THE LITTLE GIANTS
DOOLITTLE, PHETXOUMPHONE CRUISE INTO STATE QUARTERS
WEBSTER CITY — Cam Phetxoumphone looked at his 113-pound state tournament bracket once and that was it. He doesn’t intend to look at it again either.
The opponent? It doesn’t matter to Webster City’s junior state champion. They’re just obstacles standing in his way of another gold medal, and he plans to mow through them all.
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and I’m probably not going to look at the bracket ever again,” Phetxoumphone said while standing in the bowels of Wells Fargo Arena last night. “Just three more to go.”
Phetxoumphone’s quest for his second Class 2A state title started with little drama last night, as he ripped through unranked Lincoln Keeler of Creston/Orient-Macksburg by fall in 1:55 in the first round.
Phetxoumphone (32-1), ranked No. 1 at his weight class in every poll released by The Predicament over the last two seasons, didn’t give Keeler room to breathe. He hit a snap-down takedown less than a minute into the bout and then went to his bread and butter tilt for three near-fall points. Keeler left his wrist hanging and Phetxoumphone snatched it for another turn and eventually the fall.
“I wanted to put him away real quick,” Phetxoumphone said. “I thought about getting a couple takedowns, but he gave me the wrist and I took it.”
Phetxoumphone will be joined in today’s quarterfinal round by his training partner — 106-pound freshman Carson Doolittle, who is ranked third.
Doolittle (33-4) knocked off North Central Conference rival and ninth-ranked Jacob Zabka of Algona for the fourth time this season in his state opener, this time by an 8-2 decision. The WCHS rookie drew first blood — both in score and literally, as a cut about his nose opened up — with a first-period takedown and he extended his lead to 6-2 after two periods.
Doolittle put a tough ride on Zabka in the third and eventually turned the Algona sophomore for a two-point near-fall in the waning seconds.
“I think I could have wrestled better and got to more leg attacks, but it is what it is,” Doolittle said. “It’s a big tournament and I don’t want to do something stupid and end up on my back, so I was a little more cautious.”
Phetxoumphone will again be a favorite in his quarterfinal against unranked Kale Wieland (33-10) of Independence, who pulled off a mild first-round upset with a pin over No. 8-ranked Caelen Oakes of Southeast Valley. Two of Wieland’s losses on the season are to No. 6-ranked Carson Less of West Delaware, who Phetxoumphone has previously pinned twice.
Doolittle will face a daunting quarterfinal challenge against three-time state qualifier, second-ranked and top-seeded Carter Anderson (43-1) of Albia. Anderson steamed through the first round with a fall.
The marquee match-up comes so early due to Doolittle being the No. 8 seed in the bracket, despite the fact that he’s lost just four times by a combined five points, and all to top-five ranked individuals and state quarterfinalists in 2A and 3A.
In other words, don’t expect Doolittle to be intimidated.
“I can wrestle with anyone and compete and come out with a win,” Doolittle said. “I just have to get to my attacks and build off that.”
WCHS senior 132-pounder Chase Rattenborg saw his career come to a close, as he dropped back-to-back matches and was eliminated from the tournament.
A third-period takedown out of a long scramble gave No. 9 Reily Dolan of West Delaware a 6-4 victory over Rattenborg (29-9) in the first round. They started the third period knotted at 4, and Dolan was able to get the ride out over the final 35 seconds after the go-ahead takedown.
Rattenborg got to his offense quickly in his consolation bout against Reice Graham of Woodward-Granger. The Lynx veteran ripped off three first-period takedowns to build a 6-2 lead. But in the second, Graham was able to whip Rattenborg to his back and hold him there for the fall in 2:50.
Rattenborg leaves a lasting legacy that includes membership to the Lynx program’s 100 wins club, an exclusive brethren of just 21, over his four-year varsity career.
“I hate to see that happen to him,” WCHS head coach Chad Hisler said of Rattenborg. “He’s had an awesome career and has been our leader in the room for two years.”
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines
Webster City Results
(Ranked wrestlers noted)
106 — No. 3 Carson Doolittle dec No. 9 Jacob Zabka, Algona, 8-2.
113 — No. 1 Cam Phetxoumphone pinned Lincoln Keeler, Creston/O-M, 1:55.
132 — No. 9 Reily Dolan, West Delaware dec Chase Rattenborg, 6-4.
Consolation First Round
132 — Riece Graham, Woodward-Granger pinned Chase Rattenborg, 2:50.
106 — No. 3 Carson Doolittle (33-4) vs. No. 2 Carter Anderson (43-1), Albia.
113 — No. 1 Cam Phetxoumphone (32-1) vs. Kale Wieland (33-10), Independence.