Four Dodgers reach quarterfinals

DES MOINES – Bringing home some hardware remains a realistic goal for four Fort Dodge wrestlers after day one of the Class 3A individual state meet here Thursday.

Fourth-ranked freshman Triston Lara (106 pounds), No. 8 junior Erik Birnbaum (113), fifth-ranked sophomore Sam Cook (182) and senior Riley Prescott (195) all advanced to the quarterfinals for the Dodgers with first-round victories inside Wells Fargo Arena. Sophomore Cole Detmering (120) saw his season come to an end with a pair of losses.

“It’s nice to have four guys in the quarters,” FDSH head coach Bobby Thompson said. “I thought we got after it (yesterday) and fought hard. That’s awesome that (Triston and Sam) were able to get a win their first time down (at state) in front of the crowd and under the lights, but they can’t be satisfied.”

Lara (41-3 overall) claimed an 8-5 victory over Oskaloosa’s Drew Sams. Lara actually built a 4-1 advantage after the first period before being caught for a three-point near fall midway through the second. He then sealed the deal with two takedowns.

“I kind of got scared (on the near fall), but I kept moving and never gave up,” said Lara, who managed a program record-setting 38-3 freshman mark during the regular season. “This is a lot more intense than any tournament I’ve ever wrestled in.”

Awaiting Lara next is unbeaten and top-ranked Brenden Baker (37-0) of Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Earlier this winter at the J-Hawk Invitational, Lara dropped a 14-4 major decision to Baker.

“(Baker) is a tough kid, but I’ve worked hard all year for this,” Lara said. “I’m just going to do my best.”

Birnbaum (38-5) prevailed by a 9-1 major decision over Davenport Central’s Jacob Lamantia. Birnbaum, who owns 95 career wins, placed eighth here at 106 as a sophomore.

Up next for Birnbaum – the son of former long-time FDSH head wrestling coach Ed Birnbaum – is top-rated and defending state champion Henry Pohlmeyer (38-1) from Johnston.

In his state opener here a year ago, Birnbaum was pinned by Pohlmeyer in 1:18.

“(Birnbaum) is hungry and wrestled real well.?So did Riley,” said Thompson.

Cook (39-6) stuck Davenport West’s Alex Ramey in 1:57. Cook, who has collected 68 varsity triumphs, will battle sixth-ranked Dakota Clausen (33-7) of Dallas Center-Grimes in his quarterfinal bout.

“I’m on a mission,” Cook said. “I felt anxious out (on the mat).”

Prescott (35-11) secured a fall against Waukee’s Nathan Jacobsen in 1:48. No. 9 Jordan Trowers (37-7) from Davenport North will be Prescott’s next opponent. Prescott, a three-time state participant, also finished eighth on the big stage in 2013.

Detmering (30-19) was pinned by Southeast Polk’s reigning state semifinalist and No. 2 Nolan Hellickson and Rees Hauder of Dubuque Hempstead in times of :43 and 1:07, respectively. Detmering was 1-2 at state as a freshman.

“Cole had a tough draw right off the bat,” said Thompson. “I thought he looked a little starstruck, but getting down (to Wells Fargo Arena) these two years have been valuable for him.”

Quarterfinals in 3A are set for 9 a.m. this morning. Semifinals begin at 8:30 p.m. tonight.