Pirates take down Fosston/Bagley, 54-18, roll into semifinals
The Crookston wrestling team was surely disappointed to let a chance at a top seed in the Section 8A Team Tournament slip away when it lost to Frazee and United North Central last Thursday.
That quickly turned to excitement Friday, when the Pirates found out who they'd be wrestling in the first round.
Crookston received the No. 4 seed and drew No. 5 Fosston/Bagley in Monday's section quarterfinals. It was the same first-round matchup as last season, when the Brawlers upset the Pirates, 36-34, at CHS and ended their team campaign early.
"That was not the way that we wanted our season to end last year," said Crookston coach Wes Hanson. "Tonight we knew we had to come out and wrestle well ... and the team that did knock us out last year, I think our guys used that as a little added motivation."
It seemed to show. The Pirates won 10 matches, six coming by pin, to cruise to a 54-18 victory over the Brawlers and advance to Thursday's section semifinals.
Crookston (20-10) had previously beaten Fosston/Bagley in a triangular on Feb. 18. The score then was 48-27, and the Pirates needed a forfeit and two pins in their last three matches to pull away.
It was a decisive victory nonetheless, and Hanson wanted to replicate it. Most of the Pirates' wrestlers competed at the same weights they wrestled at the last time they faced the Brawlers, the lone change being Ethan Boll moving down from 220 pounds to 195 pounds.
"Overall, that's what we looked back on and said, 'Hey, it worked last time, let's try it again,' " Hanson said.
On Monday, it worked even better. A big reason why was the return of Evin Trudeau to the lineup at 106 pounds. The freshman had missed the initial dual, enabling Fosston/Bagley to jump out to a 6-0 lead thanks to a forfeit. This time, Trudeau turned the tables, making a big move at the start of the third period to pin Noa Halberg.
"Right away, that was a game-changer," Hanson said.
From there, Crookston didn't look back. Carter Coauette and Zach Brown both made quick moves to pin their opponents in less than a minute at 120 and 126 pounds, respectively. Ethan Bowman beat Zach Thompson by decision at 132 pounds.
The Brawlers picked up a couple wins in the early matches, but they didn't come easy. Nolan Dans took Aiden Wolfe, who he lost to in February, down to the wire at 113 pounds before losing by decision. At 138 pounds, Cameron Weiland, who had previously been pinned by Keegan Senger, took Senger the distance. While Weiland lost by decision, he earned plenty of applause afterwards for a gutsy match.
"Even the matchups that we lost, I felt like we were highly competitive," Hanson said.
Braxton Volker won by forfeit at 145 pounds, and Spencer Ness repeated his success against Kaden Sanford, winning a close 3-1 decision at 152 pounds. At 160 pounds, Hunter Knutson toppled Jayce Thompson, earning his 50th career victory and putting the Pirates up 36-6.
Fosston/Bagley won the next two matches, but Crookston closed the door at the heavy weights. Boll pinned Jessie Beckman in just 25 seconds at 195, Hunter Kresl won by forfeit at 220 and Greg Gonzalez once again defeated Alex Hagen with a fall in the first period.
"They have some guys that are good at trying to get those first attacks off," Hanson said of the Brawlers. "Our guys did a good job of having defense on that first attack and looking to score on their own. That's something we knew was coming, and I thought our guys responded well."
The win ensured the Pirates will get another shot at Frazee, this time in the section semifinals. Last Thursday, the Hornets beat Crookston, 42-33, en route to earning the No. 1 seed and dropping the Pirates all the way to fourth.
So it seems fair to assume Crookston will be taking a little extra motivation into Thursday's match. Just as it was against Fosston/Bagley.
UP NEXT: Crookston travels to Frazee for the Section 8A Team Semifinals on Thursday. Should the Pirates win, they would advance to the state preliminaries at Cass Lake-Bena on Saturday.
"I feel like we had a really strong showing tonight," Hanson said. "We got to build off of that, watch some film on the last time we met up with Frazee .... drop a couple practices, and then hit the road and go wrestle."
No. 2 seed United North Central hosts No. 3 Badger/Greenbush-Middle River in the section's other semifinal.
CROOKSTON 54, FOSSTON/BAGLEY 18
- 106 pounds: Evin Trudeau (Crookston) over Noa Halberg (fall 4:55)
- 113 pounds: Aiden Wolfe (F/B) over Nolan Dans (dec. 10-6)
- 120 pounds: Carter Coauette (Crookston) over Jakob Rudie (fall 0:49)
- 126 pounds: Zach Brown (Crookston) over Curt Green (fall 0:30)
- 132 pounds: Ethan Bowman (Crookston) over Zach Thompson (dec. 7-2)
- 138 pounds: Keegan Senger (F/B) over Cameron Weiland (dec. 7-2)
- 145 pounds: Braxton Volker (Crookston) win by forfeit
- 152 pounds: Spencer Ness (Crookston) over Kaden Sanford (dec. 3-1)
- 160 pounds: Hunter Knutson (Crookston) over Jayce Thompson (fall 2:27)
- 170 pounds: Carter Sorenson (F/B) over Cade Coauette (inj. default)
- 182 pounds: Dane Schoenborn (F/B) over Cade DeLeon (fall 1:35)
- 195 pounds: Ethan Boll (Crookston) over Jessie Beckman (fall 0:25)
- 220 pounds: Hunter Kresl (Crookston) win by forfeit
- 285 pounds: Greg Gonzalez (Crookston) over Alex Hagen (fall 1:35)
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