HUMBOLDT - Staring up at the lights is the worst fear for any wrestler.
Unfortunately, Webster City did too much of that here last night.
In a showdown between the top two dual teams in the North Central Conference, No. 7-ranked (Class 2A) Humboldt capitalized on five falls and a 17-3 advantage in bonus points to puncture Webster City's previously unbeaten league record, 38-24.
The two teams split the 14 bouts, 7-7, but the Wildcats (14-0, 5-0 NCC) - now the clear-cut favorite to win the league dual championship after pushing past the NCC's toughest teams like the Lynx, Clear Lake, Algona and Clarion-Goldfield - never trailed after opening the battle with four consecutive victories, including three by fall and one by major decision.
Earlier in the evening, both teams dropped Clear Lake (11-10, 3-3 NCC). Humboldt handled the Lions, 34-25, while WCHS (8-5, 5-1 NCC) rallied for a 39-25 win.
The Lynx avenged a 34-30 loss to Clear Lake at the Dick Kennedy Memorial Duals back on Dec. 8.
Webster City 39, Clear Lake 25
106 - Ryan Schmalen (CL) major dec. Cole Nokes, 12-2; 113 - Freddie Seeley (WC) dec. Brennen Doebel, 10-8; 120 - Ryan Faught (CL) dec. Gage Sadler, 7-3; 126 - Spencer Orr (CL) pinned Collin Oswald, 5:29; 132 - Sam Lakose (CL) pinned Tanner Hoveland, 1:44; 138 - Tanner Hild (WC) dec. Carson Farmer, 9-4; 145 - Jake Powers (WC) dec. Aaron Boeshart, 12-8; 152 - Alex Oswald (WC) dec. Blake Kelso, 6-4; 160 - Connor Larson (WC) pinned Logan Wilcke, 0:34; 170 - Brice Wilcke (CL) pinned Brandon Patten, 4:20; 182 - Dylan Fielder (WC) pinned Ace Walton, 0:19 ; 195 - Gus Gasca (WC) dec. Conner Nosbisch, 6-3; 220 - Gavin Dinsdale (WC) pinned Noah Holt, 1:09; 285 - Landon Johnson (WC) pinned Mitchell Jordan, 4:50.
Humboldt 38, Webster City 24
113 - Kylie Zender (H) major dec. Seeley, 12-3; 120 - Austen Gargano (H) pinned Sadler, 0:42; 126 - Jake Miller (H) pinned C. Oswald, 2:57. 132 - Michael Madsen (H) pinned Hoveland, 2:51; 138 - Hild (WC) dec. Thaylan Bowman, 4-0; 145 - Powers (WC) pinned Adam Powell, 0:59; 152 - Tyler Rutz (H) major dec. A. Oswald, 10-1; 160 - Larson (WC) dec. Colton Schnetzer, 14-9; 170 - Patten (WC) dec. Adam Mickelson, 5-0; 182 - Fielder (WC) dec. Nikko Wheeler, 6-4; 195 - Reed Dreyer (H) pinned Gasca, 3:05; 220 - Dinsdale (WC) dec. Cordes Olthoff, 3-1; 285 - Johnson (WC) dec. Dylan Hendricks, 2-0; 106 - Levi Sawyer (H) pinned Nokes, 3:46.
"I felt pretty good when we came out of that Clear Lake dual, but I knew, with the way we paired up with Humboldt, that it was going to be a tough dual," WCHS head coach Ted Larson said. "Humboldt has come a long ways and I'm going to give credit to them because they wrestled really well."
Humboldt opened up a 22-0 cushion on WCHS, and then actually sealed the win on a loss by one of its three ranked wrestlers. The Lynx 10th-ranked (3A) Landon Johnson used a second-period reversal to beat No. 9 (2A) Dylan Hendricks, 2-0, in the second-to-last match; WCHS needed back-to-back falls late to overcome an 11-point deficit, but it didn't happen.
Second-ranked junior Dylan Fielder (182) also won a spotlight match against No. 9 Nikko Wheeler, 6-4. Fielder jumped ahead early with a pair of takedowns and never fell behind.
Jake Powers (145) accounted for the Lynx only bonus points against Humboldt. He made quick work of Adam Powell with a pin in 59 seconds.
Clear Lake appeared to be on its way to a second win over WCHS early on with four wins in the first five matches at the lower weights to build a 19-3 lead. But the Lynx received a key win from Freddie Seeley (113), 10-8, over Brennen Doebel - a reversal from a major decision loss that Seeley suffered at the hands of Doebel last month.
WCHS went to work beginning at 138 though, as Tanner Hild dumped Carson Farmer, 9-4, and ignited a run of eight wins over the final nine matches to storm in front for good.
The Lynx held a 9-5 edge in match wins against Clear Lake and a 12-10 advantage in bonus points.
Freshman Gavin Dinsdale (220) put the dual in the Lynx back pocket when he stuck Noah Holt in 1:09. Dinsdale was making his season debut after missing the first month of the season with a foot injury.
"It was a big night for Gavin and it should give him some confidence," Larson said. "His gas tank isn't quite there yet, but it was a good start for him."
Six Lynx grapplers - Hild, Powers, Connor Larson, Fielder, Dinsdale and Johnson - went 2-0 on the evening.
Larson joined Fielder, Dinsdale and Johnson with falls against the Lions.
Ted Larson says all his team can do now is win the remainder of its league duals and then hope Humboldt slips up somewhere along the line. Is it probable? No. But possible?
"Anything is possible. Anything can happen," Ted Larson said. "But we can't dwell on that now. We've just got to keep working."
WCHS will travel to Ames on Saturday for the Jack Mendenhall Invitational. Wrestling will get underway at 11 a.m.
The Lynx were originally scheduled to attend the Allie Morrison Duals in Marshalltown, but a scheduling issue forced the team to the tournament in Ames.