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Five Crookston wrestlers ranked in preseason polls, Pirates receive votes in team rankings

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Sophomore Ethan Boll wrestles in last season's Section 8A Individual Championships. Boll is ranked No. 2 in Class A at 195 pounds coming into this season.

For the Crookston wrestling team, 2020-21 might be the most highly anticipated season in years.

While the Pirates fell in the Section 8A quarterfinals to Fosston-Bagley last season, they sent five wrestlers to state — their most since 2011. With all five state qualifiers returning and only one senior gone from last year's team, Crookston looks primed for not only more individual success, but maybe a run at a team section championship.

The Guillotine appears to agree.

The website, which covers Minnesota high school wrestling, released its first preseason rankings Wednesday, ranking the top 12 teams in Class A, AA and AAA and within those classes, the top 10 wrestlers at every weight class.

Five Pirates — Cameron Weiland, Ethan Boll, Ethan Bowman, Nolan Dans and Zach Brown — were ranked at their respective weights, while as a team, Crookston was named one of nine "Lean and Mean" teams — teams that didn't crack the Top 10, but received votes.

Zach Brown, ranked No. 6 at 126 pounds, will look to make it four section championships in a row this season.

Boll is the highest-ranked Pirate, ranking No. 2 at 195 pounds. As a freshman last year, Boll wrestled mostly at 182 pounds, qualifying for state by finishing second at the Section 8A Championships. Boll placed sixth at state and finished with a record of 39-8.

Bowman, ranked fourth at 120 pounds, is the next highest. He made it to state at 113 pounds as a freshman by placing second in Section 8A, and finished the season with a 35-11 record.

Ethan Bowman is looking to build off of a freshman season in which he went 35-11 and qualified for state.

Brown is Crookston's most experienced wrestler, having made it to state three seasons in a row. He'll begin his senior season ranked sixth at 126 pounds, where he'll be looking to win a fourth straight section championship and add to his 137 career wins — 10th all-time in Pirate history. Last season, competing at 120 pounds, he had a record of 35-11 and finished fifth at state.

Dans didn't make it to state last season, but was one of the breakout stars of the team, placing fourth at the section meet to earn All-Conference honors. As a junior, he had a record of 33-12, and as a senior, he's ranked No. 7 at 132 pounds.

Cameron Weiland comes into his senior season ranked No. 8 at 138 pounds.

Weiland tied a school record with 28 pins last season, and placed fifth in Section 8A at 132 pounds. After posting a 34-15 record as a junior, he comes into his final high school season ranked eighth at 138 pounds.

Crookston has plenty of depth behind its five ranked wrestlers to justify its team placement, too. Carter Coauette (Fr.) and Hunter Knutson (So.) made it to state last season at 106 and 145 pounds, respectively. Braxton Volker (So.) nearly made it there at 138 pounds, finishing third in the section.

Nolan Dans, ranked No. 7 at 132 pounds, had a breakout season as a junior, going 33-12 and earning All-Conference.

The Pirates look just as strong when measured against the rest of Section 8A. They return more state qualifiers this season than anyone — Red Lake County Central brings back four, while Frazee and defending section champ Badger/Greenbush-Middle River both have three. They also have more wrestlers ranked in the preseason polls than anyone (RLCC comes closest, with four).

BGMR and United North Central joined Crookston as Section 8A teams in the "Lean and Mean" category.

Overall, just five teams in Class A — No. 5 GMLOS, No. 2 Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, No. 12 Kimball Area, No. 1 LPGE-Browerville and Medford — have more wrestlers ranked than Crookston. 

The Pirates will open their season Thursday, Dec. 10 with a triangular at home against Thief River Falls and United Clay-Becker.

The Times welcomes your feedback. You can send any comments or questions to our office at (218) 281-2730 or sports editor Jacob Shames at jshames@crookstontimes.com.

Follow along on Twitter @crookstonsports and @Jacob_Shames for all the latest stories and live game updates.