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Ayala brothers making most of Fargo experience

Drake back in the finals; Dru an All-American

Submitted photo by Jackie Frisk: Drake Ayala of Fort Dodge has reached the finals at Fargo Nationals for a fourth time.

FARGO, N.D. — Drake Ayala is on the verge of ending his high school wrestling career as a three-time Fargo National champion.

Ayala will compete in the 126-pound final after earning a first-period technical fall over Vince Robinson of Illinois (1:26) in the junior freestyle national semifinals on Monday.

Ayala, who was 171-3 as a Dodger and a two-time Dan Gable Mr. Iowa Wrestler of the Year, has had great success at Fargo. The future Iowa Hawkeye is competing with his brother, Dru, for the first and only time here.

“It’s bittersweet,” Drake said. “This being the last tourney with Dru…it’s definitely started to sink in.”

Dru reached the short list of Dodger All-Americans at Fargo on Monday, earning a seventh-place freestyle finish at 100 pounds.

“It was a good experience,” Dru said. “I didn’t get what I wanted, but I have other chances to come back and win it.

“I just have to put in the work to do it. But the All-American status feels good to have.”

Drake Ayala, who earned a 32-second fall in the quarterfinals, will now look to go back-to-back in Fargo. He meets Logan Frazier of Indiana in the championship.

Ayala, who was a three-time state champion for Fort Dodge, also won a Fargo crown as an eighth-grader, becoming FDSH’s first champion since Joe Zuspann in 1974.

“I’m excited for (the finals),” Drake said. “It’s almost time to end this chapter of high school wrestling.”

Dru Ayala, who went 30-6 as a freshman and placed fifth for the Dodgers, was 5-2 in the tournament. He beat Carson Walsh of New Jersey on criteria for seventh after rallying from a 6-2 deficit.

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