5 Lynx wrestlers ready for the big show

WEBSTER CITY STATE WRESTLING QUALIFIERS are, front row (left to right): Carson Doolittle, Luke Estlund and Linden Phetxoumphone. Back: Landon Griffin and Carson Bertran. (DFJ photo by David Borer)

DES MOINES — Carson Doolittle has been on the big stage and flourished.

There’s only one thing left for the Webster City senior: a shot at a state championship.

The third-ranked 126-pounder has earned the No. 2 seed this week at Wells Fargo Arena. Doolittle will lnow ook to build on his impressive resume on the big stage.

The undefeated Doolittle (39-0) has medaled three times in as many seasons and has an overall career record of 154-11 heading into the home stretch.

Doolittle will be joined by four of his Lynx teammates at state. Second-seed Linden Phetxoumphone (113), 12th-seeded senior Landon Griffin (285), No. 12 junior Luke Estlund (175) and No. 24 junior Carson Bertran (190) are all in the mix beginning Wednesday at 9 a.m. as well.

Doolittle, Phetxoumphone and Estlund were district champions.

Phetxoumphone (33-1) was a bronze medalist last year at 106 after posting a record of 40-3.

“Carson and Linden have obviously been in this position before,” said first-year Webster City head coach Drake Doolittle. “They know what to expect, and they’ll help guide the other guys.”

Griffin (29-7), Estlund (30-12) and Bertran (20-20) are making their first state trips.

“You have to get adjusted to the surroundings and not get overwhelmed,” Doolittle said. “We need to focus on visualization. It’s nothing like you’ve ever experienced before. Just prepare and do what you can. It’s something you have to go through to understand it.

“The first time walking out of the tunnel, the nerves inevitably hit. This is it. Take in the moment, but don’t let it overwhelm you.”

Griffin meets 21st-seeded Asher Molacek (28-14) of Estherville-Lincoln Central in the first round.

Estlund’s first-round opponent will be No. 21 Kason Dopler of Columbus. Bertran will have No. 9 Maison Copp of AP-GC.

This is also the first state tourney for Drake Doolittle as a coach. The 2019 state champion for Webster City returned to the community after a career at Duke University.

Drake Doolittle is the school’s all-time leader for wins (175). He was a state runner-up as a sophomore, while taking third as a freshman and fifth as a junior.

“It’s definitely been a learning process for me. Very humbling,” Doolittle said. “I’m still taking things in and trying to get better every day as I go.

“It’s been a great year. The guys have gotten better both on and off the mat. We’ve prioritized (building) character, which is a main goal of mine as a coach. We’re trying to develop young men to grow up and be great members of the community — not just (solely) good wrestlers.”


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