Dodgers 3rd at Clinton
Ayala, Egli capture titles
CLINTON — Fort Dodge head coach Bobby Thompson is looking for a little extra juice from his wrestlers with the postseason right around the corner.
He saw it on Saturday from Dodger senior Ben Egli.
Egli joined teammate Dru Ayala in the winner’s circle at the Bob Lueders Clinton Invitational, as Fort Dodge placed third overall.
Sixth-ranked (Class 3A) Marion Linn-Mar won the team title (190 points), with No. 3 (1A) Lisbon (175.5) and the fifth-rated Dodgers (171.5) close behind.
Egli (23-11) had two pins and a decision at 182 pounds, where he is currently ranked fourth.
“Ben showed an extra gear and really wrestled lights out,” Thompson said. “He was aggressive and he was physical. He could do some things here coming up in the weeks to come, but like all of our guys, he has to show that consistency and sense of urgency.
“It’s all there for him, and if he competes like he did (on Saturday), good things will happen.”
Ayala (30-2), a sophomore rated 2nd at 106, recorded two pins and a technical fall for the title.
“Dru was dominant again,” Thompson said. “He’s getting close to where he needs to be for this time of year. He’s setting the right example.”
Sophomore Damarion Ross (20-4 at 138), ranked fifth, reached the finals before bowing out vs. No. 3 (1A) Cade Siebrecht of Lisbon, 3-1.
“Damarion was right there against a defending state champ,” Thompson said. “He wrestled well and continues to get better every time out.”
Third-rated Max Bishop (20-6 at 113) was also in the championship round for FDSH, where he dropped a 12-4 major decision to Cedar Rapids Prairie’s top-ranked Blake Gioimo.
“Max knows he has all the skill to make a run,” Thompson said. “He’s no different than a lot of guys in our lineup in that he’ll have a high ceiling in the postseason.”
No. 2 freshman Koy Davidson (29-6) at 126 was tipped by Lisbon’s third-ranked (1A) senior Quincy Happel in the semifinals, 7-5 in sudden victory. Davidson bounced back to earn bronze.
“There was a call that didn’t go our way in that match; Koy should’ve won,” Thompson said. “But you live and learn. He fought back and took care of business (to finish third).”
Kane Butrick (12-5) also captured third at 120.
“Kane did well, taking third in a tough bracket,” Thompson said. “He’s making gains every day.”
Senior Kaden Lynch (9-9 at 195) was sixth, and junior Keaton Nichols (20-13 at 285) took seventh, reeling off three straight wins after an opening-round loss to eighth-rated (1A) Wyatt Smith of Lisbon.
“We still need to do a better job overall of closing out matches,” Thompson said. “We’re not that far off, but it’s a critical step we need to make over the next month.”
The Dodgers open tournament action on Friday at Johnston in the CIML Invitational. The meet starts at 4 p.m.
Fort Dodge will also host the Walt Lafollette junior varsity tournament this Saturday at 10 a.m.