Crookston wrestling competed at the 62nd annual Skip Nalan Invitational in Grand Rapids on Saturday, finishing fourth out of 15 teams with 129 points.
The Pirates were led by freshmen Ethan Bowman, who won the championship at 113 pounds, and Ethan Boll, who won at 182.
Bowman won his first two matches by pin before a 14-3 major decision in the semifinal. He then took down Virginia's Asher Hedblom in the championship match with a pin at 4:57.
Boll had a first-round bye and a quick pin in the second round before winning a nailbiting semifinal over Wadena-Deer Creek's Cody Wheeler by 3-2 decision. He capped off his day with a third-period pin of Jacob Lomen of Fosston-Bagley to win the championship.
"Both those guys did a fantastic job of holding solid position the entire tournament," said Crookston head coach Wes Hanson. "Staying in good position the entire time bodes well especially late in matches. Both of their best performances were in the finals which is a testament to their ability to execute under pressure."
In addition, Carter Coauette (Fr.) had a solid tournament, finishing in third place in the 106-pound weight class after a semifinal loss.
"He displayed some great defense and offense throughout the day," Hanson said. "If he can put it all together he will be real tough to beat as the season goes on."
Zach Brown (Jr.) and Cam Weiland (Jr.) placed fourth at 120 and 132 pounds respectively. Both wrestlers made it to the semifinals after getting pins in their first two matches, but dropped their last two bouts.
Cameron Hulst (Sr.) and Greg Gonzalez (Jr.) placed fifth at 145 and 220 pounds respectively, both losing their first matches of the day before ending on hot streaks. Hulst won his final four matches while Gonzalez won his final two.
"Cameron Hulst had a solid tournament. He was relentless throughout the day, especially in the top position," Hanson said. "Greg Gonzalez really competed hard as well by battling back for fifth place."
Other Pirate wrestlers included Spencer Ness at 120 pounds (1-2 on the day), Nolan Dans at 126 (0-2), Cade Coauette at 145 (0-2), Hunter Kresl at 160 (0-2), and Layten Fuentes at 195 (0-2).
Host Grand Rapids won the event with 193 points.
Overall, Hanson saw plenty of positives to take away from the Pirates' performance.
"I thought our mat wrestling was much improved from earlier this year," he said. "We were able to score from bottom and finished periods in the top position consistently. Our guys also wrestled with a bonus point mentality."
UP NEXT: Crookston is back in action on Thursday, Jan. 30 with a dual at Badger/Greenbush-Middle River, the defending Section 8A champions. On Saturday, Feb. 1, the Pirates will compete at the Northwest Invitational in Fertile, currently their last event scheduled before the playoffs begin on Feb. 11.
"We have a big week of competition this week, and then will focus on peaking our wrestlers so they can be ready for the postseason," Hanson said.