The Crookston wrestling team opened the season this week by competing in the United North Central Quad in Menagha on Thursday, and the Hillsboro Tourney in Hillsboro, N.D. on Saturday.

The Pirates competed in three duals in Menagha. They lost their first two duals to hosts United North Central, 54-19, and Blackduck-Cass Lake-Bena 35-25. They closed the night, however, with their first dual win, a 51-24 victory over Park Rapids.

In Hillsboro, Crookston went 2-3 on the day. It began the day with a 51-21 win over Grafton followed by losses to Central Cass and LaMoure, both by the score of 48-36. The Pirates defeated Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 48-36, before losing their last match to New York Mills, 59-18.

"We were really excited to take the mat for the first time this season," said head coach Wes Hanson. "It's very rewarding to be able to put your hard work from the offseason and practice so far on display. They were ready to wrestle."

On Thursday, the Pirates started out against United North Central with wins by Nolan Dans at 120, Zach Brown at 126 and Cameron Weiland at 132, before UNC took eight of the last nine matches to run away with the win. Crookston took a 25-23 lead into the final two matches against Blackduck before falling due to two straight pins. The Pirates won 10 of 14 matches against Park Rapids, and of the four they dropped, two were by forfeit.

"The guys showed some explosive takedowns from the neutral position, did some good things with their mat wrestling, but we still have a lot to perfect before being able to wrestle a technically sound, six-minute match," Hanson said. "I was happy with their competitive mindsets."

Crookston went into Saturday shorthanded, with a handful of open weights, but Dans, Ethan Boll and Ethan Bowman powered the team by going 5-0. All three wrestlers earned All-Tournament as a result.

Boll, a freshman, got his 50th career win on Saturday. He normally wrestles at 182 pounds, but won against New York Mills at 195 to cap off a stellar day. Hanson was also impressed by Dans, who won four of his five matches by pin.

"After the first week of competition we've learned our defense needs some improvements," Hanson said. "We've also had some guys emerge as wrestlers we can count on in duals, and when we get momentum rolling it's a lot of fun."

UP NEXT: The Pirates head to Grand Forks on Tuesday, Dec. 10 to compete in the Border Battle starting at 6:45 p.m.

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