Dodger tandem heads to Carver

IOWA CITY – Triston Lara and Drew Bennett love challenges.

That’s exactly what the Fort Dodge wrestlers will face when they compete in matches at the famed Carver-Hawkeye Arena as part of the “Night of Conflict 2” lineup this Friday night.

Wrestling begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Olympic gold medalist Randy Lewis will be honored before the competition begins, while former Hawkeye greats Matt McDonough and Brent Metcalf will coach the two teams.

Lara and Bennett are both on the “Blue” squad. Lara, a senior at FDSH, meets Niko Chavez. Bennett, a junior, battles Dylan D’Emilio.

“It’s going to be awesome to wrestle inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena,” Lara said. “The event was great to watch last year, and it’s going to be even better competing in it now.”

Lara claimed the Class 3A 126-pound state title this past winter, adding to medals won as a freshman and sophomore, when he placed fourth and second. He recently committed to the University of Northern Iowa to continue his wrestling career.

Chavez, who is ranked 17th in the nation, competes in Missouri and is a three-time state medalist, winning gold this past year. He also finished seventh at the UWW Cadet Freestyle Nationals, and has claimed top finishes at Corn Cob Nationals, Southern Plains and USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals.

“I’m super excited to wrestle (Chavez),” Lara said. “I don’t know much about him, other than that he’s nationally ranked.

“Apparently he said in an interview that he expects to technical fall or pin me, so that makes me a little mad and hungry to wrestle him.”

Bennett placed third as a sophomore this past season at state. He has top finishes to his credit at the NHSCA folkstyle nationals, the Conflict at Carver, and InterMat’s JJ Classic.

“Wrestling in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in front of a bunch of people has always been a goal of mine, whether I’m wrestling in the NOC or for the Iowa Hawkeyes,” Bennett said. “When you get an opportunity to do that, you have to take it.”

D’Emilio competes out of Ohio and is a former Cadet World team member. He made the 2015 Cadet World team and was a runner-up at the 2016 Trials. He is ranked in the Top-10 in the class of 2019, is a state champion, and finished as a runner-up at Fargo.

“D’Emilio will be a tough opponent, no doubt,” Bennett said. “I will definitely go out on the mat and put up a fight with him no matter his ranking or past credentials. I’ll wrestling my match and try to come out on top.

“I’ll help put on a show for the fans. I’m real excited to prove myself and the potential that I have to be one of the best.”

The Conflict at Carver tournament will then take place Saturday and will feature over 450 wrestlers. FloWrestling.com will broadcast the Night of Conflict dual.