Dodgers just miss Eagle Grove Invite title

EAGLE GROVE – Saturday’s Eagle Grove Invitational helped provide a more clear picture of where the Fort Dodge wrestling team now stands.

In just their second outing of the season, the No. 10 (Class 3A) Dodgers settled for a runner-up effort at the 75th annual event with 201 points. Ballard took home top honors, narrowly edging out FDSH by a single point. Clarion-Goldfield (183.5) checked in third, while Algona (169) was fourth.

Earning individual titles for the Dodgers were freshman Tristan Lara (106), junior Erik Birnbaum (113), sophomores Cole Detmering (120) and Jonah Egli (152) and senior Riley Prescott (220). Egli was also named Outstanding Wrestler of the Meet.

“I obviously would’ve liked to win (the tournament), but we had five champs, and all (13) of the guys we brought over placed in the Top 6,” FDSH head coach Bobby Thompson said. “One thing I stressed is the last round, which is what I call the money round. We were able to get a lot of bonus points, and we showed big improvement from (Thursday’s 41-36 dual loss at Urbandale).”

Lara, ranked sixth, pinned both of his opponents, including Emmetsburg’s Tanner Lundgren in the finals. No. 5 Birnbaum prevailed by fall in all three of his bouts, with two of those coming in the first period. Birnbaum, who placed eighth at state a year ago, topped Matt Hutchinson of Algona for the championship in a time of 3:14. Last winter, Birnbaum won gold here at 106.

“Tristan and Birnbaum really took care of business and got after it,” said Thompson. “Those two guys are workout partners in the room and are helping each other get better.”

Detmering, another defending state qualifier, registered a major decision and decision. Seventh-ranked Egli was impressive with a pin, major decision and decision. Egli topped Algona’s fifth-ranked (2A) Kory Kuecker by an 8-4 score in the title round.

“Individually, Jonah had a big tournament and looked solid,” Thompson said. “He majored a state qualifier (Algona’s Austin Long) in the semis, and then beat an old nemesis in Kory Kuecker that kept him from going to the state tourney (Kuecker was eighth in the 3A state field at 138 last Feb.). He had a couple of great back-to-back wins (yesterday).”

After pinning Ballard’s Easton Moody in the semifinals, the two-time state participant and No. 4 Prescott captured gold with a tight 5-4 victory over Clarion-Goldfield’s 10th-ranked (1A) Caleb Hanson.

No. 5 sophomore Sam Cook (182) and junior Logan Kipfmiller (145) each received silver for the Dodgers. Cook came up short against Algona’s second-ranked Joe Teague in the finals, while Kipfmiller was bested by Brady Brott from Clarion-Goldfield.

“Logan getting in the finals at 145 as an untested junior was a nice surprise,” said Thompson.

Cory Alexander (138) grabbed bronze for Fort Dodge, and Nic Ganzeveld (126) and Keaton Dornath (170) were both fourth. Finishing fifth for the Dodgers was Keenan Cook (132), while Carlos Rocha (285) was sixth.

“With where we’re at in the room right now, I think we’re probably about where I expected at this point,” Thompson said. “We need to get more technically sound on the little things, but that comes with time.”

Aside from Brott, Calen Rosenbaum (126) and No. 3 Mitch Gambrill (285) were champions for Clarion-Goldfield. Seventh-ranked Joel Haberman (132), No. 7 Taylor Lehman (138), Logan Nelson (160) and Hanson were all second for the Cowboys.

Teague, Josh Strohman (160), sixth-ranked Tyler Frideres (170) and Jeff Buchanan (195) picked up titles for Algona, while Hutchinson and Kuecker were runners-up.

Lundgren turned in the top performance for the E-Hawks.

Carlos Lobato (132) and Devon Omvig (145) were both fourth for host Eagle Grove.

Tim Gailey (120) of FDSH placed fourth for the JV All-Stars.

Ballard’s No. 5 (2A) Nathan Macki (132) and fourth-rated Mitchell Broer (138) won their respective weight divisions. Nick Culver (126) and Ross Simms (170) were each second for Ankeny, which claimed the two previous Eagle Grove Invitational titles.

Next outing for the Dodgers is Thursday when they welcome Johnston and Waukee for a triangular.