A star in the making, Doolittle takes 3rd at 106
WEBSTER CITY — Carson Doolittle stood just off the Wells Fargo Arena floor and watched the Class 2A 106-pound state championship match Saturday night with a lot of what-ifs running through his mind.
It could have been him. He thought it should have been him.
Doolittle’s dream of becoming a freshman state champion ended in Friday night’s semifinal round against a familiar opponent, but the Webster City star in the making rebounded to feast on what was available, as he cranked out back-to-back victories in the consolation semifinals and finals Saturday morning to place third at the lightest weight.
Roland-Story freshman Kade Blume, ranked fourth, snuck past No. 3-ranked Doolittle (36-5), 3-1, in the semifinals courtesy of a second-period escape and takedown with 20 seconds to go. Doolittle was able to escape quickly in the third, but was never able to penetrate Blume’s defense for a takedown over the final 1:20.
It was Blume’s third win in four late-season meetings — a span of 21 days, to be exact — against Doolittle.
Blume went on to win the state title 24 hours later to complete a 44-1 season. His lone loss came to Doolittle, 2-1, in late January.
“I thought I could have competed a little better in my semifinal match and come out on top,” Doolittle said after he collected his bronze medal Saturday night. “But I’m pretty happy because I placed high on the podium.”
Members of the same offseason club — Sebolt Wrestling Academy — Doolittle and Blume have tangled for years.
“I was excited for (Blume) because we’ve wrestled a lot and have become good friends,” Doolittle said.
Doolittle secured the third-place medal with wins over Independence’s Kaden Kremer, 4-1, and Albia’s second-ranked Carter Anderson, 1-0, in the consolation rounds.
Takedowns in the first and third periods sealed the victory over Kremer, and a second-period escape gave Doolittle his second win over Anderson in as many days. He also topped the Albia junior in Friday afternoon’s quarterfinals, 2-1, on the strength of a third-period reversal.
Doolittle capped his tournament with a tough two-minute ride out to hand Anderson just his third loss of the season.
“I was just trying to get the wrist and hold him down,” Doolittle said. “I wanted to get a turn, but it was a little bit harder because he’s pretty strong.
“I feel like I wrestled pretty well (on Saturday). It’s kind of tough coming off a loss, but you’ve got to get back out there and get as high as you can (on the podium).”
All five of Doolittle’s losses this season came to top-five medalists — three to Blume, one to 3A fourth-place finisher Khyler Carstarphen of West Des Moines Dowling and one to fifth-place finisher Dru Ayala of Fort Dodge. Those setbacks were by a combined seven points.
“He’s had a heck of a freshman year,” WCHS head coach Chad Hisler said of Doolittle. “He wrestled a state champion four times and beat him once, and with him and Cam (Phetxoumphone) both coming back, I’m excited to see what those two can do together, pushing each other in the room.”
Doolittle’s freshman season mirrored the rookie campaign of his older brother, Drake, a two-time state finalist and one-time state champion for the Lynx. During the 2015-16 season, Drake Doolittle put together a 42-7 mark that culminated with a third-place state medal at 113 pounds.
State Wrestling Tournament
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines
Webster City Results
106 — Carson Doolittle (Webster City) dec Carter Anderson (Albia), 2-1.
113 — Cam Phetxoumphone (Webster City) maj dec Kale Wieland (Independence), 10-0.
106 — Kade Blume (Roland-Story) dec Carson Doolittle (Webster City), 3-1.
113 — Cam Phetxoumphone (Webster City) dec Carson Less (West Delaware), 6-2.
106 — Carson Doolittle (Webster City) dec Kaden Kremer (Independence), 4-1.
Third Place Match
106 — Carson Doolittle (Webster City) dec Carter Anderson (Albia), 1-0.
113 — Cam Phetxoumphone (Webster City) dec Anders Kittelson (Crestwood), 2-1.
Note: Carson Doolittle and Cam Phetxoumphone combined to score 39 team points for Webster City. The Lynx finished 10th in Class 2A.