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No. 4 Fort Dodge controls Mohawks

Dodgers win match celebrating 100th anniversary of first-ever dual in Iowa

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Drake Ayala of Fort Dodge improved to 13-0 on the season and 148-2 for his career.

MASON CITY — Fourth-ranked Fort Dodge made quick work of long-time rival Mason City here on Thursday, as the Dodgers celebrated the 100th anniversary of the state’s first-ever wrestling dual with a 68-9 victory over the Mohawks.

Head coach Bobby Thompson’s squad racked up bonus points by the barrel, recording seven pins, two technical falls and a major decision to flank a pair of forfeits. Overall, Fort Dodge went 12-2 on the night.

“It was good to get back on the mat,” Thompson said. “I thought we wrestled really well for the most part. And if you look at our lineup, there were a lot of underclassmen in action for us. We had five freshmen who are getting valuable experience at the varsity level.

“We took a positive step forward.”

The Dodgers and Mohawks squared off on Jan. 15, 1921, in Iowa’s inaugural prep wrestling matchup at the Armory in Fort Dodge. Mason City prevailed that Saturday afternoon, 24-19.

“We got ’em back (on Thursday),” Thompson laughed.

“In all seriousness, it’s a testament to both the tradition and strength of these two communities that we’re sitting here talking about this 100 years later. Fort Dodge and Mason City are very comparable towns with a lot of history (in the rivalry), whether it’s wrestling, football, basketball, baseball, softball — you name it.

“They’ve always been a measuring stick for us, and I’m sure they feel the same way. It’s pretty special that we’re still knocking heads with each other and competing the way we do in every sport from the youth level on up.”

Top-ranked FDSH senior Drake Ayala (126 pounds) won by fall over former Eagle Grove standout Gabe Rolon, improving to a perfect 13-0 on the year and 148-2 in his career. Sophomore Tucker Pederson (170), junior Ben Egli (182) and sophomore Collin Munter (285) kept the ball rolling via pin as well, with junior Ashton Patrick (195) and sophomore Alex Read (220) taking forfeit wins.

After a Dru Ayala fall at 106, a Kane Butrick technical fall at 113, a Lane Cowell major at 120 and Ayala’s pin, the Dodgers led, 47-0.

Freshman Damarion Ross dropped an 8-2 decision at 138 to two-time Mohawk state qualifier and fifth-ranked Jace Rhodes. Fellow ninth-grader Cal Hartman (145) then won by fall for FDSH, with Dodger seniors Dreyzon Phillips (technical fall at 152) and Kody Cook (pin at 160) finishing the evening strong.

“Even in Damarion’s match, to be within a decision against a highly-ranked kid like Rhodes…we just competed hard,” Thompson said. “We’re getting there.”

The Dodgers return to action at the Benton Van Horne Invitational on Saturday.

“We’re heading into a hail storm there,” Thompson said. “There will be 17 teams, and Waukee just got in the mix. We’re in for a tough two weeks, with Ankeny Centennial at home (Thursday) and then another tough tournament in Cedar Rapids (on Jan. 16).

“We’re going to really get pushed. But with everything going on right now, we’re just thankful for every day we get to compete.”

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