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Special moment for FDSH siblings at state

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Dru Ayala of Fort Dodge wrestles against Cael Nelson on Thursday in Des Moines at the state tournament.

DES MOINES — Fort Dodge’s Drake and Dru Ayala have wrestled countless matches together growing up, but 2021 marks the only time they get to compete together inside Wells Fargo Arena.

In his final prep season, Drake Ayala walked through the gym doors with his brother — a freshman — finally by his side.

“I think Drake is excited to be wrestling in the state tournament with his brother,” said FDSH head coach Bobby Thompson, the Ayalas’ uncle. “It’s hitting home for him and some of these seniors that this is it.

“He feels lucky to be down here and warming up with his brother. I had the opportunity to do that when I was a freshman down here with my brother (Tommy). It was the best feeling in my career.”

Drake (32-1), who is chasing his fourth finals appearance and his third state championship, picked up career win No. 168 with a fall in 1:43 over Carter Davis of Ankeny in their 132-pound opener.

“It’s the best time I’ve had wrestling, being with my brother,” Drake said. “It’s so fun to have Dru around.

“I’m excited for his future.”

Drake got off to a furious start, building a 21-8 lead 1:32 into the match before getting the fall.

Dru (29-4), ranked fourth at 106, picked up the first bonus points for the Dodgers by earning a 13-4 major decision over Cael Nelson of Carroll.

“When we got here, I was really nervous for my first match in Wells Fargo Arena,” Dru said. “Drake helped me get through that.

“I like it (being here with Drake), because he’s there for me when I need help. He gets me better everyday in the wrestling room.”

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