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Wheeler pulls off upset

Area NCC roundup

January 25, 2014

Nikko Wheeler admitted Saturday that Connor Larson used to get the better of him on the wrestling mat.

That changed with one swift reversal inside Hodges Fieldhouse at the North Central Conference meet, as the Humboldt senior claimed a 2-1 victory over Larson in the 170-pound final.

The Wildcats placed fourth overall, as Reed Dreyer also won a conference title.

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Larson, a Webster City senior, was attempting to become just the seventh NCC wrestler all-time to win four league titles.

"Honestly, I didn't know (he was going for four)," said Wheeler, who improved to 33-3 on the year. "We've been battling since middle school, and he got the better of me early on in high school.

"But I feel I've grown as a wrestler (over the years)."

Fact Box



Team Standings

1. Webster City, 203; 2. Clarion-Goldfield, 198; 3. Clear Lake, 171; 4. Humboldt, 164; 5. Algona, 125; 6. Hampton-Dumont, 101.5; 7. St. Edmond, 70; 8. Iowa Falls-Alden, 50.

Individual Results

106 pounds

Championship: Brennen Doebel, CL pinned Justin Portillo, CG, 6:30; Third-place: Dante Tacchia, IFA dec. Levi Sawyer, H, 5-0.

113 pounds

Championship: Josh Portillo, CG dec. Ryan Leisure, CL, 5-3 (OT); Third-place: Carter Barkema, HD dec. Ryan Szalat, SE, 10-4.

120 pounds

Championship: Kaden McClintock, SE won by forfeit over Ryan Schmalen, CL; Third-place: Freddie Seeley, WC pinned Jaden Kampen, H, 3:53.

126 pounds

Championship: Joel Haberman, CG major dec. Austin Gargano, H, 10-2; Third-place: Spencer Orr, CL major dec. Payton Sitzmann, SE, 14-6.

132 pounds

Championship: Ryan Faught, CL pinned Calen Rosenbaum, CG, 3:28; Third-place: Jake Miller, H pinned Gage Sadler, WC, 3:35.

138 pounds

Championship: Andres Gonzalez, CL dec. Taylor Lehman, CG, 5-2; Third-place: Ryan Ferrari, WC dec. Mike Madsen, H, 2-1.

145 pounds

Championship: Jacob Powers, WC dec. Brady Brott, CG, 9-5; Third-place: Austin Long, A dec. Blake Kelso, CL, 1-0.

152 pounds

Championship: Korey Kuecker, A dec. Tanner Hild, WC, 4-1; Third-place: Thaylan Bowman, H pinned Logan Nelson, CG, 3:41.

160 pounds

Championship: Alex Oswald, WC dec. Josh Strohman, A, 10-4; Third-place: Logan Wilcke, CL dec. Gus Arnold, H, 3-1.

170 pounds

Championship: Nikko Wheeler, H dec. Connor Larson, WC, 2-1; Third-place: Tyler Frideres, A dec. Grant Lehmann, HD, 1-0.

182 pounds

Championship: Joe Teague, A major dec. Brandon Patton, WC, 8-0; Third-place: Connor Nosbisch, CL pinned Adam Mickelson, 1:00.

195 pounds

Championship: Reed Dreyer, H dec. Dylan Fielder, WC, 7-5; Third-place: Jeff Buchanan, A dec. Isaiah Noelck, HD, 7-3.

220 pounds

Championship: Vinnie Harvey, SE major dec. Kendrick Suntken, HD, 14-0; Third-place: Gus Gasca, WC dec. Caleb Hanson, CG, 6-3.

285 pounds

Championship: Mitch Gambrill, CG dec. Mario Pena, HD, 6-5; Third-place: Gavin Dinsdale, WC dec. Dylan Hendricks, H, 5-1.

Larson got on the board with an escape in the second, and appeared on his way to achieving history before Wheeler found an opening.

"I was just pushing and pushing, and felt him get high on me," he said. "I gave it everything I had because I knew there wasn't a lot of time left.

"It definitely feels great, but I am going to see him again soon and I'm sure it will be another tough match."

Wheeler - ranked fifth in Class 2A - and the Wildcats will be competing against Webster City Feb. 8 at sectionals.

Dreyer earned his second straight NCC crown with a 7-5 decision over Webster City's Dylan Fielder at 195.

Dreyer, ranked fourth, picked up his 30th win of the year with a thrilling scoring move in the final moments over Fielder, who is ranked second.

Austin Gargano was a runner-up at 126, falling to Joel Haberman of Clarion-Goldfield in the finals. Jake Miller placed third at 132, as did Thaylan Bowman at 152.


Led by three individual champions, the Cowboys scored runner-up honors.

Josh Portillo, Joel Haberman and Mitch Gambrill all claimed league gold, while Justin Portillo, Calen Rosenbaum, Taylor Lehman and Brady Brott finished second.

Gambrill came out on top at heavyweight, which featured four wrestlers in the Top-5. In the finals, he defeated Class 2A No. 1 Mario Pena of Hampton-Dumont, 6-5.

After receiving a bye, Gambrill, rated fifth in 1A, downed No. 4 (2A) Dylan Hendricks from Humboldt, 7-4.

Portillo, ranked second at 113 pounds, earned two falls before claiming an overtime win vs. No. 4 Ryan Leisure of Clear Lake in the finals.

Haberman picked up his second straight NCC title with a 10-2 victory in the finals over Humboldt's Austin Gargano.


Joe Teague and Kory Kuecker scored NCC titles for the Bulldogs, who placed fifth overall.

Teague, ranked second at 182 pounds, improved to 33-0 on the year with a major decision over Brandon Patton of Webster City in the finals.

Prior to that, Teague picked up falls in the first two rounds.

Kuecker had a similar path, scoring a pin, a technical fall and a decision over Tanner Hild from Webster City in the title round.

Josh Strohman was a runner-up, while Austin Long, Tyler Frideres and Jeff Buchanan each placed third.



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