Wrestling: Road Crew 2nd at 28-team home meet

Road Crew Wrestling

The Road Crew coaching staff emphatically celebrates Chance Abraham's victory at the Jackhammer Invitational in Pequot Lakes on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. Lena Richards / Echo Journal Correspondent

Connor Tulenchik captured the title at 170 pounds to help the host Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew finish second at the 28-team Jackhammer Invitational Friday and Saturday, Dec. 17-18, in Pequot Lakes.

“Connor buzzed through his Friday competitors,” Road Crew coach Travis Hoffarth said of the senior. “On Saturday he had to turn it up a notch to defeat his Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa opponent, who was ranked No. 10 in Class A. And then Connor had a nice win in the semifinals against a Thief River Falls opponent who is ranked No. 3 in Class 2A.”

B-B-E finished first with 227 points, followed by the Road Crew 215.5 and Thief River Falls 213.5. Key victories in the team standings were Tulenchik earning an 8-3 decision over Cody Wienen of TRF in the championship match, and Austin Staricha (220) beating his TRF opponent for third place.

“The battle for the top four team positions came right down to the final few matches,” Hoffarth said. “B-B-E is ranked second in Class A, and has some top-notch kids. We lost two heartbreakers in the quarterfinals against them, and swung the standings in B-B-E’s favor. TRF is as tough as it comes between 138 to 182. Cody (Staricha) had a key pin at 220 against his TRF opponent to decide our second place team finish. It was a battle all weekend as Big Lake was breathing down everyone's neck right up until about 182 in the medal rounds.”

Hoffarth added that the tournament was a hint of the competition level for Section 8-2A.


“We know the section is lining up to be no different,” he said. “Thief River Falls, Detroit Lakes, Perham and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton are much improved. We are just taking it one day at a time and enjoying our success. Our schedule really gets difficult after the holidays, so we will be battle tested come mid-February.”

Finishing second for the Road Crew were Parker Zutter (106) and Easton Miller (113). Zutter dropped a 6-1 decision to Andover’s Brandon Board while Miller lost by technical fall against Christian Jelle of Hibbing in the title matches.

The Road Crew had some key team points earned at the heavier weights as Corbin Knapp (195) and Austin Staricha (220) both finished third and Riley Peters (285) was fourth.

“Corbin avenged a Friday loss to his BBE opponent by pinning the same kid for third place on Saturday,” Hoffarth said. “Austin had a nice weekend, and sealed our second-place team finish with a fall over his TRF opponent in his third-place match. Riley Peters had a nice tournament, and will continue to improve as he gets more mat time after missing some time due to a football injury.”

Hoffarth said his entire team contributed to the runner-up finish.

“It’s important to get victories even if you don't place in the top eight,” he said. “We had 10 kids place, but more importantly we had multiple kids finish 2-2 overall. Those kids that were just outside of the podium are the kids that helped solidify a team finish.”

The tournament had been hosted in Cass Lake in recent years, but switched to Pequot Lakes earlier this month.

“We had a great turnout, and I felt that the tournament really ran well for putting it together in three weeks,” Hoffarth said. “I think everyone involved should be proud.”


The Road Crew, who hosted a quadrangular on Tuesday, Dec. 21, are next scheduled to host TRF and United North Central at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4, in Pine River.

Team scores: Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 227, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 215.5, Thief River Falls 213.5, Big Lake 204.5, Hutchinson 133, Andover 128, Aitkin 125.5, Aitkin 125.5, Albany 109, Detroit Lakes 106, Crookston 104.5, Rock Ridge (Virginia Area) 98, Perham 84.5, Hibbing 76.5, Howard Lake-Waverly 74, Barnesville 69, New York Mills 67, Staples-Motley 60, Irondale-Spring Lake Park-St. Anthony Village 56, Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale/Parkers Prairie 55, Ottertail Central 52, Park Rapids 51, Deer River 43, Fergus Falls 34, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley-Nevis 30, United Clay Becker 21, Proctor-Hermantown 20, Crosby-Ironton 18, Fosston-Bagley 15

Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus results:

106: 2-Parker Zutter 4-1

113: 2-Easton Miller 4-1

120: Caleb Swenson 0-3


126: 8-Max Trumpold 3-3

132: 6-Caleb Ruhl 3-3

138: Karsen Kinyou 3-2

145: Korey Kinyon 2-2

152: 7-Chance Abraham 5-2

160: Earl Stockman 3-2

170: 1-Connor Tulenchik 5-0

182: 6-Trey Tuchtenhagen 4-3

195: 3-Corbin Knapp 6-1

220: 3-Austin Staricha 6-1

220: 7-Matthew Foster 4-2

285: 4-Riley Peters 4-2

Road Crew win twice

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, Parker Zutter and Easton Miller tallied two pins for the Road Crew as they defeated Alexandria 64-6 and Perham 50-23 at the Alexandria triangular. Caleb Ruhl, Korey Kinyon, Chance Abraham, and Connor Tulenchik each went 2-0 as the Road Crew improved to 6-0.

Road Crew results:

106: Parker Zutter 2-0

113: Easton Miller 2-0

120: Cayden Mick 0-1, Caleb Swenson 0-1

126: Sean Kilpatrick 1-1

132: Caleb Ruhl 2-0

138: Karsen Kinyon 1-1

145: Korey Kinyon 2-0

152: Chance Abraham 2-0

160: Earl Stockman 1-0, Colton Cain 0-1

170: Connor Tulenchik 2-0

182: Trey Tuchtenhagen 1-1

195: Corbin Knapp 1-1

220: Matthew Foster 1-0, Austin Staricha 1-0

285: Payton Scott 1-0, Riley Peters 1-0

The Road Crew's Chance Abraham locks in on his opponent in a 152-pound match at the Jackhammer Invitational in Pequot Lakes on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. Lena Richards / Echo Journal Correspondent

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