CAN YOU SAY DOMINATION?
WEBSTER CITY – Gavin Dinsdale is a heavyweight in name only.
The Webster City sophomore doesn’t look like a heavyweight – not at 219 pounds, 66 pounds below the cut-off of 285 – and he doesn’t exactly wrestle like one either, relying on his speed and position rather than brute force to get the job done.
Dinsdale can beat heavyweights though – some of the best in the state, too.
A pair of decision victories over ranked foes – third-ranked (2A) Tyler Putney of Forest City and seventh-ranked (3A) Cole Turner of Cedar Rapids Xavier – were key momentum builders for Dinsdale and 14th-ranked Webster City, which dominated to win its own Lynx Duals with a 5-0 record on Saturday.
WCHS (14-2) whipped Forest City (64-12), Indianola (42-37) and Perry (66-13) in Pool A and then went on the attack again in the championship pool by taking care of Cedar Rapids Xavier (42-26) and No. 7-ranked (2A) Osage (49-26).
Dinsdale was one of six Lynx to put together five wins despite being smaller than all of his foes. But not even the bulky Turner, a University of Wyoming football recruit who tipped the scales at 272 pounds, could make Dinsdale blink.
“It was a pretty awesome day,” Dinsdale said. “At the start of the year I thought I wasn’t going to do well, but now I like (heavyweight). The weight still bothers me, but the confidence is definitely better now.”
“Gavin is coachable and that’s the key,” WCHS head coach Ted Larson said. “He’s matured so much from a year ago and he just stays focused. And that match (against Turner) was like watching me and Gavin wrestle size-wise … it was unbelievable.”
WCHS received optimum production from its heavy hitters. Tanner Hild (152), fifth-ranked Connor Larson (170), Brandon Patten (182), fifth-ranked Dylan Fielder (195), Gus Gasca (220) and Dinsdale combined to go 30-0 with 22 pins, five wins by forfeit and a major decision.
Larson began the tournament with his school-record 74th career pin – a 9-second beat down of Forest City’s Noah Paulson – and added four more falls to his total. He throttled seventh-ranked Sean Ickes of Xavier and led 11-1 before flattening him in the final minute of the second period.
“I just wanted to prove to myself that I can get through a match without coughing up a lung,” Connor Larson, who wrestled most of December with a respiratory infection, said. “So this helps with confidence a lot.”
Up and down the Lynx lineup the success stories popped up. Seventeen grapplers saw the mat; they went 47-23 with 34 falls and 41 of the victories included bonus points.
“I couldn’t be any happier. This was a fun day,” Ted Larson said. “The depth of this team is outstanding. It’s so nice to have guys that we can pull up and win matches for us.”
Alex Oswald (160) knocked off No. 6 (2A) Beau Sorenson of Forest City, 6-4, in the opening round, but he missed the final three duals because of a stomach virus.
Joey Root stepped in for Oswald and earned a pair of falls. Trey Nelson (106) also filled in for the final three duals and went 2-1 with two pins, including one against Osage that brought the large Lynx fan base to its feet.
“We’re fortunate because we can fill weights and get wins,” Ted Larson said, noting his team also competed without regular 138-pounder Ryan Ferrari, who was home with the flu. “I can’t wait until we’re 100 percent healthy.”
WCHS opened up sizable leads – 40-0, 36-4, 42-0, 27-0 and 37-0 – in all five duals. It only trailed for a grand total of 3 minutes, 55 seconds when Indianola seized a 37-36 advantage going into the final match. But Jacob Powers (145) wasn’t rattled; he promptly stuck McKinnon Bell with five seconds left in the second period to propel the Lynx to the win.
Osage, which entered the final dual with four wins on the day, fell right into the Lynx trap. Patten, Fielder, Gasca, Dinsdale and Nelson all decked their foes, Cole Nokes (113) picked up a major decision win and Freddie Seeley (120) added a decision; the seven straight victories to open the dual gave WCHS an eye-popping 37-0 cushion.
“What I’m really pleased with is that our lightweights had as much to do with that last dual as anybody with Osage,” Ted Larson said. “Those were big matches.”
Osage closed to within 37-20 with four consecutive wins, but Hild slammed the door shut by sticking Tyler Randall in 3:26.
“I don’t know if anyone expected this, but we knew we were capable,” Connor Larson said. “We’ve got guys that can fill in and everybody just works hard. It was a team effort.”
Nokes, Seeley and Powers all went 3-2 and 15 grapplers secured at least one victory.
The dual dominance couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Lynx will face arguably their toughest tests on Thursday when they welcome sixth-ranked Humboldt and eighth-ranked Clear Lake to the WCHS gymnasium for a critical North Central Conference triangular.
Humboldt (12-0) is widely regarded as the league front-runner and Clear Lake (11-1) handed WCHS one of its two losses last month during the Dick Kennedy Duals.
“This gives us confidence. But more importantly we’re wrestling the way we need to,” Ted Larson said.