Egli wins CIML title

RUNNELLS – Duke Egli cemented his status as a state title contender Friday night, upsetting top-ranked Dylan Blackford of Southeast Polk in the CIML Invitational finals.

Egli, rated second at 170 pounds, earned a late penalty point in the third period, forcing the match to overtime. Blackford, a senior from Southeast Polk, earned an escape in the second to go up 1-0.

With time ticking away in the extra period, Egli scored a takedown, recording a 3-1 victory over Blackford and his first conference title.

“Duke wrestled a great match,” FDSH head coach Bobby Thompson said. “We wanted a slow pace to get a good feel for (Blackford), who used a tight waist to ride us in the third. He was called for boxed hands to send it into overtime.

“Right away, Blackford got in and Duke pulled him up. He almost threw Duke to his back, and Duke almost tossed him, but they ended up out of bounds. Duke went for a low single and finished him.”

Egli (34-0) earned two falls to start his march to the finals, pinning Casey Roth of West Des Moines Valley in 36 seconds and Sam Johnson from Urbandale in 1:06.

In the semifinals, Egli earned a major decision over eighth-ranked Sam Pickard from Ankeny, 13-2.

Last year, Egli placed fourth at the 17-team meet. He finished fifth a few weeks later at the state meet, while Blackford was a state runner-up at 152 pounds.

“I really thought Duke’s conditioning was the difference,” Thompson said. “This should give him a lot of confidence going into these last two weekends, and it should open the eyes of a lot of people that he is a state contender and someone who should be looked at on a national-level.”

Freshman Sam Cook earned a second place finish at 182, falling to No. 4 Luke Sargent from Southeast Polk in the finals, 8-3.

Cook (28-10) defeated Ankeny’s John Ware and earned two falls on his way to the finals. Ware the top-seed, had earned pinned Cook during a dual earlier this season.

“Sam had a great tournament,” Thompson said. “He really had a great match against Ware. It was just a different level of maturity that will come with time (against Sargent) in the finals.”

The Rams, ranked fourth nationally as a team, easily earned overall honors, crowning six champions. Valley was second, followed by Ankeny, Dowling and Fort Dodge.

Erik Birnbaum, Jonah Egli and Riley Prescott all placed fifth for the Dodgers, Cole Detmering and Kyle Johnson earned seventh place finishes, and Kole Evans placed eighth.

“Erik wrestled a great tournament, as did Riley,” Thompson said. “And for Cole to place seventh as a freshman, I think people should really be happy with the future of Dodger wrestling.

“Our team should be riding high heading into districts after coming out of a good tournament with plenty of success.”

Birnbaum earned three falls and went 4-1 on the night, falling only to No. 10 Jack Koethe of Valley in the quarterfinals. Jonah Egli and Prescott each went 4-1, as well.

Fort Dodge returns to action next Saturday when they host a Class 3A district meet inside the FDSH gym.