Dodgers make home mat debut

The Fort Dodge wrestling team will be in for a long three-day stretch beginning here tonight.

First up, the Dodgers (0-1 overall) host a triangular with Johnston and Waukee. Action begins at 5:30 p.m. inside the FDSH gym, with the Dodgers taking on the Warriors.

Waukee and Johnston will then compete at approximately 7 p.m., with Fort Dodge and the Dragons concluding action at 8:30 p.m. Junior varsity matches will be held at the same time.

On Friday, Bobby Thompson and his team head to Council Bluffs for a two-day tournament featuring 28 teams, including ones from Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Minnesota.

Thompson is anxious to see how his team – mixed with young and experienced wrestlers – will handle the three-day grind.

“This is going to be a tough stretch for us,” he said. “We’ll have a late night, followed by a Friday morning where we get on the bus at 7 a.m. for two days of wrestling.

“Next week we have another triangular followed by the Don Miller Invitational on Saturday, so these kids are going to get a good feel for high school wrestling over the next few days.”

Fort Dodge, ranked 10th in the Class 3A tournament poll, features five rated individuals. Riley Prescott is fourth at 195 pounds, while Erik Birnbaum (113) and Sam Cook (182) are fifth.

Ninth-grader Triston Lara is sixth at 106, while Jonah Egli is seventh at 152.

Johnston features two rated wrestlers in Ethan Ksiazek (106, eighth) and Travis Price (120, fifth), while Waukee boasts Henry Pohlmeyer (first, 113), Jakob Allison (fifth, 106) and Zach Barnes (113, eighth).

Pohlmeyer is the defending state champion, while Price was an eighth-place finisher in 2012.

“Just like our season opening dual against Urbandale, scoring bonus points and not giving up bonus points could determine both duals (tonight),” Thompson said. “We might have some interesting matches, as all three of us are still looking to get everybody settled into their roles.”

Prescott and Rocha both moved down this week to 195 and 220 pounds, opening heavyweight up for freshman Noah Telfer. This is where Thompson anticipates all three competing for this season.

No. 10 (Class 3A) Fort Dodge was originally scheduled to compete in Waterloo, but that tournament fell through. Thompson went searching for a new weekend experience, and found quite a challenge in Council Bluffs.

Eighth-ranked (2A) Sergeant Bluff-Luton and fourth-rated (1A) Woodbury Central are the lone ranked teams from Iowa competing alongside the Dodgers. Other Iowa programs in the field include Ames, Glenwood, LeMars, Lewis Central, Missouri Valley, Newton, Perry, Spirit Lake, Council Bluffs St. Albert, Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson and Underwood.

“It’s going to be a grind,” Thompson said. “Six of the Top-10 teams in Nebraska are there, and we know some about these other Iowa schools, It’s just going to be a good test for our kids; the top guys are going to see some elite competition, while the inexperienced ones will go into a bracket with guys of other experience and talent levels on the second day.”

Squads from Nebraska include Creighton Prep, Grand Island, Kearney, Lincoln East, Nebraska City, Norris, Plattsmouth and South Sioux City. Maysville out of Missouri and Totino-Grace of Minnesota are joined by Olathe North, Olathe South and St. James Academy from Kansas.