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Wrestling: Road Crew first at Minnewaska meet

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Road Crew Wrestling
PR-B senior Connor Tulenchik emphatically cheers on Chance Abraham during the Road Crew's home meet on Tuesday, Jan. 4.<br/>
Lena Richards / Echo Journal Correspondent

The Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus wrestling team’s success continued this past week as the Road Crew added to its list of tournament wins and triumphed in four of five dual meets to improve to 13-1 overall. Helping the Road Crew dominate this past week, which included winning the Minnewaska tournament, were Parker Zutter, who compiled an 8-0 record, Austin Staricha 7-0, Connor Tulenchik and Corbin Knapp both 7-1 and Riley Peters and Caleb Ruhl, who each won six matches.
“It really was a great week,” said Road Crew head coach Travis Hoffarth. “We saw some new competition and different styles, and that will bode well for the end of the season. We keep talking about how we must stay focused on our goals.”
The Road Crew will wrestle at Minnewaska on Thursday, Jan. 13, and at the Lake Park-Audubon invitational Friday, Jan. 14.

Road Crew 1st at Minnewaska
On Saturday, Jan. 8, Zutter, Chance Abraham, Tulenchik, Knapp, Staricha and Peters all placed first in their respective weight classes as the Road Crew took the top spot in the six-team Minnewaska tournament.
Staricha won at 220 with three pins, Knapp with three pins at 195, Zutter with three pins at 106 while Abraham tallied two pins and a sudden victory at 152.
“The team got a taste of section tournament time,” Hoffarth said of the busy week. “We finished up the Osakis duals on Friday, went to our hotel to get some rest, and then we had the first whistle blow at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Having the experience of back-to-back days of heavy competition is important in preparing for mid-February. The team put together a nice tournament, and had 11 kids get to the finals.”

Team score: 1-PL/PRB 250, 2-Minnewaska 229, 3-Alexandria 138.5, 4-Badger-GB-MR 95, 5-Redwood Valley 94, 6-Red Rock Central 90
106: 4th-Trevor Holmberg 2-2, 1st-Parker Zutter 3-0
113: 2nd-Easton Willer 2-1
120: 5th-Tayten Mick 2-2
126: 2nd-Max Trumpold 2-1, 3rd-Sean Kilpatrick 3-1
132: 2nd-Caleb Ruhl 2-1
138: 2nd-Brady Ruhl 2-1
145: 2nd-Korey Kinyon 2-1, 3rd-James Cummings 3-1
152: 1st-Chance Abraham 3-0
160: 5th-Earl Stockman 2-2, 4th-Eli Abraham 2-2
170: 1st-Connor Tulenchik 3-0
182: 4th-Trey Tuchtenhagen 2-2
195: 1st-Corbin Knapp 3-0
220: 3rd-Matthew Foster 3-1 , 1st-Austin Staricha 3-0
285: 1st-Riley Peters 3-0

Road Crew 2nd at Osakis
On Friday, Jan. 7, the Road Crew finished second with a 2-1 record at the Osakis dual tournament. The Road Crew defeated Canby 52-15 and Long Prairie/Grey Eagle/Browerville 36-33 before being edged by the Kimball Cubs 31-30.
The loss to Kimball, the defending Class 3A state champion, was the Road Crew’s first defeat in the first 14 matches this season.
“We found ourselves in a heated battle that went back and forth,” Hoffarth said of facing the Cubs. “Kimball did a nice job of limiting our bonus points in a few spots as we missed out on three major decisions by one takedown. That would have been the difference in the match, but our kids still put us in a situation to win and put it on Riley Peters shoulders in the heavyweight match. Riley won, but the Kimball wrestler did a great job of staying off his back and only gave up a decision and we ended up being one-point short. It was a great match and our kids learned that every point counts.”
The Road Crew had opened with a dominating win over Canby and a close victory over LP/GE/Browerville.
“We started the tournament against Canby and looked flat,” Hoffarth said. “We got the job done, and then we addressed what we needed to do better in the next match, and the kids responded.”
“(LPGE/B) had tough wrestlers from 113-132 pounds, and they built a 24-6 lead. But our kids didn't panic. Everyone stayed positive on the bench and the kids kept chipping away. We got some nice wins and some bonus points to climb into a 36-30 lead going into heavyweight. We let Riley (Peters) know if he won or didn't get pinned then we would win. He had a chance to win the match, but fell short. In the end he did his job of staying off his back, and assured us of the team victory.”

Road Crew sweeps triangular
On Tuesday, Jan. 4 in front of a large crowd in Pine River, Zutter, Max Trumpbold, Knapp and Peters all registered two pins for Class 2A’s fourth-ranked Road Crew defeated Class 2A’s seventh-ranked Thief River Falls Prowlers 46-29 and Class 1A’s seventh-ranked United North Central Warriors 51-18 in a non-conference triangular.
“It was the largest crowd for a wrestling match in Pine River in my memory,” Hoffarth said. “That crowd helped fire the kids up. The lightweights set the tone in each match as we built a large lead. That was key since we knew both teams had some of the best kids in the state in the middle weights. Our middleweights did a great job of limiting the bonus points, and our upper weights finished off the dual with bonus points. It was exciting to see so many people from our community show up to support this team.”

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Road Crew 152-pounder Chance Abraham hooks the leg of his opponent during the Road Crew's home meet on Tuesday, Jan. 4.
Lena Richards / Echo Journal Correspondent

Road Crew results:
106: Parker Zutter 2-0
113: Easton Miller 2-0
120: Caleb Swenson 0-1, Tayten Mick 0-1
126: Max Trumpbold 2-0
132: Caleb Ruhl 2-0
138: Karsen Kinyon 2-0
145: Kory Kinyon 0-2
152: Chance Abraham 0-2
160: Earl Stockman 0-2
170: Trey Tuchtenhagen 1-0, Conner Tulenchik 1-0
182: Trey Tuchtenhagen 1-0, Conner Tulenchik 1-0
195: Corbin Knapp 2-0
220: Austin Staricha 1-0, Matthew Foster 0-1
285: Riley Peters 2-0

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