IT’S TIME TO SHINE
No. 1 Phetxoumphone aims to stay perfect, Lynx bound for Humboldt sectional
WEBSTER CITY — Cam Phetxoumphone has quite literally had the perfect wrestling season up to this point. He’s ranked No. 1 at 106 pounds in Class 2A, he’s unbeaten and he’s the odds on favorite to be standing at the top of the podium on the Saturday night of the state finals later this month.
Now all he has to do is go out and finish the job.
Easier said than done.
The Webster City sophomore and his Lynx teammates will begin their postseason journey at a Class 2A sectional tournament in Humboldt on Saturday. Wrestling will begin at noon.
The top two individuals at each weight will advance to next weekend’s district tournament in Algona, while the first- and second-place teams will qualify for regional duals on Tuesday.
Phetxoumphone (34-0), who was fifth at state as a freshman, has five wins over individuals ranked in the top five — including second-ranked McKinley Robbins of Greene County — and seven wins over top-10 opponents this season. Three of those triumphs have come against fourth-ranked Cole Nelson of Humboldt, who he will likely face for a fifth time on Saturday and a sixth time at districts.
But nothing will come easy for Phetxoumphone, that much he knows. He’s the one guy everyone wants to beat, no one more than Nelson who has closed the gap in each of the last two meetings. Phetxoumphone pulled out a 6-4 decision in the finals of the North Central Conference tournament last month, just days after he gutted out a 7-5 win over his longtime rival in a dual meet.
“Cam has beaten a lot of good kids this year and they’ll obviously be gunning for him,” WCHS head coach Chad Hisler said. “But he’s not going to get overly nervous about any of these matches.”
Phetxoumphone’s wrestling background makes him perfectly suited to handle the pressure. He spends every offseason competing against the nation’s top grapplers.
“He’s wrestled a lot of matches in the summer, and all year long really, against a lot of good kids,” Hisler said. “He’s going to go out and attack whoever it is. He’ll have the same confidence with the same focus.”
Joining WCHS and Humboldt at the sectional will be Emmetsburg, Estherville-Lincoln Central, Okoboji and Southeast Valley. The Clear Lake sectional — the host Lions, as well as Algona, Forest City, Garner-Hayfield/Ventura, Hampton-Dumont/CAL and Osage — will also funnel into the Algona district.
WCHS has qualified for regional duals 11 straight times. The 2007-08 season was the last time the Lynx failed to place in the top two at sectionals, and Hisler says pushing the streak to 12 years is the ultimate goal.
It won’t be easy though.
“It’s been a long time since we haven’t been (to regional duals) and getting there is always the goal,” Hisler said. “There are two really tough teams (at the sectional) with Emmetsburg and Humboldt, so we’re really going to have to wrestle above and beyond to have a shot at that. But that’s what we want to do.”
Three other ranked individuals will join Phetxoumphone and Nelson at Saturday’s sectional. Humboldt’s Creston Craven (120) and Colton Goodell (220) are ranked Nos. 7 and 10, respectively, while Emmetsburg’s Mason Griffin (170) is also No. 7.
WCHS has seven grapplers with winning records and six — Phetxoumphone, Chase Rattenborg (132), Nick Gasca (145), Evan Estlund (152), CJ Hisler (170) and Trey Shannon (285) — who have won at least 20 matches.
Shannon, who is 12-1 since the middle of January, has spent time competing at 220 and 285 this season; he will make the move to heavyweight for the postseason.
“When you have success it gives you more confidence and that’s where (Shannon) is at right now,” Hisler said. “I think he can beat kids who have beaten him before if he wrestles smart.”
CJ Hisler was a conference runner-up, but will have to contend with Griffin. Rattenborg is coming off a win over previously 10th-ranked Jaycob Martzahn of Hampton-Dumont/CAL last weekend and enters the sectional with 95 career wins.
AT A GLANCE
What: Class 2A sectional wrestling tournament.
When: Saturday, noon.
Teams: Emmetsburg, Estherville-Lincoln Central, Humboldt, Okoboji, Southeast Valley, Webster City.
Ranked Individuals: 106 — (1) Cam Phetxoumphone, Webster City; (4) Cole Nelson, Humboldt. 120 — (7) Cresten Craven, Humboldt. 170 — (7) Mason Griffin, Emmetsburg. 220 — (10) Colton Goodell, Humboldt.
Webster City Lineup
106 — Cam Phetxoumphone, soph, 34-0. 113 — Brayden Henely, fr, 19-14. 120 — Reece Sadler, jr, 14-20. 126 — Codey Berg, jr, 3-4. 132 — Chase Rattenborg, jr, 27-9. 138 — Jordan Vankham, fr, 6-6. 145 — Nick Gasca, jr, 22-8. 152 — Evan Estlund, soph, 20-16. 160 — Cole Bingham, soph, 13-20. 170 — CJ Hisler, fr, 25-11. 182 — Truman Klein, soph, 8-24. 195 — Dylan Burnette, fr, 8-23. 220 — Broden Miller, soph, 4-13. 285 — Trey Shannon, jr, 23-14.