Webster City’s Doolittle seals memorable career with state title

CARSON DOOLITTLE of webster city celebrates after winning a Class 2A state championship on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. (DFJ photo by Britt Kudla)

DES MOINES — For a brief moment, it felt just like any of the previous 157 wins for Carson Doolittle in a Webster City singlet.

Then the roar from the crowd on Saturday night inside a packed Wells Fargo Arena sank in.

Doolittle knocked off two-time defending state champion Jace Hedeman of Union LaPorte City for the Class 2A, 126-pound title, joining his brother and head coach, Drake Doolittle, on the short list of champions for the program.

Linden Phetxoumphone added a silver medal as a sophomore to the bronze he won as a freshman at 113 pounds for Webster City while Landon Griffin was eighth at heavyweight.

Doolittle, a three-time third-place finisher coming into the meet, denied Hedeman the chance at joining an exclusive group in becoming a four-time state champion next year with his 3-1 win in overtime.

“When I scored the winning takedown, it didn’t really hit me at first,” Doolittle admitted. “I just thought of it as another win.

“But when I heard the crowd cheering and yelling, it started to set in and I was so happy.”

The match between the No. 1-seeded Hedeman and No. 2 Doolittle was as tight as expected. Hedeman scored an escape in the second and held Doolittle down until the final seconds of the third when he got out as the buzzer sounded.

In sudden victory, it was Hedeman who shot first, digging in deep for a double-leg takedown. Doolittle managed to avoid the move and scored a takedown for the win with 33 seconds left.

“We practice that a lot,” Doolittle said. “I got his ankle and it worked. I knew I needed something after the whistle blew (in the third) because there was just like 15 seconds left and I had to do something.

“(In overtime) I was scared when he got in. I looked at my brother for what to do and he said to spin my hips. I did that and it worked out.”

Shortly thereafter, Drake Doolittle — in his first season leading the Lynx as head coach — presented Carson with his state medal on the podium. Drake was a four-time state placewinner who went third, second, fifth and first in his Webster City career before wrestling at Duke University.

In 2019, it was Drake earning state gold following his run of four medals. Carson was able to match that total this year with Drake in his corner.

“Being a state champ means a lot because I get to have my name up there with all the great wrestlers that have been able to do it as well,” Doolittle said. “It was cool to know (Drake) was going to be there, coaching me through every position and helping along the way.”

Doolittle was one of just a handful of wrestlers in the state to go undefeated, finishing the year 43-0. His career record closes at 154-11, with a win total second only to Drake’s 175.

Doolittle also dropped only one match in his entire career by more than two points.

Phetxoumphone fell to Hedeman’s teammate, Brayden Bohnsack, 4-2. The Union LaPorte City junior has now won two state titles and three medals overall in three years.

An early escape by Phetxoumphone in the second gave him the lead before Bohnsack responded with a takedown.

Another takedown in the third made it 4-1 before the WCHS sophomore got out and started his rally.

“I didn’t wrestle the best,” Phetxoumphone said. “I’m trying to keep my head high as it has already happened in the past.

“It was a fun experience competing in front of a huge crowd and now I will know how it’ll be next year.”

Phetxoumphone, the brother of two-time Webster City state champion Cam Phetxoumphone, finishes the year 36-2 overall and is now 76-5 in his career.

Bart Chelsevig, Erik Stroner, Jamie Taxted and Gavin Dinsdale are the other state champions for Webster City along with the Doolittle brothers and Cam Phetxoumphone.

Griffin dropped a 3-2 decision to Trent Cakerice of AP-GC for seventh at 285 pounds. The senior ended his the season 33-10 with a medal in his inaugural state tournament trip.

Senior Carson Bertran and junior Luke Estlund also wrapped up their seasons at state. Bertran won once on Wednesday before bowing out on the backside Thursday at 190. Estlund did the same at 175.


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