Busy week for Dodger wrestlers

Facing three more tests this week, the Fort Dodge wrestling team will look keep moving in a positive direction.

The 14th-ranked (IWCOA Class 3A) Dodgers (3-3 overall) host West Des Moines Dowling and Ankeny Centennial this evening for Senior Night. FDSH will then travel to the Jack Mendenhall Invitational in Ames on Saturday.

First up on Thursday, the Dodgers will meet the Maroons in a makeup dual at 5:30 p.m. Following the introduction of seniors and parents, Fort Dodge will square off against the Jaguars at around 7:15 p.m.

Saturday’s tournament starts at 11 a.m.

In its first meet since the holiday break, FDSH earned a 39-24 home victory over CIC Northern Division foe Marshalltown last Friday.

Against the Bobcats, No. 4 freshman Triston Lara (106 pounds), fourth-ranked junior Erik Birnbaum (113), senior Cory Alexander (138) and senior Carlos Rocha (285) all collected pins for the Dodgers. Winning by decision for Fort Dodge were No. 7 sophomore Sam Cook (182), eighth-ranked senior Riley Prescott (195) and No. 9 sophomore Jonah Egli (152), while sophomore Cole Detmering (120) prevailed by forfeit.

“We looked a little flat coming out of the break, which is disappointing,” FDSH head coach Bobby Thompson said. “It can be hard for kids to adjust to a new routine, though, when they don’t have school.

“Some of our guys are focused on reaching their goals and some others need to step it up right now.”

Lara (19-1 overall), Birnbaum (17-1), Detmering (14-7), Egli (17-4), Cook (17-3) and Prescott (16-5) anchor the Dodgers on the mat. Birnbaum, Detmering and Prescott are each defending state qualifiers.

Third-ranked (3A) Isaiah Patton (160) is the top individual for No. 12 Dowling (8-2). Fifth-ranked (3A) John Ware (195) leads the way for Ankeny Centennial (7-8).

“It should be a pretty good tussle against Dowling,” said Thompson. “With the (school) split, Centennial is still kind of rebuilding. It’ll come down to matchups and bonus points.”

Last winter, the Dodgers tied with Cedar Rapids Jefferson for 10th place in the 18-team Mendenhall Invitational. Cedar Rapids Prairie took home top honors.

Thompson expects another deep and talented field this time around. No. 4 (2A) Humboldt and Webster City are also set to compete Saturday.

“I’m not sure how many teams are going to be in it this year after (former FDSH assistant and ex-Ames head coach) Drew (Kelly) left, but I know it’ll be a tough tournament,” Thompson said of the Mendenhall Invitational. “We just need to go out and wrestle with good intensity for a full six minutes.