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Dodgers open with Urbandale

November 28, 2012

Plenty of new names will get their first taste of varsity experience tonight for the Fort Dodge wrestling team.

The Dodgers (0-0 overall) welcome Urbandale for their 2012-13 season-opener on the mat.

Junior varsity action starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by varsity matches at around 7:30 p.m.

With a lineup featuring six freshmen, youth will clearly play a significant role in any of Fort Dodge's success.

"I think it'll be pretty interesting just to see where we stand," said FDSH eighth-year head coach Bobby Thompson. "I'm looking forward to seeing how we respond and scrap. we can use this (dual) as an early measuring stick."

Sophomore Erik Birnbaum (No. 10 at 106 pounds), senior Duke Egli (fifth at 170) and junior Riley Prescott (10th at 195) were each listed in the first installment of The Predicament Class 3A rankings for the Dodgers.

Birnbaum collected 20 victories as a freshman, while the two-time state qualifier Egli went 33-9 overall and finished eighth inside Wells Fargo Arena at 160 a year ago. Prescott also participated at state last winter, posting 21 wins.

"We're ready to get out and compete," Thompson said. "Being in our home gym and around the familiar settings should definitely help us the first time out."

Headlining the J-Hawk roster is the senior trio of Jonathan Paulson (No. 7 at 126), Colby Knight (No. 2 at 132) and Shaquille Wells (No. 5 at 285).

Knight, who owns an impressive 112-6 career mark, is a three-time state placewinner. He previously finished first, second and fourth at Wells Fargo Arena.

Paulson and Wells are both returning state qualifiers as well for Urbandale (0-0), which went 9-9 in duals last season.

"Urbandale has three ranked kids and seems to have pretty good numbers out," said Thompson, whose squad will now wrestle in the Central Iowa Conference Northern Division along with Ames, Marshalltown and Mason City. "(The J-Hawks) have a well-coached program with (head coach) Mike Moreno and (assistant) Steve Knight."



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