The Pirates overcame a 14-0 deficit to extend their winning streak.
FERTILE - The main strategy for this nine dual win streak featured the light weights collecting points via pins and the heavier weights doing enough to preserve the lead and hold on for the win. The opposite happened against Fertile-Beltrami as the Pirates (10-2) came from behind to win 46-29.
“It was very exciting with it being a section opponent and the slow start we were off to and to rally back,” Head Coach Wes Hanson said. “Hats off to the upper weights and our upperclassmen. The four seniors in the lineup wrestled great and to win those duals, you need good senior leadership.”
The Falcons opened the match with three straight wins. Donte Yost (So. 106 pounds) beat Carter Coauette (7th Grade 106 pounds) by technical fall, Seth Lavalier (Fr. 113 pounds) took the lead in the final period over Ethan Bowman (8th Grade 113 pounds) to win 9-8 and Wesley Ramberg (8th Grade 120 pounds) pinned Nolan Dans (So. 120 pounds) at 3:51.
“I thought Carter Coauette fought really hard to not give up a pin,” Hanson said. “Ethan Bowman lost a heartbreaker. [Ethan] took him down to take the lead and he was riding and the kid got a reversal with about a second left. [Fertile-Beltrami] definitely had the momentum early.”
Trailing 14-0, Crookston came within striking distance after Zach Brown (So. 126 pounds) won by fall in the first period against Levi Qualley (Fr. 120 pounds). The pin gives Brown a season record of 21-1 and served as his 10th win by fall.
Down 6-2 in his match, Cameron Weiland (So. 132 pounds) followed suit with a pin over Hunter Hitchen (Jr. 132 pounds) in 48 seconds, and Crookston trailed 14-12 overall.
“Cam Weiland’s match was definitely the turning point for us and the highlight of the night,” Hanson said. “He was wrestling a very good kid, and Hitchen was a state participant last year. In that match, [Cam] was trailing by quite a few points early on. Cam’s a fighter, he’s strong and he’s got pretty good technique. So he was able to lock up a pretty tight hold and pick up the pin.”
Hunter Knutson (8th Grade 138 pounds) and Cade Coauette (So. 145 pounds) combined to make it four Pirate pins in a row. Knutson downed Ivan Nephew in 3:58 and Coauette won his match at 4:34 against Tyler Stuhaug to increase Crookston’s lead to 24-14.
Knutson collected his sixth pin on the season and Coauette was awarded his first.
“[Hunter and Cade] were very poised and didn’t get too aggressive,” Hanson said. “Sometimes when you force things, bad things can happen. I felt like in both matches, they were the better wrestlers and I was happy to see them stick to the game plan, grind out a few points and, eventually, mentally and physically exhaust their opponents, and then they were able to pick up six points.”
The Falcons ended the four match run with an 11-10 decision victory by Brandon Van Dan Einde over Damian Narvaez (Sr. 152 pounds) in overtime.
Crookston came right back with a win by fall for Lukas Meier (Sr. 160 pounds) at 1:45 against Alex Smith (Sr. 152 pounds). Ethan Boll (8th Grade 170 pounds) added four more points to the team score with a 9-1 major decision win over Gabe Horgeshimer and the Pirates had doubled Fertile-Beltrami 34-17.
Down to their last breath, the Falcons earned a much-needed win by fall with Harmon Liebl pinning Cade DeLeon (Fr. 182 pounds) in 1:15.
Damian Hodgson (Sr. 195 pounds) clinched the match for Crookston with his ninth pin of the year and defeated Dakota Qualley (Sr. 195 pounds) in 3:15.
Blake Fee (Sr. 220 pounds) tallied the Pirates’ seventh pin and won by fall over Jasper Olson at 1:38. The Falcons took the 285-pound match by default, but Crookston already locked down a 46-29 win.
“It was pretty neat,” Hanson said on Fee’s match. “They got into an upper body situation, and Blake was able to slip a headlock and earn a takedown. He was working for the turn and wasn’t able to break his opponent’s hips down. Once he was able to break his hips down, he worked for a half nelson. Blake was driving, eventually turned his opponent and it was a sweet way for us to end the dual.”
The Pirates will try to make it 10 straight dual victories when they travel to Roseau on Thursday, January 10. The match starts at 7 p.m.
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