WEBSTER CITY - Two important duals - both for the present and future - await the Webster City wrestling team this evening inside its home gymnasium.
The Lynx will welcome North Central Conference rival Algona and Fort Dodge to town for a double dual, beginning at 6 p.m. when WCHS and Algona tie up. The Bulldogs will take on Fort Dodge in the second dual, and the Lynx and Dodgers will complete the card in the third dual.
At stake for WCHS (5-3, 3-0 NCC) will be a continued spot at the top of the league standings when it faces Algona - the team many believed to be the conference favorite at the beginning of the season. Against Fort Dodge, the Lynx will try to make a statement against a future Class 3A district opponent.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City junior Dylan Fielder (facing) whips Waukee’s Nathan Jacobsen to the mat for a takedown during a match at the Dick Kennedy Duals in Webster City on Saturday. Fielder, ranked second (Class 3A) at 182 pounds, takes an 11-0 record into tonight’s home double dual against Algona and Fort Dodge.
"This is a huge night for us, it really is," WCHS head coach Ted Larson said. "This is for seeds over Algona at the conference tournament, for seeds over Algona and Fort Dodge at the district tournament, and those are things we've already got to be thinking about. We need to be ready for this."
WCHS (5-3, 3-0 NCC) will tweak its lineup at several weights. Junior Connor Larson made the move this week to drop from 170 pounds to 160, while classmate Brandon Patten - the team's 160-pounder throughout the early portion of the season - will take over at 170.
Connor Larson is ranked No. 8 (3A) at 170, but his dad and coach says the drop was the wrestler's decision.
Webster City Lineup
106 - Cole Nokes (fr., 2-5); 113 - Freddie Seeley (so., 3-7); 120 - Gage Sadler (fr., 2-4) ; 126 - Collin Oswald (fr., 3-7); 132 - Tanner Hoveland (so., 3-5); 138 - Tanner Hild (jr., 10-1); 145 - Jake Powers (jr., 9-3); 152 - Alex Oswald (jr., 8-3); 160 - Connor Larson (jr., 8-3); 170 - Brandon Patten (jr., 8-3); 182 - Dylan Fielder (jr., 11-0); 195 - Gus Gasca (jr., 8-3); 220 - Jared Thome (sr., 1-0); 285 - Landon Johnson (sr., 10-1).
"I think he just feels like he fits better (at 160), and whatever makes him feel best is what he's going to do," Ted Larson said. "It's been pretty easy weight for him to take off, but he's had to be disciplined."
Senior Jared Thome will get a second crack at the varsity lineup at 220, and a solid showing could keep him there. Fellow senior Chris Goodrich - the Lynx starter at 220 dating back to last year - will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
WCHS continues to be led by No. 2-ranked 182-pounder Dylan Fielder; the junior is the team's only unbeaten grappler. Junior Tanner Hild (138) and senior Landon Johnson (285) have just one loss on their resumes.
Algona will put a lineup on the mat that features balance and plenty of talent, starting with sophomore Joe Teague (170) - last year's conference runner-up at the weight.
"The first priority we have is Algona because they're in the conference," Ted Larson said. "They're sitting in a position like we were a year ago where everybody's pointing at them to be the favorite, but they've lost a couple of duals to Humboldt and Clarion-Goldfield. We intend to keep pressure on and come out and take care of business."
Fort Dodge brings three ranked wrestlers to the table - No. 10 Erik Birnbaum (103), No. 5 Duke Egli (170) and No. 10 Riley Prescott (195). The Dodgers won the tournament in Emmetsburg last weekend.
"Fort Dodge has come a long ways and I'm happy for them," Ted Larson said. "They're going to get after it, so it's going to be a dang good dual."
One key for WCHS will be avoiding falls - something the squad failed to do en route to a 2-3 record at Saturday's Dick Kennedy Memorial Duals. The Lynx were at a 42-22 disadvantage in bonus points in losses to Clear Lake, Ankeny and Dallas Center-Grimes.
"We've been pretty focused this week and one of the things we've done is worked on getting off our backs," Ted Larson said. "Nobody likes to do that, but we can't give up these falls and we can't give up these matches that we're ahead in. We concentrated on wrestling for six minutes and staying in good position through scrambles."
WCHS and Fort Dodge will come face-to-face again on Saturday at the Don Miller Invite in Fort Dodge.