Top-ranked Phetxoumphone needs only 42 seconds to reach quarters
WCHS sophomore 106-pounder draws familiar rival Nelson in next round; Gasca advances to Day 2 with consolation round fall
DES MOINES — Playing the takedown game didn’t interest Cam Phetxoumphone yesterday inside Wells Fargo Arena.
Webster City’s top-ranked 106-pounder usually enjoys piling up a handful of takedowns before he sends another victim to the showers, but, in a way, West Delaware lanky freshman Carson Less was special.
And the state tournament is no time to mess around.
Phetxoumphone dispatched Less (25-13) by fall in just 42 seconds in a Class 2A first-round bout in front of a frenzied crowd. So quick was Phetxoumphone that for a brief moment, WCHS held the 2A team lead.
“I wanted to get the quick pin so I could run and work my extra weight off,” Phetxoumphone, who had maybe a drip of sweat on him, but not much, said. “I wish I would have scored a few more points, but I didn’t know anything about him and I didn’t want to take any chances.”
Phetxoumphone (39-0) moved to within three wins of becoming just the sixth Lynx grappler to claim a state championship. Three more wins and he’ll match Bart Chelesvig, the lone unbeaten WCHS state champ — a feat he accomplished three times.
A takedown on a throw-by just nine seconds into the bout set the wheels in motion. Phetxoumphone put Less on his back for a two-point near fall 18 seconds in and then locked up an inside cradle to end it.
“Cam got right to it and just went for it,” WCHS head coach Chad Hisler said. “He’s smart enough to know what he needs to do.”
And now we go to Round 9 — Phetxoumphone and third-ranked Cole Nelson (35-7) of Humboldt will meet in the quarterfinals this morning. It will be their sixth meeting this year and third in as many weeks.
“I’m going to be ready for it,” Phetxoumphone said.
Phetxoumphone is 7-1 all-time against his North Central Conference rival, including 5-0 this season. Two of the battles were decided by two points, but Phetxoumphone put up a 5-0 shutout at districts last weekend.
It will also be the second time they’ve met on the state tournament mats. Phetxoumphone put together a tilting clinic in a 14-5 major decision win in the 2019 first round on his way to a fifth-place medal.
There will be no secrets when the whistle blows.
“(Nelson) knows what we’re trying to do and we know what he’s trying to do,” Hisler said. “Cam knows there are a few things he needs to do better, but the good thing is he’s wrestled a lot of good kids and he’s wrestled them well. I think he’s ready to go and we’ll just go out and wrestle.”
The quarterfinal winner will advance to this evening’s semifinals where either sixth-ranked Derrick Bass (37-4) of Davenport Assumption or eighth-ranked Chase Fiser (43-2) of Bondurant-Farrar will await. Phetxoumphone mauled Fiser, 10-2, at the Grinnell Tiger Duals in December.
Lynx 145-pounder Nick Gasca (26-11) also stayed alive in his pursuit for a state medal with a consolation round pin in 1:17 over Assumption’s Parker Terronez (25-12) yesterday.
Terronez scored a quick takedown and briefly had Gasca on his back. Terronez led 7-2 when Gasca hit a reversal and maneuvered Terronez to his back.
“Just hearing the mat get slapped by the ref and everybody cheering, it’s awesome,” Gasca said. “I came in here thinking I was going to win and that’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m here to try to get some wins and to try to debunk some kids.”
Gasca was pushed to the back side of the bracket following a 12-3 major decision loss to third-ranked and four-time state qualifier Jack West (41-2) of Winterset in the opening round. West secured three takedowns and turned Gasca twice, but the WCHS sophomore wrestled the two-time state medalist to a 4-2 score over the final two periods.
“I thought Nick wrestled really well, maybe as good as he has all year,” Hisler said. “He’s going out there with the attitude that he’s going to wrestle as hard as he can and he didn’t show any nerves.”
Gasca will wait to see who he’ll face in the consolation second round this morning. He’ll meet the loser of the quarterfinal between sixth-ranked Jake Nieman (40-3) of OA-BCIG and Nicholas Bockenstedt (29-7) of North Polk. Bockenstedt is unranked, but he beat 2019 state champion Jack Thomsen of Union at districts and then upset fourth-ranked Jadyn Peyton of West Delaware in yesterday’s first round.
One more win would guarantee both Phetxoumphone and Gasca of a state medal.
A look at all of the past meetings between Webster City’s Cam Phetxoumphone and Humboldt’s Cole Nelson.
•Dec. 15, 2018 at Don Miller Invite — 13-8 win for Nelson.
•Jan. 19, 2019 at NCC tourney — 9-4 win for Phetxoumphone in semifinal round.
•Feb. 14, 2019 at state tourney — 14-5 win for Phetxoumphone in first round.
•Dec. 21, 2019 at Don Miller Invite — 8-2 win for Phetxoumphone.
•Jan. 16, 2020 at dual meet — 7-5 win for Phetxoumphone.
•Jan. 25, 2020 at NCC tourney — 6-4 for Phetxoumphone.
•Feb. 8, 2020 at 2A sectional — Medical forfeit win for Phetxoumphone.
•Feb. 15, 2020 at 2A district — 5-0 win for Phetxoumphone.