A) pinned Cody Vatnsdal 1:18
285: Peters (P) pinned Luke Maanum 1:12
Pete Mohs, Brainerd Dispatch and Echo Journal publisher, may be reached at 218-855-5855 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Facebook.