The Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestlers split a Mid-State Conference triangular against Wadena-Deer Creek and Detroit Lakes on Friday, Jan. 31. The Road Crew dominated the Wolverines 72-4, but was edged by Detroit Lakes 40-22.
Road Crew coach Travis Hoffarth expected the match against the Lakers to be close.
”We were missing four from our starting lineup and put in (junior varsity) wrestlers,” he said. “Last year, we defeated Detroit Lakes (36-27) during the season, but they defeated us 33-22 in the section semifinals.”
In past years, the Road Crew had struggled against powerhouse W-DC squads.
Winning both matches for the Road Crew was Anthony Philipson (113 pounds), Spencer Richards (120), Ozzy Miller (160) and Justin Mackenthun (195).
Against W-DC, Peter Koring (106) won by forfeit as did Philipson and Richards. Another newcomer, Lucus McCoy, lost 14-2.
Evan Gravdahl (132) was behind 5-0 after the first period, but came back and scored 11 points to defeat Carter Wright 11-9. Senior Jace Loge, back for the first time since surgery, defeated Devin Barthel 9-4.
Wrestling at 152, Nick Gravdahl won with a pin at 1:04. Miller needed just one minute to get his pin. Leading 9-0 after the first period, Mackenthun went into the second period to get his pin at 3:09.
The score against Detroit Lakes isn’t indicative of the wrestling, and the outcome wasn’t realized until the match at 220.
Koering lost 9-1, but was never in a position to get pinned. Philipson won his match 8-0 against Payton Jackson. In an even contest Richards needed a takedown in the third period to come away with a 3-1 victory. McCoy was then pinned.
Evan Gravdahl trailed 4-0 when he got his opponent in a tight cradle. Moving his adversary to his back, Gravdahl’s shoulders touched first and he was declared pinned by Luke Payne. That was a potential 12-point swing.
Devyn Richards was behind 2-1 going into the third period. His opponent got a reversal, three near-fall points and a takedown while Richards had an escape, reversal and three near-fall points. Richards had his opponent on his back as the buzzer sounded, but lost 9-7. Loge got the first takedown, but ended up losing 7-2.
Nick Gravdahl had defeated ranked Parker Jackson at conference. This time Parker claimed a 14-9 decision. Jackson was good on his feet and was good at countering Gravdahl’s aggressiveness, using takedowns to score.
In another close contest, Harrison was edged 11-10. With 28 seconds remaining, and both wrestlers on their feet, Harrison worked hard to get a takedown but fell short.
Justin Neumann (182) earned an 8-3 win, and Mackenthun won by forfeit, but the Road Crew trailed 28-22 with two weights remaining. Cadel Roeder was behind 2-0 after one period, but in the second period he had his opponent on his back for two points, but couldn’t hold it and ended up losing to a pin. The Road Crew then chose to forfeit the heavyweight match.
The Road Crew, 4-1 in the conference and 15-3 overall, will wrestle at Bemidji on Thursday, Feb. 6.