Dodgers come up short
Fort Dodge head wrestling coach Bobby Thompson was left pondering where his team is headed with just a number of weeks before the postseason after a pair of dual losses Thursday night.
The Dodgers were unable to possibly secure the first-ever CIC Northern division league title, falling to Mason City, 38-30. Fort Dodge was then bested by No. 7 (Class 3A) Ankeny, 57-22.
Thompson, a veteran of the sport, knows this is the time of year when wrestlers should be building steam for districts and a possible state run. But, for his Dodgers (4-5 overall, 1-1 in league), a shift in the tides is needed.
“We’ve just wrestled flat these past few meets,” Thompson said. “We haven’t been the ones pushing the action. We haven’t been trying to impose our will out there on the mats. We’ve just been flat.”
Fort Dodge had a chance to put the conference title in its own hands, but lost eight matches to the Mohawks (10-13, 3-0), who finished the league run undefeated. The Dodgers still have Ames left on the docket, which takes place next Thursday inside the FDSH gym.
“We had the chance to control our own destiny,” Thompson said. “And, while the conference title isn’t the ultimate goal, it was something that doesn’t come around all the time. I thought we would come out (vs. Mason City) and really control the tempo. Instead, we let several matches get away from us, and surrendered some crucial bonus points.
“The thing our kids are forgetting is that wrestling is a team sport. Yes, you are out there wrestling one-on-one, but you are competing as a team. When you give up bonus points – in a dual that you know is going to be close – and you fail to secure bonus points when you have the opportunity, you ultimately let your team down.”
Mason City picked up 14 bonus points in all, including a meet-shifting fall by Will Slaven at 195 pounds over No. 8 Riley Prescott. With Prescott leading late in the third, Slaven scored a takedown and earned the pin with just a second remaining in the match.
Second-ranked Duke Egli, freshman Sam Cook, No. 9 Kyle Johnson, Erik Birnbaum, Kole Evans and Jonah Egli all earned wins over the Mohawks, including falls courtesy of Duke Egli, Johnson, Birnbaum and Evans. The victories were of extra importance since Mason City will also be in Fort Dodge’s district in February.
“Add in the fact that every single one of those matches (vs. the Mohawks) could play a role in district seedings, and I really thought we would wrestle with more intensity,” Thompson said. “We’ve got just a few meets and weeks left, so we need to figure out how bad we want it.”
The Hawks (17-1) also earned a win over Mason City, 33-31, for head coach Dave Ewing, who was a two-time state runner-up while wrestling for the Dodgers in 1979 and ’80.
Duke Egli, Birnbaum, Cole Detmering and Jonah Egli earned wins for Fort Dodge. Birnbaum, Detmering and Jonah Egli all scored pins, while Duke Egli earned his 97th career victory by defeating eighth-ranked Sam Pickard, 6-4.
The Dodgers return to action this weekend at the Waverly-Shell Rock Invitational.