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ALBURNETT Consider it the first of possible bookend matches this season. Oh, there will be a couple in between as well.
In a battle of defending state champions, Lisbon's Carter Happel drew first blood last night by defeating Hunter Washburn, Alburnett's two-time state champion, 7-3. Top-ranked Alburnett won the dual, 54-24, adding to wins over Starmont and North-Linn in the quadrangular meet.
Happel scored six points in the final period, supporting his No. 1 ranking over second-ranked Washburn. For now.
"It feels pretty good to come out early and get ahead of him in the series," Happel said. "I'll probably wrestle him two or three more times before state."
Happel trailed 2-1 to start the third, hitting a switch for a reversal 12 seconds into the period. Washburn tied it at 3-3 with about 1:20 to go, setting up the decisive takedown and two nearfall points.
"I was just thinking to myself that next takedown is going to win it, because we were both tired," Happel said. "I was trying to set up my shot. He took a bad shot, so I went around behind and caught him on his back."
Happel rode Washburn the entire second period, stifling a few standup attempts to keep the score within a point.
"He won the match in that second period," Lisbon Coach Brad Smith said. "He rode him out and took a lot of gas out of him.
"It was close the first two periods. Carter has a lot of poise. When he gets behind he doesn't panic. He's as good as he is because he stays after guys and keeps attacking."
A packed gym was treated to a flurry in the opening frame, leading to a Washburn takedown. They exchanged partial single-leg shots, followed by Washburn's ankle-pick attempt and Happel getting in deep on a double-leg shot with Washburn securing double underhooks and then getting a takedown on the edge of the mat for a 2-0 lead.
"They put on a show," Alburnett Coach Kane Thompson said.
Washburn was disappointed with how the match progressed. He wasn't feeling well after the match but denied it was a factor.
"My legs gassed during the match," Washburn said. "All in all, there are no excuses. I lost."
Washburn knows he has work to do but has the chance to avenge that loss.
"No one's untouchable," Washburn said.
Lisbon sandwiched the Alburnett dual with wins over Starmont and North-Linn. The Lynx beat Starmont, 48-21.