GRIMES - Ted Larson muttered under his breath and plenty of his wrestlers sent steam out of their ears as they stewed in the bleachers at the midpoint of Saturday's Dallas Center-Grimes Mustang Invitational.
The defending tournament champion, Webster City's goal of repeating was already gone. The Lynx were in fourth place and already more than half of the 14-man roster had taken up occupancy on the backside of the bracket.
"I wasn't very happy," Larson, the Lynx head coach, said. "We had some matches that we should have won, but didn't."
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS heavyweight Landon Johnson (top) squeezes the fight out of Panorama’s Garrett Johnston and records the fall during the semifinal round on Saturday in Grimes. Johnson went on to win gold.
But the anger only fueled WCHS the remainder of the way, as the Lynx turned the corner and lived up to their coach's expectations, particularly in the final round, to storm up to second in the final standings with 187 points.
Senior heavyweight Landon Johnson scored a takedown in the final 15 seconds of his championship bout to beat 10th-ranked (2A) Ben Burnett of Carlisle, 3-2, to push the Lynx past West Marshall (185 points) by 2 points.
WCHS went 9-5 in the final round, keyed by gold-medal performances from Johnson and second-ranked (3A) 182-pounder Dylan Fielder, who fought off Grinnell's Jack Leshen, 3-1, in the feature bout.
1. Creston/Orient-Macksburg 250; 2. Webster City 187 ; 3. West Marshall 185; 4. Dallas Center-Grimes 171; 5. Grinnell 144; 6. Interstate 35 136; 7. Panorama 103; 8. Carroll 90 ; 9. Carlisle 88; 10. Nevada 82; 11. Des Moines East 68; 12. North Polk 33.
106 - 1st: Austin Pontier (I35) major dec. Chase Erickson (NP), 10-1; 3rd: Carter Robbins (DCG) major dec. Stone Hammons (CREST), 9-1; 5th: Andrew Straw (WC) pinned Will Raley (NEV), 3:29; 7th: Devlen Fisher (DME) pinned Conner McKay (GRIN), 0:30.
113 - 1st: Wyatt Thompson (CREST) dec. Brad Yakle (I35), 10-8; 3rd: Trevor Murano (DCG) injury def. Evan Rix (NEV); 5th: Freddie Seely (WC) pinned Vlad Dimit (GRIN), 5:45; 7th: no match.
120 - 1st: Justin Kaltved (CARR) major dec. Cole Needham (WM), 13-0; 3rd: Dalton Kies (GRIN) pinned Erik Tanner (NEV), 3:58; 5th: Kruz Adamson (CREST) pinned Dalton Kardell (DCG), 3:47; 7th: Gage Sadler (WC) pinned Justin Firebaugh (PAN), 1:47.
126 - 1st: Matt Schmitt (DME) dec. Spencer Wray (CREST), 6-5; 3rd: Michael Barr (PAN) pinned Evan Dreessen (CARR), 0:44: 5th: Zach Ross (DCG) pinned Vinnie Wilcox (CARL), 1:00; 7th: Collin Oswald (WC) pinned Hunter Beard (NEV), 1:59.
132 - 1st: Josh Crawford (GRIN) major dec. Gage Cheers (CREST), 11-3; 3rd: Chad Berrey (WM) pinned Tanner Hanson (NEV), 4:58; 5th: Andy Raudabaugh (DCG) pinned Jovonte Lawrence (DME), 4:25; 7th: Ryan Elmquist (CARR) dec. Ryan Ferrari (WC), 6-4.
138 - 1st: Kyle Blocker (WM) major dec. Tanner Hild (WC), 12-2; 3rd: Hunter Grunsted (PAN) major dec. Garett Jay (GRIN), 12-4; 5th: Nick Brushaber (DCG) dec. Joey Hunington (CREST), 6-3; 7th: Luke Murray (CARL) dec. Traye Pelzer (NEV), 13-7.
145 - 1st: Jake Marlin (CREST) pinned Brody Beck (GRIN), 1:23; 3rd: Josh Davis (DME) pinned Jesse Anderson (DCG), 1:32; 5th: Jared Johnson (WM) dec. Jake Powers (WC), 10-4; 7th: Isreal Drikx (CARR) dec. Chance Becker (CARL), 7-2.
152 - 1st: Tanner Arnold (WM) dec. Sal Arzani (I35), 5-3; 3rd: Alex Oswald (WC) dec. Trevor Tucker (PAN), 9-4; 5th: Jesse Rathje (CREST) dec. Landon Schuessler (NP), 3-2; 7th: Jacob Maasen (CARR) dec. Dannon Anderson (NEV), 4-1.
160 - 1st: Dale Hilleman (WM) major dec. Blake Wolinski (DCG), 13-5; 3rd: Adam Baker (CREST) dec. Blake Lingenfelter (NEV), 2-0; 5th: Brandon Patten (WC) major dec. Trevor Schneider (GRIN), 13-4; 7th: Chase Reynolds (DME) injury def. Andrew Burnett (CARL).
170 - 1st: Devin Chesler (WM) pinned Trevor Frain (CREST), 0:57; 3rd: Connor Larson (WC) major dec. Dakota Clausen (DCG), 10-1; 5th: Damon Piatt (CARL) dec. Bryce Lidtka (GRIN), 6-0; 7th: Tommy Bregar (I35) pinned Dayne Sly (NEV), 2:33.
182 - 1st: Dylan Fielder (WC) dec. Jack Leshen (GRIN), 3-1; 3rd: Ethan Jones (I35) major dec. Nathan Stickley (CARL), 8-0; 5th: Cole Baker (DCG) pinned Seth Maitlen (CREST), 5:08; 7th: Colby Woodvine (PAN) dec. Brandon Overman (WM), 5-2.
195 - 1st: Keaton Hulett (CREST) pinned Taylor Hein (PAN), 2:30; 3rd: Tyler Lester (I35) dec. Gus Gasca (WC), 7-4; 5th: Jose Zombrano (CARR) pinned Jason Whited (DCG), 4:27; 7th: Joey Hinds (CARL) DQ Anthony Clayton (GRIN).
220 - 1st: Cole Tanner (CREST) pinned Devin Ginn (DCG), 2:40; 3rd: Lonnie Harper (I35) pinned Bailey Brockman (WM), 0:29; 5th: Austin Warrington (GRIN) injury def. Chris Goodrich (WC); 7th: Brent Wernimont (CARR) pinned Elijah Brandow (CARL), 3:59.
285 - 1st: Landon Johnson (WC) dec. Ben Burnett (CARL), 3-2; 3rd: Garrett Johnston (PAN) pinned Bobby Heilman (I35), 2:21; 5th: Nathan Robinson (CREST) pinned Zack Beyerink (CARR), 0:23; 7th: James Long (WM) pinned Tanner Hoffstetter (GRIN), 2:39.
"We fought back well, and we've always kind of had it where we don't lay down and we keep fighting," Larson said. "We needed a good final round and we got it.
"Dylan and Landon both had great days for us. We needed that last win out of Landon, and Dylan was in control all day."
Fourth-ranked (2A) Creston/Orient-Macksburg led wire-to-wire and took home the biggest trophy with 250 points. There were 12 teams in the field.
WCHS compiled a 27-19 record on the day and nine grapplers finished with winning records.
Junior 138-pounder Tanner Hild bagged a pair of wins to reach the finals, but was unable to mount a successful strategy against second-ranked (1A) Kyle Blocker of West Marshall in a 12-2 loss.
"Tanner battled with Blocker. He didn't turn his cheek to him, but it was a tall order," Larson said. "Tanner was frustrated; I could see it on him, but he's got nothing to hang his head about."
Juniors Alex Oswald (152) and Connor Larson (170) both placed third. Classmate Gus Gasca (195) was fourth.
Oswald dropped a tight 6-4 decision to eventual champion Tanner Arnold of West Marshall in the semifinals, but rebounded in the final round.
"Alex proved a lot to himself," Ted Larson said. "He was right in there with a state qualifier (Arnold); he stayed in good position and kept coming the whole time."
Connor Larson, ranked No. 8, suffered a 3-1 upset loss to West Marshall's Devin Chesler in the semifinals. Chesler, who went on to take gold, caught the Lynx veteran in a spladle for three near-fall points in the second period and then fended Larson off over the final 2 minutes.
Larson responded with a major decision win in the bronze-medal match.
"Connor's still not happy," Ted Larson said. "We didn't know anything about (Chesler), but it's good that this happened now. Maybe it will shake him up a little bit."
Junior Andrew Straw (106), sophomore Freddie Seeley (113) and junior Brandon Patten (160) all lost early, but won back-to-back matches to place fifth.
Junior Jake Powers (145) and senior Chris Goodrich (220) were sixth.
Freshmen Gage Sadler (120) and Collin Oswald (126) both played a part in the final surge with falls in seventh-place matches.
Fellow rookie Ryan Ferrari (132) spent most of the day trying not to vomit, yet still managed to win a match and take eighth.
"I was real proud of our freshmen," Ted Larson said. "Look at Ryan Ferrari, his head was in the trash can more than anywhere else ... he had a rough day with his stomach. But he didn't quit and he kept fighting, and that's what we needed."