State push

—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Fort Dodge sophomore Drake Ayala is ranked No. 1 at 113 pounds and will look for a return state trip. The Dodgers host a Class 3A district meet today.

With one state tournament berth in tow, the Fort Dodge wrestling team is out to add individual bids to their resume.

The sixth-ranked (IAwrestle) Dodgers will host a Class 3A, District 4 tournament today inside the Dodger gym.

Joining Fort Dodge will be fifth-ranked Ankeny-Centennial, Boone, LeMars, Sioux City East, Sioux City North, Sioux City West and Storm Lake.

Action begins at noon with finals to start at approximately 3 p.m.

“It’s huge for us with our fan base to be wrestling at home,” said Fort Dodge head coach Bobby Thompson. “The community has supported these kids and we need to take their energy and put that into the matches.”

Fort Dodge, who qualified for their third straight state duals tournament on Wednesday, heads into today’s tournament with a strong resume in 2019.

The Dodgers ran through a gautlent of a schedule, where they were 3-0 in duals and captured tournament titles in Forest City, Geneseco, Illinois and Urbandale this calendar year.

Now Fort Dodge will put their brusing schedule to the test in the seven-team field for a chance at a state medals.

“Hopefully we wrestle with a sense of urgency,” Thompson said. “We are battle tested through a tough schedule all over the state and in Illinois.

“We feel confident, but we have to take it one match at a time.”

The tournament has 12 ranked individuals, five of which are wearing Red and Black.

Top-ranked (IAwrestle) sophomore Drake Ayala (113), who was a state runner-up a season ago enters with a record of 35-0. Ayala is 79-2 in his career.

Senior Drevon Ross (23-6), a sixth-place finisher last year is ranked second at 138 in the newest IAwrestle release.

Junior Carson Taylor (30-5) is rated No. 4 at 120 and has a career mark of 74-15 and was fifth last year.

Brothers Lane Cowell (28-8) and Brooks Cowell (28-11) are ranked No. 9 and No. 8 at 106 and 126 pounds respectively.

Looking for return trips to state are senior medalist (8th) Triston Licht (195). seniors Logan Finowski (285) and Kaden Smith (170) were state qualifiers.

The Dodgers have been without junior Levi Egli all season, who suffered a torn bicep during the football season. Egli was fifth in 2018.

Also competing for state berths will be sophomores Dreyzon Phillips (132) and Kody Cook (145).

Freshman Jake Erickson (152), juniors Savion Wheat (160) and Austin Lee (182).

Ben Monroe (No. 1 at 132), Eric Oens (No. 4 at 145), Logan Neils (No. 2 at 170), Nic Leo (No. 4 at 182) and Ethan Frazier (No. 10 at 195) are ranked for Ankeny Centennial.

Sioux City East’s Alex Kleider is 10th at 152 and Boone’s Taner Harvey is No. 3 at 182.

“120 and 182 are tough weights and will have some quality kids that won’t make it,” Thompson said. “Ankeny Centennial is a top team and Storm Lake and LeMars have gotten better.

“There will be some good finals matches.”

The Dodgers will begin their state tournament trips on Wednesday at state duals. Fort Dodge earned the fourth-seed and will face Waukee in the opening round at 9 a.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena.

Traditional state tournament action for Class 3A will begin Thursday at 9 a.m. and run until noon in Des Moines.