Teams fight for NCC glory

WEBSTER CITY – The storied North Central Conference wrestling tournament will hit the brand-new Webster City gym today, as nine squads convene to crown a champion.

Action begins at 10 a.m.

Joining the host Lynx will be eighth-ranked (Class 1A) St. Edmond, Algona, Clarion-Goldfield, Clear Lake, Eagle Grove, Hampton-Dumont, Humboldt and Iowa Falls-Alden.

Webster City is the pre-meet favorite, as the Lynx won the team title last year and crowned five champions. That was enough to hold off the Cowboys, who scored six individual titlists.

This will be St. Edmond head coach Tanner Utley’s first NCC meet as the leader of the Gaels, but he competed in several as a prep himself. Utley is looking to see how well his squad stacks up against 3A, 2A and other 1A programs.

“We are going in wanting to get as many champions as possible,” Utley said. “It is going to be a good measuring stick and will be a very competitive tournament.

“I honestly can see any of the top-six teams in our conference winning it, but Webster City is probably the favorite.”

Kaden McClintock, who is ranked fifth at 113 pounds, will be seeking his third NCC title. The Gael program currently boasts 10 individual golds in all.

McClintock, just a junior, would give himself the opportunity next year to join elite company, as only five other wrestlers have captured four NCC titles. Clear Lake’s Jacob Colon, Algona’s Paul Martin, Humboldt’s Kevin Dresser and Justin Hanson, and Eagle Grove’s Mark Kist all accomplished the feat.

“He still has two tournaments left, but I know Kaden is looking to make history, and joining the company would be historic,” Utley said. “All of the previous four-time NCC champions have won at least one state title, so that motivates him, as well.”

Teddie Harvey, the third ranked grappler at 152, will shift down to 145 beginning Saturday, while brother Vinnie Harvey is ranked No. 1 at 220. Both made the finals a year ago.

“Both of those guys want a conference title to their credit,” Utley said. “We have been focusing on this meet all week and are hoping the momentum we gain (Saturday) can carry over for the remainder of the season.”

Vinnie Harvey and Webster City’s Dylan Fielder (182) are the lone top-ranked wrestlers in the field. Andres Gonzalez, a transfer from Mason City, is second at 132 for Clear Lake in 2A.

Both 160 and 170 pounds feature three rated grapplers, while 182, 220 and 285 boast two each.

McClintock, Clarion-Goldfield’s Joel Haberman and Mitch Gambrill, and Webster City’s Connor Larson and Landon Johnson are all returning meet champions.

This is the 46th NCC tournament, with Eagle Grove leading the way in terms of team titles at 10. Algona boasts nine, while Clear Lake has captured seven.

In terms of individual champions, the Eagles and Humboldt are currently tied at 95 each. The Bulldogs are right behind with 93.