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Dodger wrestlers in Chicago for ‘Beat The Streets’

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Carson Taylor of Fort Dodge celebrates after defeating Beau Klingensmith in the championship during Don Miller Invitational.

OAK PARK, Ill. — The Fort Dodge wrestling team takes strength of schedule to a whole new level on Saturday, as the Dodgers will participate in the renowned “Beat The Streets Brawl” dual tournament at Oak Park River Forest High School in suburban Chicago.

Despite an uncertain field due to inclement weather conditions, the Dodgers — ranked third in Iowa for the state’s largest class — still expect to see a number of schools that currently appear in InterMat’s “Fab 50” national rankings. Fort Dodge, which is rated 43rd in the nation, is in Pool 2 with No. 6 Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), No. 7 Bergen Catholic (N.J.), and No. 14 Tuttle (Okla).

Action starts at 10 a.m.

“We should get three or four duals in,” Dodger head coach Bobby Thompson said. “It’s hard to say with the weather; I’m hearing Lake Highland Prep probably won’t be making it, so that may shuffle things around some.”

The other pool includes No. 4 Montini Catholic (Ill.), No. 24 Broken Arrow (Okla.), No. 25 Liberty (Mo.), and host Oak Park River Forest.

Fort Dodge has been scheduled to face Lake Highland Prep at 10 a.m., Bergen Catholic at noon, and Tuttle at 2.

“Regardless of what happens, who we face and how we do, we’ll come out of this a better wrestling team,” Thompson said. “You don’t get the experience and exposure that this tournament provides in Iowa, and that’s saying something, because we really challenge ourselves there in Independence, Council Bluffs, the CIML and some other (meets).

“Of course we don’t have the depth a lot of these programs have. They aren’t just loaded with talent, but they’re balanced and typically get the pick of the litter. It’s going to be an unbelievable challenge, with seven of the eight teams ranked in the Top-50 nationally.”

The Dodgers defeated Waukee 37-24 on the road Thursday night, then left for Oak Park to stay ahead of the weather. They’ll be returning home on Sunday.

Fort Dodge will be without the services of second-ranked 195-pound standout Levi Egli, who has a broken hand. Egli, who suffered the injury in practice earlier this week, will likely be sidelined until the district tournament on Feb. 15.

Lane Cowell (19-3 and No. 7 at 113), Drake Ayala (24-0 and No. 1 at 120), Carson Taylor (22-1 and No. 2 at 126), Brooks Cowell (20-3 and No. 7 at 132), Dreyzon Phillips (21-4 and No. 3 at 138), Brandon Mills (18-6 and No. 6 at 145) and Kody Cook (12-5 and No. 10 at 152) are the rated Dodgers who will be in action on Saturday. Max Bishop (16-6 at 106), Savion Wheat (9-12 at 160), Dylan Zimmermann (7-6 at 170), Austin Lee (14-9 at 182), Kaden Lynch (0-1 at 195), Sawyer Springer (12-12 at 220) and Colten Munter (11-13 at 285) round out the lineup.

“We’re less than a month away from districts, so everything needs to be treated with a heightened sense of urgency now,” Thompson said. “It’s time to get focused and clean up the little mistakes. The postseason, for all intents and purposes, is right around the corner.”

The “Beat The Streets Brawl” is a fundraiser to support wrestling and related programming to boys and girls from the Chicago area. A youth clinic is also scheduled for Saturday with former Iowa State University national champion Kyven Gadson.