The Madison Bulldogs wrestling team returned to the mats and faced a pair of Dakota XII Conference foes in Vermillion on Tuesday night.
Madison edged Vermillion 42-40, while the top-ranked Class B Canton C-Hawks beat the Bulldogs 66-12.
This was the first action for the Bulldogs since Dec. 18.
"I thought that we were very sluggish and not at the best of our abilities," Madison Coach Chris Waba said. "We were able to get enough pins against Vermillion to secure the win, but we almost gave up just as many."
Getting pins for the Bulldogs were Truman Stoller (120), Isaac Henry (126), Sam Olson (138), Jess Englert (145), Lucas Johnson (182) and Tyler Reck (220).
After Vermillion recorded two pins to begin the match, Stoller got the Bulldogs on the board with a 3:14 pin against Connor Peterson.
Henry followed with a 3:24 pin over Hunter Lavin to knot the team score at 12-12.
After another Tanager pin, Madison recorded two straight pins to regain the lead at 24-18. Olson pinned Rollie French in 52 seconds while Englert followed with a 1:13 pin against Felix Perez.
Vermillion recorded two pins and a major decision to gain a 34-24 lead with only four matches remaining. Johnson recorded a 1:38 pin over Ethan Kerkhove, but Madison still trailed.
Alex Swedlund received a forfeit win at 195 to put the Bulldogs back on top 36-34.
Reck picked up a 2:39 pin against Roz Baylor and the Bulldogs stretched their lead to 42-34.
Vermillion received a forfeit win at 285 to close the match.
"We will need to see some improvement with staying off our backs if we want to continue to win close duals in the future," Waba said.
Madison recorded just two forfeit wins against Canton. Caleb Hodges (106) and Carson Wolf (113) received the forfeit wins for Madison.
"Canton is at a whole other level than we are," Waba said. "Their kids are aggressive and physical. We need to match their intensity in and out of season if we are going to close the gap. I felt we were in better shape, but we just could not match the physicality that they bring with them."
Madison will go to Hartford for the West Central Tournament on Saturday with action starting at 9 a.m.