Shoulder injury sidelines No. 1-ranked Lawson

Cooper Lawson, Webster City’s No. 1-ranked junior heavyweight, catches his breath after a win in Iowa Falls in early December. Lawson, a 2016 state runner-up, will miss the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury that will require surgery. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — Cooper Lawson, Webster City’s top-ranked junior heavyweight wrestler (Class 2A), will miss the remainder of the season due to injury, Lynx head coach Chad Hisler confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

Lawson, who is also a first-team all-state offensive lineman and Division I prospect on the gridiron, will have shoulder surgery in the near future and will reportedly be sidelined from activity for three to six months.

“The main thing for Cooper is getting him healthy for his senior year so that he’ll be able to play football and wrestle,” Hisler said. “He’s been dealing with this since last year at state wrestling and it’s gotten worse to the point where it needs to get fixed.”

Lawson, who went 9-0 prior to the holiday break, first began to wear a brace on his shoulder during the 2016 postseason. The injury didn’t stop him from reaching the 2A state finals where he finished second at heavyweight.

In addition to the shoulder injury, Lawson also dealt with an ankle ailment throughout December. But the long-running difficulties with the shoulder eventually got to the point where surgery is required, Hisler said.

“If you’ve seen him wrestle, he hasn’t been himself,” Hisler said. “He doesn’t have that confidence in himself because he wasn’t able to go full strength. He’s obviously disappointed he won’t be able to wrestle, but at the same time he’ll be able to get healthy.”

The consensus No. 1-ranked heavyweight all season, Lawson owns a career record of 73-14. He went 27-12 as a freshman wrestling at 220 and 285 and came within one win of reaching the state tournament.

A season ago, Lawson rolled to a 37-2 record and the state silver medal.

The loss is certainly a big blow to the WCHS lineup. However, it is a spot where the Lynx have some depth. Junior James Cherry went 5-1 in the season’s first month while filling in for Lawson at various times.

Bryer McCoy will get the start at 285 tonight when WCHS hosts North Central Conference rival Hampton-Dumont, and Ashton High — a two-year varsity starter — will also be in the mix, Hisler said.

“That’s the one place where we have some very quality kids and they’re going to get an opportunity,” Hisler said.

Lawson is a two-time all-state offensive guard on the football field — he was named second-team as a sophomore and first-team in November following his junior campaign by the Iowa Newspaper Association — and was one of the leaders this past fall when the Lynx reached the 3A state title game for the first time in school history.

Lawson is likely to have collegiate options on both the football field and wrestling mat and as recently as November he said that decision was still up in the air. Whichever sport he chooses, this injury shouldn’t hinder his options, WCHS head football coach Bob Howard said. Howard expects Lawson to be back working at or near full strength by June 1.

“You never know, but that’s kind of what we’re anticipating,” Howard said. “He may miss some camps in the summer, but he’ll be able to play football next fall.”