Lynx win sectional, send 10 on to districts
Olson prevails in wrestleback at 195 to give WCHS edge over Ballard
HUXLEY — Sitting all alone with nothing but his own thoughts rattling around in his head, Caleb Olson gave himself a pep talk in the 45 minutes that separated his finals match and his wrestleback at Saturday’s Class 2A Sectional 16 tournament.
You wouldn’t think confidence would be an issue for a returning state place winner, but after a late start to the season because of a back injury and a roller coaster month, that’s exactly what Webster City’s junior 195-pounder was fighting.
“I was sitting over here thinking in my head that this could be it,” he said. “But I told myself why would I do that, why would I think I’m going to lose? I said this is the start of my journey and I’m going to finish.”
And finish he did.
Olson rebounded from his 10-3 title-round loss to Gilbert’s Reldon Miller to pin Ballard’s Joseph Hofbauer in 2:53 to punch his ticket to districts. And when he caught Hofbauer in his bread and butter move, the butcher, it meant more than just an extension to his season.
The team title came down to that final wrestleback. Ahead by a single point prior to the showdown at 195, fifth-ranked WCHS celebrated a sectional championship with 254 points. Fourth-ranked Ballard was the runner-up with 248.
Another benefit of ostracizing himself from his teammates between matches was that Olson had no idea the team championship hinged on the outcome of his bout.
“I thought Ballad had it locked up … (head coach Chad) Hisler never told me it was for the win,” Olson said. “After I pinned (Hofbauer), everybody was going crazy and I didn’t know what was going on.”
WCHS sent a tournament-high 10 wrestlers on to the district tournament it will host on Saturday. The Lynx also qualified for Tuesday’s regional duals; they’ll make the long trek to Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School and take on Central Lyon/George-Little Rock in a semifinal dual. SB-L and Sioux City Heelan will round out the four-team battle for a coveted place in the state duals.
In the grand scheme of things, finishing first or second in the team race really didn’t matter. Both teams advanced to the regional duals and that’s why Hisler opted to keep Olson in the dark.
“Yeah, we wanted to win it, but we advanced either way,” Hisler said. “I just wanted (Olson) to focus on his match and not have all that pressure for the team title.”
WCHS and Ballard hoarded 19 of the 28 district berths and left the other four teams choking on fumes. West Marshall (168) was a distant third.
WCHS crowned seven champions — Reece Sadler (106), Chase Rattenborg (113), second-ranked Drake Doolittle (120), seventh-ranked Carson Hartnett (132), eighth-ranked Zane Williams (170), seventh-ranked James Cherry (220) and top-ranked Cooper Lawson (285). Tenth-ranked Luke Rohmiller (152) and Hunter Collicott (182) joined Olson as runners-up.
Nick Gasca (126) fell three points short in his wrestleback.
“We wrestled really well all day and I’m proud of our effort,” Hisler said.
As expected, Doolittle, Cherry and Lawson breezed to gold. They combined for six first-period pins.
Hartnett didn’t have any trouble either in staying unbeaten at 132. A quick pin in the semifinals was followed by a 17-4 throttling of Ballard’s Jim Chism in the finals.
Williams was equally dominant. He needed just 26 seconds in the semifinals and then put on a 14-3 clinic against Ballard’s Gerald Gute in the finals.
It was the Lynx freshman duo of Sadler and Rattenborg that brought the large Lynx crowd to its feet with gusto.
Sadler, the No. 3 seed, took out No. 2 seed Jacob Pierick of Collins-Maxwell by fall in the semifinals. He then put top-seed Nate Vanderwerff of Gilbert on his back twice and built a 10-2 lead after two periods. He held on through several tense moments on his back in the third for an 11-8 win.
“Sadler winning was big,” Hisler said. “All of our young guys, this will only help them next season.”
Rattenborg got the No. 2 seed and attacked the legs of Gilbert’s Brody Bents relentlessly before getting the fall in 2:46 in the semifinals. He ran into top-seeded Jacob Vawter of West Marshall in the finals and again asserted his will. He put Vawter on his back twice and got the fall in 1:33.
“It’s just crazy … as a freshman coming in, I’m glad to be where I am,” Rattenborg said. “I didn’t think I’d throw (Vawter) twice, but he wrestled Drake at Marshalltown (in January) and I watched that on Hudl. I studied up to get the win.”
Rohmiller and Collicott both ran into 2017 state silver medalists in the championship round. Rohmiller was unable to fend off the leg attacks of second-ranked Skyler Noftsger of Ballard in a 10-5 setback. Third-ranked Ben Lee of Ballard put Collicott on his back for the fall in just 18 seconds.
Saturday’s district tournament will get underway at noon. But WCHS will set its sights on the regional duals first and Hisler likes the make-up of his group following a statement-making Saturday.
“Up and down the lineup we have solid kids,” he said. “The whole team is wrestling better and we’re excited to wrestle on Tuesday.”
Class 2A Sectional 16
Saturday at Huxley
(Number of district qualifiers)
1. Webster City (10) 254; 2. Ballard (9) 248; 3. West Marshall (4) 168; 4. Gilbert (3) 163; 5. Nevada (0) 100; 6. Collins-Maxwell (2) 55.
106 — Reece Sadler (WC) dec. Nate Vanderwerff (GIL), 11-8. 113 — Chase Rattenborg (WC) pinned Jacob Vawter (WM), 1:33. 120 — Drake Doolittle (WC) pinned Cael Ihle (GIL), 1:52. 126 — Hunter Pfantz (WM) pinned Gage Long (BAL), 2:35. 132 — Carson Hartnett (WC) major dec. Jim Chism (BAL), 17-4. 138 — Jarrett Miller (BAL) pinned Caleb Fullerton (C-M), 1:41. 145 — Josh Borg (BAL) major dec. Ben Kielman (WM), 11-2. 152 — Skyler Noftsger (BAL) dec. Luke Rohmiller (WC), 10-5. 160 — Tate Battani (BAL) pinned Cael Kline (WM), 1:05. 170 — Zane Williams (WC) major dec. Gerald Gute (BAL), 14-3. 182 — Ben Lee (BAL) pinned Hunter Collicott (WC), 0:18. 195 — Reldon Miller (GIL) dec. Caleb Olson (WC), 10-3. 220 — James Cherry (WC) pinned Josh Detar (BAL), 0:41. 285 — Cooper Lawson (WC) pinned Colin Anderson (BAL), 1:33.
106 — Jacob Pierick (C-M) pinned Nate Vanderwerff (GIL), 3:48. 113 — Jacob Vawter (WM) pinned Brody Bents (GIL), 0:38. 120 — Gage Long (BAL) dec. Nick Gasca (WC), 12-9. 132 — Grant Nason (WM) pinned Jim Chism (BAL), 3:20. 145 — Carson Johnson (GIL) pinned Ben Kielman (WM), 1:10. 195 — Caleb Olson (WC) pinned Joseph Hofbauer (BAL), 2:53.