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North Linn’s Cael Bridgewater techs way to Lynx Invitational title
Lynx 138-pounder tallies 58 points in three bouts; Benton tops Xavier for team title
TROY MILLS – Cael Bridgewater plans to enjoy every single moment this season.
The best way for the North Linn senior to accomplish that is by racking up points each time on the mat.
“I’m just trying to score points and have fun,” Bridgewater said. “I’m making it the season of fun.”
Bridgewater was a scoring machine Saturday. He tallied 58 total match points, scoring technical fall in all three bouts and winning the 138-pound title of the Lynx Invitational at North Linn High School. Benton Community won the team title with 198 ½ points, topping runner-up Cedar Rapids Xavier by 8 ½.
Bridgewater outscored his opponents, 58-11, overall, posting a 17-1 win over Xavier’s Adam Cook in the final. He won his second title at the home tournament. Bridgewater posted 20 and 21 points in his first two matches, applying some advice from his father, Brad, who is a former Lynx head coach.
“My dad has been telling me lately to score until they won’t let you score,” Bridgewater said. “I’ve taken that to heart.
“It’s fun to put up points here. I haven’t been here since my freshman year. It’s fun to put up points for the home crowd and excite them.”
All but two of his points came from the neutral and top positions. Bridgewater notched 16 takedowns and 24 nearfall points. He added two escapes when starting the period underneath. He was dominant and feels as good as ever.
“I feel like I’m competing very well right now,” Bridgewater said. “I’m down to a weight I’m comfortable. I feel strong and ready to go.”
The three-time state qualifier and two-time state medalist did not reach the podium last season. He was sixth and eighth his first two seasons and is driven to return to the awards stand in Des Moines.
“It’s not so much that I failed last year,” said Bridgewater, ranked No. 1 by Hupke Wrestling Productions. “I didn’t get to what I wanted and I’m working every day to get back to what I wanted and on top of the podium in February.”
North Linn’s Landen Helmrich also won his second tournament title at home. Helmrich pinned Belle Plaine’s fifth-ranked Chase Wickwire in 1:20 in the 182-pound final.
Woodbury Central led the field with three champions, while Xavier and Dubuque Senior matched North Linn with two.
The Saints’ Kale Leymaster and Ryan Hoefer claimed championships at 113 and 120, respectively. Leymaster entered the tournament seeded third and pinned his way through the bracket, decking North Fayette Valley’s Kyson Moss in 4:49 in the final. Hoefer followed on the same mat and pinned Dyersville Beckman’s Jake Schmidt in one minute.
“They wrestle each other every day in practice,” Xavier Coach Ryan Chambers said of Leymaster and Hoefer. “We say one brings the other along and it takes two. There’s evidence right there.”
Xavier has battled through illness, cancelling practices and a dual earlier in the week. The Saints displayed their toughness, getting back on the mat and boasting a tournament-best five finalists. Ronan Thomas (152), 195-pounder Caiden Tresnak and Cole Murphey at 220 placed second for Xavier.
“We brought 12 guys and placed all 12 in the top six, so I’m pretty happy,” Chambers said. “We’ve been through a lot this week.”
Benton Community’s balanced helped fend off the Saints. Despite going 1-for-4 in championship bouts, the Bobcats went 7-4 in placing matches. They placed all 11 wrestlers in the top five of their weights, including 10 in the top four and nine at fourth or better.
Brenden Heying (152) was the lone Benton champion. He scored six points in the final period to pull away for a 10-3 decision over Thomas.
Cedar Rapids Washington’s Brennan Geers came away with the 106-pound title. He pinned his way to gold, sticking Benton’s Garrett Kuch in 2:45 of the finals. He opened with a second-period fall as well.
“Today was fine,” Washington Coach J.P. Graham said. “He was attacking on his feet and scoring once on top. It was good. It’s something to build on.”
Geers recently dropped down from 113 and has two tournament championships in the first three weekends. The victory Saturday will help propel him into the holiday break.
“He’s been on the attack a little bit better,” Graham said. “He’s so much longer than the other 106-pounders that he’s just finding success tangling guys up, really.”
North Fayette Valley’s Tate Germann (126), Belle Plaine 145-pounder Ethan Argo and Maquoketa Valley’s Nathan Bietz at 195 also won titles.
NORTH LINN LYNX INVITATIONAL
At Troy Mills
Teams – 1. Benton Community 198.5, 2. C.R. Xavier 190, 3. Woodbury central 154.5, 4. North Fayette Valley 143, 5. North Linn 107.5, 6. Belle Plaine 105.5, 7. C.R. Washington 105, 8. Marion 75.5, 9. Dyersville Beckman 64, 10. Linn-Mar JV 63, 11. Maquoketa Valley 61, 12. Dubuque Senior 54.5, 13. Center Point-Urbana 32, 14. Springville 0.
106 pounds – Brennan Geers (CRW) pinned Garrett Kuch (BC), 2:45; 113 – Kale Leymaster (CRX) pinned Kyson Moss (NFV), 4:49; 120 – Ryan Hoefer (CRX) pinned Jake Schmidt (DB), 1:00; 126 – Tate Germann (NFV) dec. Elijah Kupka (BC), 9-5; 132 – Brand Beaver (WC) dec. Caden Kerr (NFV), 8-3; 138 – Cael Bridgewater (NL) tech. fall Adam Cook (CRX), 17-1; 145 – Ethan Argo (BP) dec. Blayke Heying (BC), 7-1; 152 – Brenden Heying (BC) dec. Ronan Thomas (CRX), 10-3; 160 – Beau Healey (DS) dec. Ryder Koele (WC), 13-7; 170 – Max McGill (WC) major dec. Ethan Hangartner (Mar), 10-1; 182 – Landen Helmrich (NL) pinned Chase Wickwire (BP), 1:20; 195 – Nathan Bietz (MV) pinned Caiden Tresnak (CRX), :59; 220 (round robin) – 1. Colton Warren (WC), 2. Cole Murphey (CRX); Hwt. – Cohen Pfohl (DS) dec. Aiden Salow (MV), 5-2.