Dodgers in first after strong start

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Cayd Lara of Fort Dodge wrestles against Dowling Catholic'sTrevor Schwager on Thursday inside Dodgers gym

INDEPENDENCE –The second-ranked Fort Dodge wrestling team served notice during the first round of the Cliff Keen Independence Invitational on Friday night.

The Dodgers went 33-4 on the day and advanced 10 wrestlers to the Gold Bracket round and four to the Silver Bracket.

“We wrestled really well,” said Fort Dodge head coach Bobby Thompson. “We have some tough matches out of the gate and Christian Brothers will put some points up (on Saturday).”

Fort Dodge (171.5) has a 34-point lead over second-place Scott West (137.5). Christian Brothers College (of Missouri) is in second with 137 points. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows is sixth with 118.5 points. Algona (60) is 17th.

“The points don’t mean a lot after the first day,” Thompson said. “We have a big lead, but we need to jump on them right away.

“The guys on the gold side need to keep winning. I’m hoping we come out with the same intensity.”

The Dodgers scored bonus points in 29 of the 37 matches.

Fort Dodge recored 25 falls, 22 of them coming in the first period. They also had three technical falls and a major decision.

“Getting bonus points on the first day is huge,” Thompson said. “You only score bonus points until you get to the bracket.”

Carson Taylor (113), 10th-ranked Brooks Cowell (113), top-ranked Drew Bennett (132), fifth-ranked Drevon Ross (138) second-ranked Damond Lockner (145), top-ranked Cayd Lara (152) and ninth-ranked Levi Egli (160) all went 3-0 on the day.

Taylor, Bennett, Ross, Egli and Smith earned bonus points in all three of their matches.

Third-ranked Drake Ayala (106) and top-ranked Brody Teske (126) were 2-0 with four combined falls.

“Our veteran guys got the job done and helped rally the troops,” Thompson said. “There well defintely be some big matches (today).”

Logan Finowski (285) won his first two matches by fall, but lost in the third round.

Kody Cook (120), Hunter Alexander (145) and Austin Lee (182) also earned victories.

“Our young guys did really well,” Thompson said. “Carson Taylor went 3-0 and had a good day, and that was huge. Austin Lee got a big win for us.”