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CAM GOES NATIONAL

Phetxoumphone champ at USA?Wrestling event

WCHS junior Cam Phetxoumphone won the 113-pound title at the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls on Friday. DFJ file photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — It’s difficult for a wrestler to top the accomplishment of winning a state championship. But how about a national title, would that do it?

Maybe so. It’s something that Cam Phetxoumphone will now have to ponder.

On the heels of winning his second straight Class 2A state title in late February, the Webster City junior added a USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals crown to his resume on Friday inside the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

“I’m really happy because I’ve been trying to win it for the past three or four years and I can’t believe I finally got it,” Phetxoumphone said. “I’m one of the (lightweight) guys in Iowa that’s making a statement.”

Eighth at the national tournament in 2019 and sixth in 2018, Phetxoumphone rolled through the junior 113-pound bracket on Friday with four victories, including a fall and 11-2 major decision.

In the finals, Phetxoumphone knocked off a familiar foe — 2021 1A state champion Garret Rinken of Nashua-Plainfield. Tied at 2 at the end of regulation, Phetxoumphone tossed Rinken to his back in sudden-victory and he said he was awarded the pin. According to Track Wrestling, Phetxoumphone won the bout 4-2.

“I knew that he was going to be a tough opponent and that he was strong,” Phetxoumphone said of Rinken. “I just had to wrestle smart the whole match and get to my attacks, but I didn’t switch anything or change to his style.”

Phetxoumphone owns a high school win over Rinken as well. They met during the 2019-20 season and Phetxoumphone prevailed, 6-0.

Phetxoumphone was forced to navigate his way through the tougher side of the bracket on Friday. His first-round opponent, Noah Tonsor of Askren Wrestling Academy, went on to place third. His quarterfinal and semifinal foes — Benjamin Pope of Anchorage Youth Wrestling and Alex Turley of Missouri — placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Phetxoumphone eked out a 5-4 win over Tonsor, and then decked Pope in 2:50 and blasted through Turley, 11-2.

“That first match, I did not feel like myself at all,” Phetxoumphone said. “That wasn’t my prettiest match of the tournament, and my coaches and dad agree.”

Phetxoumphone was the 2A 106-pound state champion in 2020 and followed it up by winning the 113-pound title in February. He’s one of only three WCHS wrestlers to ever win multiple state titles and he’ll look to join Bart Chelesvig as the school’s only three-time champions next winter.

Phetxoumphone says he expects to move up at least one weight class or perhaps two for his senior season as he looks ahead to a potential collegiate career.

“I knew that if I won this (national tournament) I would get a lot of attention from college coaches and now the big thing is just to get better,” he said. “I’ve got to get bigger, stronger and just better.”

Fifth at the state tournament as a freshman (106), Phetxoumphone will take a career record of 117-7 into his senior season with the Lynx. He’s 77-1 over the past two seasons.

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