No. 10 Lynx not intimidated by top-ranked Chickasaws
Led by two No. 1-ranked individuals, defending duals champ NHTV expected to rule again
WEBSTER CITY — Chad Hisler has heard it all and, quite honestly, he really doesn’t care.
Tenth-ranked Webster City has no chance in its Class 2A quarterfinal-round battle against top-ranked and defending state champion New Hampton/Turkey Valley at today’s state duals inside Wells Fargo Arena, right? Hey, that’s what pre-tournament predictions and Internet message boards would lead you to believe.
And here’s where Hisler’s ambivalence comes into play. Yes, he knows NHTV (31-3) is dang good. And, yes, he knows the Chickasaws have wiped the floor with every 2A team they’ve faced this year. But does that mean WCHS (20-8) is simply going to wave the white flag and allow NHTV a free pass into the semifinals?
“We’re not going down there scared like ‘oh no, we got the No. 1 seed.’ Our kids believe we have a shot to win,” Hisler, the Lynx head coach said about his team’s 11 a.m. opener. “We don’t worry about what the rankings are. We just go out and wrestle.”
Sitting at 1-4 back on Dec. 7, just getting to the state duals for the fifth time in school history seemed like a long shot. But WCHS has won 13 consecutive duals and lambasted Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (51-27) and Sioux City Heelan (51-21) at last week’s regional duals.
“This is always where we thought we could be,” Hisler said. “But the goal isn’t accomplished. The guys were happy last week when we made it and then they went back to work. They’re ready to keep on accomplishing their goals.”
Make no mistake, the task in front of the Lynx is Herculean. NHTV boasts a 2A-best nine individual state qualifiers and seven ranked grapplers. The Chickasaws’ only losses have come at the hands of top-ranked Don Bosco (1A) and Fort Dodge (3A), as well as third-ranked (1A) Denver.
There simply aren’t many holes in the NHTV lineup and the middle is stacked. Senior No. 1-ranked 138-pounder Michael Blockhus, who will wrestle collegiately at UNI, is a two-time state champion and odds on favorite to add a third crown on Saturday. No. 1-ranked senior Noah Fye follows him up at 145.
The Chickasaws’ other ranked individuals include freshman Carson Babcock (10th at 120), junior Mason Cleveland (eighth at 126), senior Cale Reicks (eighth at 160), senior Noah Glaser (third at 170) and senior Areon Day (fifth at 220).
But WCHS has enough talent to make NHTV at least blush a little. The Lynx boast seven state entrants, the third-most in the class, and six ranked guys. On paper, it could be argued they’re favored at six of the 14 weights at a minimum.
It all starts with second-ranked junior Drake Doolittle (120) and top-ranked senior Cooper Lawson (285), both of whom are former state silver medalists. Seventh-ranked Carson Hartnett (132) could have the upper-hand, as could 10th-ranked senior Luke Rohmiller (152).
Seventh-ranked James Cherry (220) will have his hands full with Day. But would Hisler opt to move seventh-ranked Zane Williams (170) up to 182 where he would be considered a favorite to possibly pick up more points?
“In any dual all year long, we think if there is an advantage, then we’ll try to do that,” Hisler said without speculating on any specific individual or weight class.
Blockhus (53-0) and Lawson (43-0) are two of only nine unbeaten wrestlers remaining in 2A. Lawson is just three wins away from catching Gavin Dinsdale as the program’s single-season wins leader.
Even though half of his roster will be in Thursday’s traditional state tournament draw, Hisler says he expects to use his full lineup throughout the state duals.
“There has been no talk by any of our kids or any of our coaches about pulling anybody,” he said. “We’re going there to wrestle.”
WCHS will face either fourth-ranked West Delaware (15-3) or fifth-ranked Davenport Assumption (15-5) in its second dual, either in the semifinals or consolation semifinals at 1 p.m. A win over NHTV would put the Lynx final dual at 6 p.m. Lose to the Chickasaws and WCHS will wrestle for either fifth or seventh at 4:30 p.m.
Today at Des Moines
Wells Fargo Arena
Class 2A Quarterfinals
•No. 1 New Hampton/Turkey Valley (31-3) vs. No. 10 Webster City (20-8).
•No. 4 West Delaware (15-3) vs. No. 5 Davenport Assumption (15-5).
•No. 2 Clarion-Goldfield-Dows (19-4) vs. No. 9 Solon (20-5).
•No. 3 Ballard (22-6) vs. No. 8 Williamsburg (26-2).
Webster City vs. NHTV
(Ranked individuals noted)
106 — Reece Sadler (WC), fr, 21-24 vs. Johnny Dreckman (NHTV), soph, 30-21.
113 — Chase Rattenborg (WC), fr, 35-11 vs. Alex Kriener (NHTV), fr, 12-21.
120 — No. 2 Drake Doolittle (WC), jr, 41-3 vs. No. 10 Carson Babcock (NHTV), fr, 44-6.
126 — Nick Gasca (WC), fr, 19-26 vs. No. 8 Mason Cleveland (NHTV), jr, 47-7.
132 — No. 7 Carson Hartnett (WC), sr, 37-5 vs. Max Babcock (NHTV), soph, 44-9.
138 — Brady Auderer (WC), jr, 12-28 vs. No. 1 Michael Blockhus (NHTV), sr, 53-0.
145 — Daltyn Peck (WC), jr, 9-29 vs. No. 1 Noah Fye (NHTV), sr, 37-2.
152 — No. 10 Luke Rohmiller (WC), sr, 26-7 vs. Clayton Taylor (NHTV), jr, 22-15.
160 — Harrison Hayes (WC), sr, 18-24 vs. No. 8 Cale Reicks (NHTV), sr, 45-10.
170 — No. 8 Zane Williams (WC), sr, 38-7 vs. No. 3 Noah Glaser (NHTV), sr, 48-3.
182 — Hunter Collicott (WC), jr, 15-20 vs. Evan Rosonke (NHTV), soph, 39-12.
195 — Caleb Olson (WC), jr, 18-11 vs. Max Schwickerath (NHTV), soph, 22-17.
220 — No. 7 James Cherry (WC), sr, 33-4 vs. No. 5 Areon Day (NHTV), sr, 49-4.
285 — No. 1 Cooper Lawson (WC), sr, 43-0 vs. Tom Clark (NHTV), jr, 23-25.
Note: Webster City and New Hampton/Turkey Valley lineups based on what teams used at sectionals. Subject to change.