Illegal slam could cost top-ranked wrestler spot at state tournament

Woodward-Granger's Ty Turner (113 pounds) battles Greene County's Kane Borgeson in the consolation semifinals at the district tourney in Webster City Saturday. Borgeson was later the victim by an illegal slam, by Webster City's Drake Doolittle, the result of which has had the internet buzzing.

WEBSTER CITY — Top-ranked freshman Drake Doolittle of Webster City could miss the Class 2A State Wrestling Tournament this year, and, if he does, he will have no one to blame but himself.

Doolittle (37-6) was called for an illegal slam in his wrestle-back match against Greene County’s Kane Borgeson (19-11) in the district tournament Saturday, giving Borgeson second place after he could not continue, thus eliminating Doolittle from state competition — at least, as of the moment.

Doolittle had opened with a pin of Woodward-Granger’s Ty Turner in 5 minutes, 51 seconds. He then lost an emotional 5-3 contest to second-ranked Justin Portillo of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows in Sudden Victory-1.

As Borgeson had defeated Turner, 6-4, in SV-1 in the consolation bout, a wrestle-back was set in place.

Leading 13-0 entering the third period, Borgeson surprised Doolittle with a take down to score two points. Doolittle scored a reversal to lead, 15-2, and seemingly ensure a spot in Des Moines.

Not content to wrestle out the final period, Doolittle pinned Borgeson’s hands to his side while standing behind him, then lifted, turned, and drove Borgeson hard to the mat.

The Ram sophomore’s head and shoulders impacted the mat heavily, and the referee immediately awarded a point to Borgeson and called for an injury timeout. Borgeson lay prone and unmoving on the mat, where was fitted with a neck brace and placed on a backboard by trainers before being taken to a local hospital by emergency crews that had immediately been summoned to the scene.

As Borgeson could not continue due to an illegal move, Doolittle was disqualified and finished third.

It was not the first such incident involving the Lynx freshman, who had performed the exact same illegal slam against Perry’s Zach Thompson during the finals of the Perry Tournament Jan. 16. Thompson received a concussion and missed nearly two weeks of action.

Borgeson was given a CT scan at the hospital which was negative, according to Greene County head coach Mark Sawhill, who was contacted by Tuesday. Sawhill said Borgeson had regained full movement on all extremities by 7 p.m. and was released.

Sawhill now faces a conundrum. Borgeson would need to be medically cleared to compete at the state tourney, which begins at 7 p.m. Thursday for Class 2A. If Greene County informs the IHSAA before Thursday that Borgeson cannot wrestle, Doolittle — despite being disqualified because of an illegal (and, thus, dangerous) move — would advance to the state tourney as he had placed third.

However, Greene County is under no requirement to inform the IHSAA of an injury. The team can, at its option, have Borgeson (assuming he is not free to compete) assume his rightful space at the state tourney and then simply forfeit by injury default, thus denying Doolittle the spot.

The internet has been awash with comments on several web sites., considered a ‘go-to’ on-line source, has received posts in a discussion forum urging Borgeson to bow out ahead of time if he cannot compete, but the majority urge the Rams to fill the spot one way or another, in an effort, one poster said “to make sure he (Doolittle) is not rewarded for his second illegal slam in a month.”

The decision whether to inform the IHSAA or not, Sawhill admitted, would be a difficult one and would not be made until late Wednesday, assuming Borgeson is not cleared to wrestle. Obviously, if he is cleared, he will compete as scheduled.

The risk of injury is ever-present in wrestling, but now a young man and his coach have been presented with a situation they did not create or desire, and one in which both sides of the issue believe they have legitimate standing. will update this story as necessary.

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  1. I was at the district tournament and watched the match, and I have been at other meets and tournaments that Doolittle has wrestled in. Yes, Doolittle is an aggressive wrestler with a motor that doesn’t quit. Your article makes Drake sound like a kid that’s out to injure his opponent and do whatever is necessary to win. However, yes, he is an aggressive wrestler and goes hard no matter what the score is. Should that really be something that you make Drake out to be a villain for? If you ever get a chance to watch him wrestle, you will want to go watch him again and again if you are a true wrestling fan. Drake wrestles with passion that any coach in the state and even country would love to have their kids compete with in any sport. Yes, he is a freshman, and it is his own fault that he may not be able to be a four-time state champion. Hopefully, this is a very valuable lesson learned. And if you were there, you also could see how upset he was with himself for what he did. Drake is a very good kid who doesn’t go out to injure his opponent, but he is passionate for the sport of wrestling and wrestles hard, and that’s what every coach wants from his kids. So, yes, Drake made a mistake, and it’s a mistake he will never forget, but we definitely don’t need to make him out to be a villain for this.

  2. I agree with Chad. I too have seen Drake wrestle and I was also one of his teachers in school. You couldn’t find a more tender-hearted, hard-working kid like Drake anywhere! He would never intentionally hurt someone and he was extremely upset that the other wrestler was hurt. I think you are making Drake sound like a malicious young man and that is very unfair.

  3. There are many who believe Doolittle’s reaction was, as Ms. Morrison states, because “he was extremely upset that the other wrestler was hurt.” However, several websites and facebook pages dealing with this issue contain an equal number of posts believing Doolittle reacted not out of concern for Borgeson, but because he knew he was likely (as did not, it turns out, end up being the case) eliminated from the state tourney. I am not judging the young man, only reporting what happened. I was a mat-side witness to both illegal slams, both of which were immediately signaled as such by the referee in charge. How to interpret the facts is up to the reader, but the facts themselves are not subject to question. Thanks to all for reading!

    • I am not brushing off the concern for the other wrestler’s safety and pray that he is oaky, and I am not debating the illegal move. My concern with the article was the way in which Drake was portrayed. Reading the article made it sound like he is a malicious person who intentionally causes injury to other wrestlers and that he cares only about himself. I felt it was an attack on his character, and I wanted to state my opinion from someone who actually knows Drake. I talked to Drake personally as well as his family and, believe me, he was concerned about Borgeson and hoped that he would be all right. That is coming from a first-hand account, not Facebook or web pages.

  4. I’m from Greene County. I don’t watch or even keep up with wrestling. After hearing of the injury and now reading about it, I would applaud if Doolittle decided not to compete and took his licks and went on to compete next year. Do we make excuses when we speed and get caught by the police? Yes, but we have to pay the ticket. A two-time offender of an illegal move in a month makes me look at the coaching staff. Where is the discipline and right teaching? You can only say, “Oops,” so many times before someone truly may get hurt. Come back better next year with better, proper technique and a new mind set. If Kane decided to go on to compete and then forfeit due to injury, so be it. He has that right. Doolittle disqualified himself.

  5. It was not the first such incident involving the Lynx freshman, who had performed the exact same illegal slam against Perry’s Zach Thompson during the finals of the Perry Tournament Jan. 16. Thompson received a concussion and missed nearly two weeks of action. This says it all. This kid did this before, and so he didn’t learn from his mistake then. Come on, folks, no one says he’s a villain. He just committed a villainous act. What about Kane? Would it sink in if the poor kid was paralyzed?


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