Mission Statement: Lynx put on mat clinic, run roughshod over Bulldogs

WEBSTER CITY – The smile on the face of Freddie Seeley as he strolled back to the center of mat after his six-minute battle was not one of celebration or even surprise.

Nonverbally, Seeley was seemingly telling everyone in attendance one thing: I told you so.

This was his statement match. And, in many ways, it was a statement dual.

Amped by Seeley’s upset victory over a ranked opponent and Connor Larson’s 100th career victory, Webster City steamrolled Hampton-Dumont, 50-16, in the North Central Conference opener for both teams in front of an enthusiastic home crowd inside the WCHS gymnasium last night.

Seeley, a junior 120-pounder, scored the first takedown of the match against Carter Barkema, rode the Bulldog throughout the second period and turned him for three near-fall points, and left no double in the third to claim a convincing 9-4 decision. Barkema wrestled up a weight from where he is ranked sixth (Class 2A) at 113.

“I just trained all week to go out there and win,” Seeley said. “It gave me some more motivation (knowing Barkema was ranked), but I think I could have scored more points for the team.”

Domination was the name of the game for a Lynx team that stepped onto the mat somewhat under the radar. That is certain to change though.

WCHS won nine of the 13 bouts – five coming by fall – and added a forfeit win by Derrick Khaleck at 106. The statistical advantages for the Lynx were everywhere – 20-4 in bonus points, a 107-52 edge in match points, a 23-4 cushion in near-fall points accrued and a whopping 26-9 takedowns margin. They notched the first 17 takedowns of the dual and led 26-0 on the scoreboard before Hampton-Dumont – ranked fourth in state tournament rankings released by The Predicament earlier this week – even scored an offensive point.

So, any questions?

“We did wrestle well and we did what we needed to and that was come out with intensity,” WCHS head coach Ted Larson said. “We wanted to set the pace and wrestle our matches; that’s what we work on every night.”

Seeley’s showing stood out on a night chalked full of positives.

“That’s huge for Freddie. He beat a quality kid there and that’s a good start,” Ted Larson said. “He came out and wrestled his match … I like that.”

Tanner Hild (152), Alex Oswald (160) and fifth-ranked Dylan Fielder (195) mauled their foes and collected early pins – part of the 26-0 spurt. Sandwiched in between was a tough decision win for Connor Larson (170) and a cradle clinic put on by Brandon Patten (182) en route to a second-period technical fall.

Connor Larson, ranked fourth, became just the eighth WCHS wrestler to join the 100-win fraternity by fending off fifth-ranked Grant Lehmann, 6-4. Larson hit a throw-by takedown in the initial period, and scored on a second-period reversal and takedown just before the buzzer to end the stanza.

The match wouldn’t have been as close had the WCHS senior been awarded what looked like a takedown and near-fall points near the edge of the mat on a throw midway through the second period.

Beating a quality – not to mention physically strong – opponent like Lehmann was just as important as the milestone.

“Honestly, it was important just to win and get that stress (of 100 victories) off me,” Connor Larson said. “I was nervous … I think I can beat him, that’s just my mentality, but because of my conditioning I didn’t know where I was at. It definitely needs a little bit of improvement though.”

Tanner Hoveland (132) and Jacob Powers (145) added pins late in the clash after the outcome was no longer in doubt. Cole Nokes (113) was a winner by decision.

Even when Hampton-Dumont won it wasn’t easy. Just ask top-ranked heavyweight Mario Pena.

Pena, a returning state place-winner, needed a takedown with 29 seconds remaining to rally for a 3-2 win over Lynx sophomore Gavin Dinsdale.

Dinsdale weighed in at 218 and was giving up 42 pounds to Pena’s 260, but it didn’t stop him from dictating most of the match. But Pena dove in on the legs and got the necessary points and kept Dinsdale flat for the final half-minute.

“(Dinsdale) did exactly what we were trying to execute and that was making sure he was on the head and waring him down,” Ted Larson said. “That wasn’t a win, but it was a win in some ways. He knows what he’s got to do next time.”

WCHS will go back to the practice room today and prepare for Saturday’s Dallas Center-Grimes Invite. Action will begin at 9 a.m.

Fielder heads into the tourney with 99 career victories.