Mixed emotions

It was a subdued celebration on Saturday for the Webster City wrestling team.

The Lynx captured team gold at the 40th annual Don Miller Invitational inside the Dodger gym, outdistancing itself from host Fort Dodge.

However, everyone was thinking about fallen 152-pound wrestler Brandon Jessen afterward. Jessen suffered a fractured vertebrae injury during his semifinal round match.

According to Webster City head coach Ted Larson, Jessen had movement in his extremities, but was flown to Des Moines Methodist to see a neurosurgeon for possible surgery.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Brandon and his family,” Larson said. “It was a scary scene, especially here with Tim Ascherl (former Dodger state champion, who suffered a neck injury in college while competing for Drake University) in attendance.

“We are all thinking about Brandon.”

The Lynx crowned three champions in scoring 213.5 points. The Dodgers were second, followed by Lewis Central, Blue Springs South (Mo.) and Clarinda.

“Outside of Brandon’s injury, we had a really great day,” Larson said. “The kids came out and wrestled hard. We had six in the finals and won three, so it was a strong way to finish the first half of the season.

“We’ve got some big tournaments and meets right out of the gates (in January), so we’ll have to get right back at it.

Jacob Powers, No. 5 (Class 2A) Dylan Fielder and Gavin Dinsdale all claimed titles for the Lynx, while Jessen, Alex Oswald and Brandon Patton were silver medalists.

Earning bronze were Ryan Ferrari, fifth-ranked Connor Larson and Gustavo Gasca.

“We like coming to these kind of tournaments (with bigger schools) because it helps us build for the postseason,” Larson said. “There’s no point in going to tournaments and just running through teams and not seeing any competition.

“This makes us better.”

Larson’s focus after the tournament shifted quickly to Jessen, who was stepping in for the squad’s regular 152-pounder, Tanner Hild. Larson commended the medical staff for “being right on top of things.

“They had Brandon stable and out of here in 10 minutes, which is incredibly quick. Hopefully, we’ll get some good news on him soon.”

Blue Springs South is coached by ex-Dodger Doug Black, who was a back-to-back state runner-up in 1987 and ’88. The Jaguars had one champion in 132-pounder Sam Hampton.

Another former Fort Dodge standout now coaching, Clarinda’s Josh Porter, crowned one champion as well at 120 pounds when Blake Luna earned a fall.

In the consolation final at 113 pounds, Thunder Ridge’s (Colo.) David Opheim earned a pin over Trey Rouse of Ankeny Centennial. Opheim’s father, Matt, is a graduate of FDSH.

Emmetsburg’s top finisher was Tanner Lundgren, who took fourth at 106 pounds.