FD wrestlers make a statement

IOWA CITY – Fort Dodge’s Triston Lara and Drew Bennett made a statement in Iowa City on Friday night.

Lara and Bennett faced nationally-ranked opponents in the “Night of Conflict 2” inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and both delivered clutch performances.

Lara, who will be one of Fort Dodge’s two defending state champions this upcoming season, earned a 7-4 victory over 17th-ranked Niko Chavez out of Missouri.

“It was a great atmosphere,” Lara said. “It’s awesome starting the season off with huge matches like this, which will defintely help for the upcoming season.”

Chavez was seventh at UWW Cadet Freestyle Nationals in Akron, Ohio, and has also claimed top finishes at Corn Cob Nationals, Southern Plains, and USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals.

Chavez, is also a three-time Missouri state medalist and a defending state champion.

Lara is also a three-time state medalist, and a two-time finalist.

“(The match) started pretty slow,” Lara said. “It was close until the third period. I got on my offense and the match opened up a bit.”

Bennett, who finished third last season at state, competed against the nation’s third-ranked grappler at his weight in Dylan D’Emilio of Genoa High School in Ohio.

Bennett, went toe-to-toe with D’Emilio, forcing the match into overtime before being edged 4-2.

D’Emilio made the 2015 Cadet World team, and was a runner-up at the 2016 Trials. He is a Ohio state champion and Fargo national runner-up.

“It was a great turnout and atmosphere,” Bennett said. “This was a disappointing loss, but the expeirence was awesome. It’s defintely going to help me get ready for the season.

“D’Emilio was tough no doubt, but I believe I can wrestle better. He caught me on my heels in overtime, and that cost me the match.”