Bobby Thompson couldn’t help but acknowledge the importance of Thursday night’s dual win by his Fort Dodge wrestling team over Waukee.
The sixth-ranked (Class 3A) Dodgers won eight matches, including six in a row at one point, to claim a 33-25 victory over the No. 3 Warriors.
Triston Licht, Lane Cowell, Drake Ayala, Carson Taylor, Brooks Cowell, Dreyzon Phillips, Drevon Ross and Savion Wheat were all winners for Fort Dodge (5-2 overall, 3-1 in CIML Iowa Conference).
“It was huge,” Thompson said of the win. “Not only for seeding in a couple upcoming meets where we will see Waukee again, but just for confidence. We’re hitting the stretch run here towards state and you’ve got to pick it up and begin that push.
“I thought we did a great job of that. We won most of the ranked matches, won some of the swing-bouts and we didn’t give up bonus points where we easily could have.”
Last year, the Dodgers earned a win over Waukee on their way to claiming the state duals title. Fort Dodge also finished just head of the Warriors at traditional state for that crown.
Waukee jumped out to a 9-0 lead to start thanks to a fall from state runner-up and top-ranked Anthony Zach followed by a decision from Griffin Gammell. Zach is headed to Northern Illinois to wrestle.
Licht stopped that run with a 10-3 decision at 195 pounds over Gabe Gammell, as Waukee earned a forfeit at 220 and a decision at heavyweight.
Down 18-3, Lane Cowell started the FDSH rally, as the sixth-ranked sophomore pinned Elijah Hofbauer in 2:20. Ayala, No. 1 at 113 and a defending state runner-up, followed with a fall over No. 9 Thurman Christensen with a second left in the second period.
Taylor, rated fourth at 120, topped No. 8 Nick Miller via decision, 8-2, eighth-ranked Brooks Cowell scored a major decision vs. Carter Smith and Phillips picked up a technical fall at 132 over Lucas Garnder to make it 27-18.
“Brooks wasn’t even in school on Wednesday and we didn’t know if he’d be able to wrestle,” Thompson said. “But he went to the doctor, got some medicine and stepped up for us. That kind of dedication helps light a fire under other kids.”
In one of the featured bouts of the dual, No. 7 Ross downed third-ranked Cody Anderson, 10-8. Ross, a two-time state medalist, opened a commanding lead on Anderson, who finished fifth a year ago.
“That was a big-time win for Drevon,” Thompson said. “It ended up being a little closer than we would like, but it was a good performance.”
The Dodgers held a commanding 37-14 advantage in takedowns against Waukee, four combined two- and three-point near-falls.
“We knew it would be close,” Thompson said. “This was a good win for our kids in our own gym.”
Fort Dodge will hit the road this morning to travel to Illinois for a two-day event.
In junior varsity action, Carter Forbes, Josh Campbell, Ben Egli, Hunter Alexander and Jake Erickson earned wins. Forbes, Campbell and Egli had victories via fall.
FORT DODGE 33, WAUKEE 25
170 — Anthony Zach, W pinned Kaden Smith, 2:35; 182 — Griffin Gammell, W dec. Austin Lee, 7-3; 195 — Triston Licht, FD dec. Gabe Gammell, 10-3; 220 — Cael Thorson, W won by forfeit; 285 — Connor Arndt, W dec. Logan Finowski, 3-1; 106 — Lane Cowell, FD pinned Elijah Hofbauer, 2:20; 113 — Drake Ayala, FD tpinned Thurman Christensen, 3:59; 120 — Carson Taylor, FD dec. Nick Miller, 8-2; 126 — Brooks Cowell, FD major dec. Carter Smith, 14-4; 132 — Dreyzon Phillips, FD tech. fall Lucas Garnder, 22-7 (5:28); 138 — Drevon Ross, FD dec. Cody Anderson, 10-8; 145 — Jermaine Sammler, W dec. Kody Cook, 5-1; 152 — Mason Seifried, W major dec. Dylan Zimmermann, 10-2; 160 — Savion Wheat, FD dec. Tanner Skyksma, 7-6.