While Friday saw each of our area high school basketball and wrestling events either postponed or cancelled, Saturday brought some exciting events headlined by the North Central Conference Wrestling Tournament from Clarion-Goldfield-Dows High School in Clarion.
The day started with many milestones waiting to fall. By the end of it the 9th and 10th 4-time NCC Champions would be crowned and in the finale a decorated wrestler would earn his 150th victory during the 285 pound championship.
The Webster City Lynx would start out strong, sending 7 total wrestlers into the semifinals but ultimately only 3 of them would advance to the finals.
At 106, Cam Phetxoumphone avenged an earlier loss at the Don Miller Invitational as he manhandled Humboldt Jr. Cole Nelson to the tune of a 9-4 decision to send him to the finals.
At 120, Drake Doolittle Sr. Drake Doolittle started off his big day by pinning Hampton-Dumont’s Carl Barkema late in the 1st period to propel him into the finals.
At 126, 2nd seeded sophomore Chase Rattenborg traded blows early with Clarion Goldfield Dows Sophomore Bryce Allen before Allen took a 9-8 lead late into the 3rd period. Rattenborg would turn the tides with 20 seconds left scoring a takedown into a 2 point near-fall to tie the match but with 3 seconds left Allen got the escape to send Chase into the consolation bracket with the 9-8 decision. Rattenborg would run through the consolation bracket and get an unlikely pin of IF-A’s Jack Ites while Chase was down by a handful nearing the midway point of the 3rd period to become the Lynx only 3rd place finisher.
Sr. Dalton Peck started strong for the Lynx but was pinned late in the 1st period by Humboldt’s Tyler Vitzthum. A victory in the consolation bracket was followed by a 2nd period pin at the hands of HD’s Caleb Tabot to place Peck in 4th for his final NCC tournament.
At 160 Sr. Sean Godfredsen made the semi’s where he was decked by Clear Lake Sophomore Thomas Gansen to send him to the consolation bracket where, like Peck, he would take a 2nd period pin, Godfredsen’s at the hands of IF-A Sr. Levi Henderson.
Sr. Michael Gilbert drew the tough task of wrestling 182’s top-seeded Sam Wigans of CGD and Wigans would finish the match in the 1st with a late pin. Gilbert would fall to Clear Lake’s Dylan Kruckenberg before defeating HD’s Gavin Walker for the 2nd time of the day with a 3rd period pin to finish 5th.
At 195, Caleb Olson came in as the #2 seed and wrestled a plucky senior in the form of CGD’s Colby Lienemann. Olson stayed disciplined and took the points given him for a 5-0 victory to send him to the finals.
The Lynx were vacant at 220 but at 285 Gage Rossing would take 3 losses to finish 6th.
Webster City wouldn’t have to wait long as their first finalist hit the mat to kick things off at 106. Freshman Cam Phetxoumphone entered the conference tournament with a 26-4 record and hadn’t taken a loss since the calendar flipped to 2019. Cam entered as the 2-seed behind IFA’s Brody Hoversten in a bracket that featured 3 wrestlers ranked by both ThePredicament.com and IAWrestle.com. Ultimately Phetxoumphone would have his way with unranked HD Sophomore Jakyb Kapp as the Lynx low-weight came away with the pin just 22 seconds in. The league title is the first for Cam but undoubtedly won’t be his last.
Here’s Camron Phetxoumphone talking about what it meant to him to earn his first conference title:
The next title for the Lynx involved a familiar face not only for Webster City fans but North Central Conference wrestling aficionados in general. Sr. Drake Doolittle has had his way with the yearly league contest and its entrants since he entered the league tourney as a freshman back in 2016. On Saturday, Drake would cap off a conference tournament career that has seen him become just the 9th NCC wrestler and 1st Webster City grappler ever to step to the top of his podium 4 consecutive times. Doolittle wrestled scrappy CGD Cowboy freshman Garrett Seaba, who himself was going for the 30th victory of his freshman season. The championship bout would end with a 12-6 score in favor of Doolittle but ultimately that score would make it appear to be a closer match than it was. Doolittle quickly scored 2 takedowns just to allow Seaba the escape but the match was never in doubt, until the briefest of moments in the 3rd. Doolittle had Seaba on the mat an pinned Seaba’s arm to his chest before rolling him over for back points. For the slimmest of seconds Seaba slipped out of the hold and turned over on top of Doolittle who quickly rolled to his stomach to give up the reversal before going out of bounds. Ultimately, Doolittle would get the escape on the restart and ride the clock out for the 6-point victory to become the first Lynx wrestlers to gain a title in each NCC tournament he took part in. After Clear Lake’s Eric Faught became the 10th NCC 4-timer following his 132-pound victory, both wrestlers were honored with a standing ovation.
In this interview after the match Drake Doolittle remained humble as always but did crack a smile when asked where he’s gonna put all these title brackets.
And in the final championship match that would feature a Lynx wrestler, 6th ranked Sr. Caleb Olson battle 5th ranked HD Sr. Dalton Chipp for the 2nd time this season. The two met at a triangular dual in at Webster City High School on January 3rd with Chipp coming out on the right side of a tight 5-4 decision. This time around Olson would take his first lead in the rivalry, going up 7-5 late in the 2nd but momentum would swing the wrong way. An escape to start the 3rd and an early takedown gave Chipp an 8-7 lead that he would carry until the waning moments when Olson attempted a desperation shot that was countered by the Bulldogs senior to secure his 10-7 victory and 2nd consecutive NCC Championship. Olson was the Lynx lone runner up on the day and sits at 27 and 3 this season.
Here is Lynx head Coach Chad Hisler on the day that was at the North Central Conference Tournament.
The Lynx would finish 5th of 8 in team points while Clarion Goldfield Dows would finish on top. Clear Lake finished in 2nd, with Hampton-Dumont 3rd, and Humboldt 4th.
The Webster City Lynx wrestlers will be back at it Tuesday night when they host Roland-Story for a dual and then will head to Story City Saturday for the Norsemen Duals to close out the regular season before the sectional tournament starts February 2nd.