The Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestling team won the challenging Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational for the first time on Saturday, Nov. 30.
The meet had formidable competition with two schools ranked in the Guillotine wrestling magazine and two other teams, including the Road Crew, receiving honorable mention (Lean and Mean) voting in the preseason poll.
PL/PR-B triumphed with 211 points with last year’s Section 8AA champion and long-time rival Perham (rated eighth in the state) placing second with 180 points. Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale (Lean and Mean) was third with 157, and No. 12-ranked Thief River Falls was fourth with 145.
“We had 13 out of 14 places with 10 wins in the final round,” said Road Crew head coach Travis Hoffarth. “All the time we were looking at Perham since they also had a good final round.”
Road Crew champions were Anthony Phillipson (113 pounds), Triston Rubner (138), Nick Gravdahl (160), Ozzie Miller (170) and Jared Adkins (285).
Wrestling at 106 pounds, freshman Darion Anderson placed second while losing to the third-ranked Anthony Kern of B-H-V. Anderson, making his varsity debut, won his first match with a pin at 2:53 then won with a 4-1 score.
Philipson, ranked fourth at 114, won with pins in 41 and 38 seconds. He defeated Nesh Sovde from B-G-M 6-0 to place first.
“Anthony is a leader and works well with the wrestlers in the lower weights,” Hoffarth said.
Spencer Richards lost to Miquel Ambriz of LP/GE 9-3 to place fourth at a challenging 120 weight. Brandon Manger was fifth at 126 while Evan Gravdahl had a pin, but didn’t place at 132.
Triston Rubner defeated eighth-rated Austin Hjello from TRF to place first at 138. Rubner won his first match with a pin at 3:06 then registered a 10-1 major decision.
“Triston didn’t wait,” Hoffarth said. “He went right at his opponent and gave it his all in the final match.”
Trevor Johnson was third at 145. He had a bye, but then lost 7-4 against an eventual champion. He then won with a pin at 59 seconds, and then won the third-place match 7-1 over Zach Peterson of Perham.
Junior Dillon Nichols won an overtime match to fifth at 152.
Junior Nick Gravdahl won his opening contests at 160 with pins in 3:52 and 2:48. He then defeated Jake Brinkman from TRF 5-3 to place first.
Another Road Crew champion was Ozzie Miller at 170. He opened with two pins in 1:52 and 5:04. He defeated Dylan Huttunen of UNC 12-7 for the championship. Justin Mackenthun placed third at 182 as pinned Daron Sikorski of BGMR in 1:18. Mackenthun had lost to No. 7-ranked William Parks of Perham, but bounced back with a pin at 2:01 to reach the third-place match.
Freshman Chris Foster placed third at 195 as he defeated Charlie Nienbar of B-H-V. He lost his first match, received a bye and then advanced with a 10-0 win. The Road Crew’s Cadel Roader placed sixth at 220.
Jared Adkins opened with a bye at 285, and then won 3-1. In his final match, Adkins won 5-3 over TRF’s Chris Kucera 5-3, who is rated seventh.
“I’m extremely proud of the team,” Hoffarth said. “They came out in good (physical) condition. Other teams seemed winded in the third period, but our boys looked sharp.”
The Road Crew faces Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and Deer River on Thursday, Dec. 5, at Pine River-Backus. The match at Osakis on Tuesday, Dec. 3, was postponed because of inclement winter weather conditions.
Team scores: 1-Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus 211, 2-Perham 180, 3-Bertha Hewitt/Verndale 157, 4-Badger/Greenbush-Middle River 144, 5-Thief River Falls 141, 6-United North Central 132.5, 7-Long Prairie/Grey Eagle 83, 8-Staples/Motley 76.5, 9-Wadena-Deer Creek 34
106: Championship-Anthony Kern (BHV) pinned Darion Anderson (PL/PRB) 1:01
113: Championship-Anthony Phillipson (PL/PRB) Dec. Nash Sovde (BGMR) 6-0
120: Championship-Wyatt Becker (BGMR) Dec. Justin Gordon (BHV) 4-0; Third-Miguel Ambriz (LPGE) Dec. Spencer Richards (PL/PRB) 9-3
126: Championship-Stephen Holecek (TRF) Dec. Nick Kaml (BGMR) 3-0; Fifth-Brandon Mager (PL/PRB) Dec. Lee Hotakainen (WDC) 6-5
132: Championship-Noah Bernier (TRF) Dec. Sam Pirrotta (PER) 3-1
138: Championship-Triston Rubner (PL/PRB) Dec. Austin Hjelle (TRF) 8-6 OT
145: Championship-Devin Barthel (WDC) Dec. Creg Donabauer (LPGE) 7-5; Third-Trevor Johnson (PL/PRB) Dec. Zach Peterson (PER) 7-1
152: Championship-Collin Neitzke (PER) Maj. Dec. Ethan Kimber (BHV) 14-5; Fifth-Dillon Nichols (PL/PRB) Dec. Jeremy Miller (STM) 5-3 OT
160: Championship-Nick Gravdahl (PL/PRB) Dec. Jake Brinkman (TRF) 5-3
170: Championship-Ozzie Miller (PL/PRB) Dec. Dylan Huttunen (UNC) 12-7
182: Championship-William Parks (PER) pinned Hayden Truax (BHV) 1:12; Third-Justin Mackenthun (PL/PRB) pinned Daron Sikorski (BGMR) 1:18
195: Championship-Tristan Palmer (UNC) Maj. Dec. Jesse Klatt (PER) 14-0; Third-Chris Foster (PL/PRB) Dec. Charlie Nienaber (BHV) 10-4
220: Championship-Taylor Carlson (UNC) Default Dillon Card (BHV); Third-Caleb Monson (WDC) dec. Cadel Roeder (PLPRB) 13-6
285: Championship-Jared Adkins (PLPRB) Dec. Chris Kurera (TRF) 5-3; Third-Dalton Baker (BHV) pinned Landon Oshie (UNC) :23