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Dodgers compete for state berth

With their lineup finally close to full strength, Bobby Thompson is ready to see what his Fort Dodge wrestling team can truly do in the final two weeks of the season.

Tonight, the Dodgers (8-5 overall) will host a Class 3A regional dual in the Dodger gym.

No. 16 Cedar Falls will meet No. 22 Spencer in the opening dual at 6 p.m. The third-rated Dodgers will face the winner at approximately 7:15 p.m.

Wrestlers recovering from injuries and illness have left holes in the Dodger lineups since after Christmas Break, but Thompson is hoping to have the entire starting lineup back together and on the mat Wednesday.

“We’ve been fighting with injuries and influenza all year,” Thompson said. “Hopefully we can get through the next two weeks without either one.”

Second-ranked senior Levi Egli (17-3) is eyeing a return at 195 pounds after suffering a hand injury. Sixth-ranked senior Brooks Cowell (25-7) will be back at 132 pounds as well junior Sawyer Springer (12-13) at 220 pounds.

Freshman Tucker Pederson (7-5) will round out the Dodger lineup at 170 pounds.

Fort Dodge has qualified for the state dual tournament in each of the past three seasons. Last year they finished fourth, after winning the state duals championship and the traditional tourney title in 2018.

In 2017 the Dodgers were runner ups at state duals in Des Moines.

“We went to compete well and qualify for state duals,” Thompson said. “We will go down and get after it and hopefully bring home some hardware.”

Fort Dodge is coming off a week with three dual victories over Marshalltown, Des Moines East and Urbandale.

The Dodgers haven’t seen Cedar Falls or Spencer much this season, but do have some common opponents.

“We have some common opponents with Cedar Falls, but we haven’t matched up,” Thompson said. “There will be a lot of rated match ups in the middle weights.

“We obviously need to win the rated matchups if we face Cedar Falls.”

But Thompson believes Cedar Falls and Spencer will be a tough dual.

“Cedar Falls and Spencer will be a close dual,” Thompson said. “It will be kind of a flip flop from us and Cedar Falls would be. Spencer is more top heavy with their ranked wrestlers.”

If the Dodgers do face Cedar Falls, there could be four ranked head to head matchups. The Dodgers have eight ranked wrestlers, while the Tigers have four.

Top-ranked Drake Ayala (38-0) is pitted against ninth-ranked Connor McCartan at 120 pounds and sixth-ranked Brooks Cowell could face ninth-ranked Jack Plagge at 132 pounds, who is the son of Fort Dodge graduate Tim Plagge.

No. 2 Dreyzon Phillips (33-7) and fifth-ranked Dylan Whitt are 132 and Fort Dodge’s second ranked Egli could tangle with No. 7 Collin Bohnenkamp at 182 pounds.

Also ranked for the Dodgers is No. 2 Carson Taylor (34-2), seventh-ranked Lane Cowell (28-8), No. 8 Brandon Mills (26-11) and 10th-ranked Austin Lee (23-15).

The Dodgers will enjoy the comforts of Fort Dodge in tonight’s action and Saturday when they host a Class 3A district tournament.

“It’s so nice to be wrestling at home and not have to travel,” Thompson said. “We’ll have the home crowd in our home gim. At this point you hate to go on the road.

“It will be nice to be home and try to get on a roll and get a little momentum heading to the state tournament.”

106 — Max Bishop, fr., (26-11); 113 — Lane Cowell, jr., (28-8); 120 — Drake Ayala, jr., (38-0); 126 — Carson Taylor, sr., (34-2); 132 — Brooks Cowell, sr., (25-7); 138 — Dreyzon Phillips, jr., (33-7); 145 — Brandon Mills, sr., (26-11); 152 — Kody Cook, jr., (20-11); 160 — Savion Wheat, sr., (19-17); 170 — Tucker Pederson, fr., (7-5); 182 — Austin Lee, sr., (23-15); Kaden Lynch, so., (3-8) or Levi Egli, sr., (17-3); 220 — Sawyery Springer, jr., (12-13); 285 — Colten Munter (13-23).