The Crookston wrestling team competed at the Border Battle in Grand Forks on Tuesday evening, splitting a pair of duals with Grand Forks Central and Grand Forks Red River.

The Pirates lost a close one to Grand Forks Central, 42-37, before a 50-24 win over Grand Forks Red River. They improved to 4-6 in duals this season.

"We always really look forward to the annual border battle and it's fun to see how we stack up each year," said Crookston head coach Wes Hanson. "We were hoping to clean up some areas technically from our competition last weekend. We knew we had to wrestle well to beat Grand Forks Central."

Crookston had a solid start against the Knights, winning four straight matches from 120 pounds to 138, three of them pins. However, the Pirates dropped two matches to forfeit, which eventually proved to be the margin of victory.

Against Red River, Crookston came out red hot with seven straight wins as the Pirates cruised to their fourth dual win.

"Our guys don't quit when they give up a takedown or get behind," Hanson said. "It seemed as matches went on we were able to gain momentum."

Six Pirates won both their matches on Tuesday: Carter Coautte at 120, Nolan Dans at 126, Zach Brown at 132, Braxton Volker at 138, Hunter Knutson at 160 and Ethan Boll at 182. Dans has been Crookston's most consistent wrestler thus far, and is off to a 10-0 start on the season.

Hanson believes his team's biggest strength at this point in the season is its fitness, which allows Crookston to have success late in matches. He noted that the Pirates have scored far more than their opponents when on their feet.

Hanson said after Saturday's duals in Hillsboro that he was looking for defensive improvements, and while he still thinks his wrestlers can be better defensively, he was pleased with what he saw in Grand Forks.

"The guys showed they can be coachable," Hanson said. "We defended and were able to score in some situations we bailed on earlier in the season. Countering takedowns was a position we were much improved on."

UP NEXT: Crookston takes on Thief River Falls on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in its home opener.

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