THE RESURGENCE

Once 1-4, No. 11 Lynx with legitimate shot to reach state duals

Webster City senior 220-pound wrestler James Cherry (top), ranked No. 7 in Class 2A, wraps up his match against Gilbert’s Jacob Torresi with a fall in the first period during Saturday’s sectional tournament in Huxley. Cherry has 15 falls on the season and takes a 29-4 record into tonight’s regional duals. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — In all honesty, a trip to the state duals seemed like a pipe dream for the Webster City wrestling team back in early December.

A dismal night in Grimes on Dec. 7 left the Lynx at 1-4 on the season. Two days later, following the Dick Kennedy Duals, they were just 3-6.

And then the resurgence began.

The injury bug that swept through the roster finally got under control in January and individuals moved to the weights that fit them best. All of a sudden, WCHS was a contender again.

Ranked 11th in the team dual rankings by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches Association, the Lynx will attempt to prove all the doubters wrong this evening when they make the long trek to Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School to take part in the regional duals. The highest ranked team among the four, WCHS (18-8) will grapple with No. 17 Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (15-1) at 6 p.m. The winner will face either No. 14 SB-L (15-1) or No. 15 Sioux City Heelan (40-2) at approximately 7:30 p.m. for the right to advance to next week’s state duals in Des Moines.

WCHS freshman 126-pounder Nick Gasca celebrates a win at Saturday’s sectional tournament. He’s 19-22 on the season. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WCHS has competed in the state duals four times, the last in 2014. It won’t be easy to make another appearance, but following Saturday’s sectional championship in Huxley, the Lynx are as confident as they’ve been all season.

“If we wrestle well we’ll have a good shot,” WCHS head coach Chad Hisler said. “Our kids are pumped up and they think they’ve got a shot. They want to write their names in the history books.”

How seriously is WCHS taking this opportunity? While most of the country was stuffing itself with food while watching the Super Bowl Sunday evening, the Lynx were in the practice room gearing up for the duals.

WCHS will step onto the mat with 11 straight dual victories under its belt. But it also owns twice as many losses as the other three teams combined. So what about the rankings? Hisler says they mean next to nothing.

“I don’t think the coaches research enough or know enough about those teams on the west side of the state,” he said. “On paper, all four of us are pretty equal. Central Lyon is going to be tough to beat, so we’ve got to be ready to go.”

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

CL/G-LR was also a sectional champion and boasts 12 wrestlers with at least 25 wins and five with at least 30. The Lions are led by a pair of ranked individuals — third-ranked 132-pounder Gable Sieperda (36-1) and 10th-ranked 195-pounder Austin Winkel (30-10).

WCHS counters with six rated individuals — second-ranked Drake Doolittle (37-3) at 120, seventh-ranked Carson Hartnett (33-5) at 132, 10th-ranked Luke Rohmiller (23-6) at 152, eighth-ranked Zane Williams (35-6) at 170, seventh-ranked James Cherry (29-4) at 220 and top-ranked Cooper Lawson (39-0) at 285. Chase Rattenborg (33-9), a sectional champion at 113, has also surpassed 30 victories. Reece Sadler (19-22) was a sectional gold medalist at 106.

The marquee match-up could come at 132 between Sieperda and Hartnett, neither of whom has lost at that weight this season. Sieperda’s lone loss came at 138 to sixth-ranked (1A) Spencer Griffin of Emmetsburg, 6-3. Hartnett, who didn’t move down to 132 until January, also fell to Griffin at the Don Miller Invite in Fort Dodge in December, 13-6.

The Lions crowned four sectional champions, including Ross Wiertsema (29-5) at heavyweight. He’ll have the monumental task of trying to take down Lawson, who has won 48 consecutive matches.

Heelan owns a regular season dual victory over SB-L, which only adds to the intrigue at the highly competitive regional. Heelan won a sectional crown in front of runner-up SB-L on Saturday.

Regardless of who wins that battle, Hisler says his wrestlers have to worry about themselves.

“We’re going to have to wrestle well no matter who we wrestle,” he said. “If we give up too many bonus points it’s going to be tough for us to win.”

Accumulating bonus points has been a strength of the Lynx throughout the campaign. With 213 pins, they need just two more to tie the program’s single-season record of 215, set during the 2013-14 season.

Lawson and Doolittle are battling for the team lead with 26 and 25 pins, respectively. Only six of Lawson’s opponents and seven of Doolittle’s foes have lasted the entire six minutes against them this season.

Potential Lineups

Ranked Individuals Noted

(Based on sectional lineups)

Webster City Lynx

(18-8, ranked No. 11)

106 — Reece Sadler (19-22). 113 — Chase Rattenborg (33-9). 120 — No. 2 Drake Doolittle (37-3). 126 — Nick Gasca (19-22). 132 — No. 7 Carson Hartnett (33-5). 138 — Brady Auderer (10-28). 145 — Daltyn Peck (9-27). 152 — No. 10 Luke Rohmiller (23-6). 160 — Harrison Hayes (17-23). 170 — No. 8 Zane Williams (35-6). 182 — Hunter Collicott (15-16). 195 — Caleb Olson (15-9). 220 — No. 7 James Cherry (29-4). 285 — Cooper Lawson (39-0).

C. Lyon/George-Little Rock Lions

(15-1, ranked No. 17)

106 — Cody Kramer (30-9). 113 — Dax De Groot (27-19). 120 — Daniel Schriever (27-11). 126 — Seth Deatsch (25-8). 132 — No. 3 Gable Sieperda (36-1). 138 — Nile Christensen (25-16). 145 — Kalen Meyer (29-13). 152 — Tyler VanDenOever (11-17). 160 — Braeden Schulte (19-16). 170 — Bryce Vande Weerd (31-13). 182 — Kolten Bus (34-6). 195 — No. 10 Austin Winkel (30-10). 220 — Jarrett Meyer (27-8). 285 — Ross Wiertsema (29-5).

Sergeant Bluff-Luton Warriors

(15-1, ranked No. 14)

106 — Jherek Dillavou (23-28). 113 — Nate Curry (36-9). 120 — Jack Gaukel (39-7). 126 — Isaac Bryan (38-13). 132 — Ethan Kempema (24-20). 138 — No. 3 Easton Graff (40-2). 145 — Blake Lieve (36-17). 152 — Zach Schultz (9-15). 160 — Alex Freilberg (38-13). 170 — Bradyn Barclay (30-20). 182 — Gabe Warren (19-15). 195 — Tristan Navrkal (12-23). 220 — Casey Holsinger (31-20). 285 — Jacob Sponder (15-15).

Sioux City Heelan Crusaders

(40-2, ranked No. 15)

106 — Bryce Harpenau (20-25). 113 — Ethan Gilmore (30-18). 120 — Nick McGowan (29-11). 126 — Mitchell Joines (36-11). 132 — Ethan Emmick (30-20). 138 — Brennan Todd (43-6). 145 — Charlie Saulsbury (0-9). 152 — Frank Vondrak (40-12). 160 — No. 9 Luke Martin (45-4). 170 — Isiah Gilmore (20-111). 182 — Caleb Engel (41-8). 195 — Shyler Langley (42-1). 220 — Diego Samaniego (33-10). 285 — No. 9 Kobe Clayborne (37-5).

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