Dodgers host districts

The time has come for Class 3A wrestlers to seek state tournament berths.

One of eight district meets will be hosted by Fort Dodge today beginning at noon inside the Dodger gym.

Joining Fort Dodge will be Algona, Webster City, Boone, Carroll, Denison-Schleswig, Mason City and Storm Lake.

Each district champion and runner-up will advance to the state meet, which begins in Des Moines on Thursday. The 3A field takes to the mats inside Wells Fargo Arena at 2 p.m.

A total of 11 ranked wrestlers will be in attendance, including three from the Dodgers.

No. 1 ranked (170 pounds) Duke Egli has his sights set on a run to the state finals after upsetting previously-top-ranked Dylan Blackford of Southeast Polk last week at the CIML Invitational.

Joining him are 10th-rated (106) Erik Birnbaum and No. 9 (195) Riley Prescott. Egli finished eighth last year, while Prescott qualified.

“Duke’s win really sparked our team,” FDSH head coach Bobby Thompson said. “We’ve had a great week of practice. Everyone is healthy and fresh; I think we are peaking at the right time.”

Egli joined the 100-win club earlier this year, and now sits at 104 career victories. He is a perfect 34-0 on the season.

“The way Duke goes about competing is a huge spark for our team,” Thompson said. “And his win over Blackford showed our kids that anybody can beat anybody, especially this time of year.”

The Dodgers qualified seven wrestlers last year for the state meet. Egli and Prescott each claimed runner-up titles at districts.

Webster City features Connor Larson and Dylan Fielder, who are both inside the Top-10. Larson is third at 160 and Fielder is third at 182.

Fielder placed sixth as a sophomore a year ago.

Algona’s lone ranked individual is Joe Teague, who is seventh at 170.

Mason City, a league rival of Fort Dodge, also boasts three rated grapplers in Kaz Onoo (No. 3, 113), Stone Sturges (No. 6, 152) and Andrew Bartel (No. 5, 160).

Onoo finished fourth last year and Bartel, also a returning state qualifier, is the younger brother of Jared Bartel, who captured a state title in 2012.

Other ranked individuals include Justin Kaltved of Carroll (No. 8, 120) and Kane Springis from Boone (No. 7, 160).