PATIENT AND PERSISTENT
Top-ranked Dodger senior Bennett determined to finish on top
If Drew Bennett had it his way, he’d be a two-time defending state champion.
Instead of letting consecutive third-place finishes at the state wrestling tournament define him, though, the Fort Dodge standout discovered a silver lining in both heart-wrenching bronze medal experiences — and used that disappointment as fuel for a senior-year vengeance tour.
”Losing those matches at state doesn’t make me a worse wrestler, but it has made me a better person,” said Bennett, a University of Northern Iowa recruit who is currently ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds. ”It’s helped when it comes to perseverance and motivation.
”I have no idea where I’d be if I’d won (a state title by now), but life is about dealing with adversity and recovering from it. So it’s given me a totally different mindset toward everything (both on and off the mat), and probably made me much more appreciative.”
Bennett is off to a perfect 20-0 start this season, with bonus points scored in all but two of those matches. The nation’s 20th-rated 132-pounder according to FloWrestling has already recorded eight pins and seven technical falls.
For as dominant as Bennett has been in the No. 1 Dodgers’ lineup, he’s as disinterested in looking ahead as he is in worrying about the past.
”Just step by step, match by match,” Bennett said of his approach to the season. ”The goal is obviously to win a state title, but I can’t think about that now. I have to stay focused and in the moment.
”This is my senior year. I’m not trying to hurry through it. Even though I’m undefeated right now, that means absolutely nothing. There’s always room to improve. I have a lot of things I need to get better at between now and February.”
Bennett currently ranks third in program history for win percentage with a career record of 124-7. He’s also in the Top-10 for overall victories, despite spending only sporadic time at the varsity level as a freshman.
Bennett could see second-rated Zach Price of Johnston in Thursday’s road dual against the No. 6 Dragons. He added he’s ”excited for what’s ahead, given (the level of) competition in the CIML and what we face on a regular basis with our schedule.”
”This all goes by so fast. (The seniors) have been telling the younger guys, make the most of these opportunities, because before you know it, you’ll be as senior and going through all of the ‘lasts’ in your (prep) career. Live in the present and soak it all in.”
Bennett has been competing with his classmates and many teammates since the early years of the Fort Dodge Wrestling Club, making the Dodgers’ ascension even more meaningful. FDSH has placed third, second and second at the last three state tournaments.
”We say it all the time, but Dodger wrestling really is a brotherhood,” said Bennett, who carries a cumulative grade point average of 3.9. ”We’re all born and raised here. We’re all home grown. We take a lot of pride in that, because we’re proof that if you’re willing to put the time and work in, it can happen here.”
TIMEOUT WITH DREW BENNETT:
Vacation destination: fishing the Amazon River.
People I would like to have dinner with: Connor McGregor and Dan Blizerian.
It would surprise people that I: am a neat freak.
My sports role model: Patrick Downey.
My everyday role model: my mom and dad.
I can’t go a day without: chocolate milk.
Nickname: Funky, D-Benny, D-Bo.
Superstition: I don’t really believe in superstitions, but I do have routines. I eat the same food after weigh-ins.
Most heated rivalry: Southeast Polk.
Favorite road trip: state tournament.
What are you listening to right now? Lil’ Yachty.
Team: Miami Dolphins.
Class: outdoor leisure.
Movie: Eight Mile.
Phone app: Snapchat.