-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Tucker Pederson of Fort Dodge wrestles against North Scott Zachary Campbell during Class 3A Consolations Finals on Wednesday inside Wells Fargo Arena

INDIANOLA — The fourth-ranked Fort Dodge wrestling team doesn’t have a lot of dates circled on the 2020 calendar, but the Dodgers are looking to make the most of ever opportunity they get during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fort Dodge will open its season on Saturday when they travel for a round-robin five team dual tournament in Indianola. Action begins at 10 a.m.

The Dodgers and host Indianola will be joined by North Polk, Ballard and Centerville.

Sixteen ranked wrestlers will be in the field with four top-ranked indivduals according to the Predicament.

“This will be a good tournament to start for us,” said Fort Dodge head coach Bobby Thompson. “Everyone will get four matches and we will see some tough competition.”

The Dodgers, who were bronze medalists in both the state dual and individual tournaments last year, return with six state qualifiers and four medalist.

In 2020 the Dodgers brought home the school’s second most medals (eight) in school history.

Fort Dodge senior and two-time defending state champion Drake Ayala will jump up to compete at 132 pounds. The top-ranked 126-pounder will likely set up meetings between Ryder Downey of Indianola, who is ranked No. 2 at 126 and No. 1 in some polls at 132 in Class 3A. Centerville’s Matthew Lewis, Class 2A’s top-ranked individual will compete at 132.

Also returning for the Dodgers is state runner up Dreyzon Phillips, who is ranked third at 145 pounds. Both fourth-ranked Lane Cowell and No. 4 Kody Cook finished sixth last season.

Returning state qualifiers Max Bishop (113) and Tucker Pederson (170) are ranked fourth and eighth respectively. Freshman Dru Ayala is ninth at 106 pounds.

There will also be a possible three other potential ranked matchups. Centerville’s Nathaniel Genobana is ranked No. 1 at 138 and Ballard’s Gage Long is rated seventh.

Fort Dodge’s 10th-ranked freshman Ben Egli is at 182 pounds with North Polk’s ninth-ranked Dylan Meiners.

“Indianola is a really good team and Centerville is a Top-10 team with a potential four-time champion,” Thompson said. “We are at the point where we are going to wrestle any competition that we can get.”

Before Christmas Break the Dodgers will compete in two duals and three tournaments. After this weekend’s tournament they will travel to Ballard on Dec. 10. They will head to a tournament in Sioux City on Dec. 12 and compete against a lot of teams that were scheduled for the Council Bluffs tournament.

In the final week heading to break they will host Ankeny on Monday, Dec. 14. and finish the pre-break schedule with the Don Miller Invitational.

“We had a couple of teams that dropped out of the Don Miller Invite, but we also picked up a few,” Thompson said. “Millard South out of Nebraska is coming up and they have 10 to 11 ranked kids and eight No. 1 wrestlers. ”

Ranked Wrestlers

106 — 7. Bowen Downey, Indianola; 9. Dru Ayala, Fort Dodge; 113 — 4. Max Bishop, Fort Dodge; 120 –4. Lane Cowell, Fort Dodge; 126 — 1. Drake Ayala, Fort Dodge; 2. Ryder Downey, Indianola; 132 — 1. Matthew Lewis, Centerville; 138 — 1. Nathaniel Genobana, Centerville; 7. Gage Long, Ballard; 145 — 3. Dreyzon Phillips, Fort Dodge; 160 — 4. Chance Bockenstedt, North Polk; 4. Kody Cook, Fort Dodge; 170 — 8. Tucker Pederson, Fort Dodge; 182 — 9. Dylan Meiners, North Polk; 10. Ben Egli, Fort Dodge; 220 — 8. Jaylin Smith, Indianola.


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