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 ThePerryNews.com 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. ThePredicament.com, 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.
ThePerryNews.com will update this story as necessary.