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DODGERS 2ND AT COUNCIL BLUFFS

Davidson, Ross win individual titles for third-ranked Fort Dodge wrestling team

Submitted photo: The No. 3 Fort Dodge wrestling team placed second in the Council Bluffs Classic on Saturday. Koy Davidson (138 pounds) and Dreshaun Ross (215) were individual champions.

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Fort Dodge continues to progress at a pace that makes head coach Bobby Thompson excited about the team’s long-term outlook on the mat.

The third-ranked Dodgers were the Council Bluffs Classic runner-up on Saturday, finishing behind only No. 7 Waukee Northwest in the final team standings. Thompson’s squad crowned multiple champions here for the first time since 2017, and brought home the silver trophy for a second consecutive season in the 43-team field.

“I think we made huge gains,” Thompson said. “It’s a process, but we’re really coming together and showing signs that we’re hungry to keep getting better every day.

“It’s a good mix of kids who want to accomplish big things this year. We’ll be better in February than we are right now — they’ll make sure of it.”

No. 1 Dreshaun Ross and No. 3 Koy Davidson were victorious at 215 and 138 pounds, respectively. Ross (14-0) edged Cy Kruse of Totino Grace in a finals matchup of nationally-ranked standouts, 3-1 in sudden victory. Davidson (14-0) put on a show, defeating four top- or second-rated opponents from their respective states and climbing to the top of the podium as the No. 10 seed.

Ross prevailed in the semifinals, 6-3. He racked up bonus points in his first five matches. Davidson took down top-ranked (Nebraska) 138-pounder Brayden Canoyer in the semis, then defeated No. 1 Carter Freeman of Waukee Northwest for gold, 2-1.

“Given Dreshaun’s injured shoulder, he’s been unbelievable so far,” Thompson said. “He’s obviously had to change his strategy some, but he’s finding different ways to get the job done, which is great to see.

“Koy is definitely dialed in. He felt like he had something to prove, and he proved it. His last four matches were close (score-wise) against some outstanding competition.”

Second-rated Dodger senior and future Iowa Hawkeye Dru Ayala (14-1) reached the finals at 120 before bowing out to unbeaten Kiernan Meink of Millard South (Neb.). Senior Damarion Ross (11-2) was third at 190 pounds, classmate Kane Butrick (11-4) finished fourth at 132, and Cal Hartman (12-3) took fifth at 175.

Ross and Hartman are both currently ranked 2nd. Butrick is 11th.

“They all wrestled like seniors,” Thompson said. “Dru’s going to be back down to 113 when Sammy (Davidson) comes back (and moves into the 120 position) this week. Dru was right there and (accumulated) a lot of bonus points for us.

“Damarion wrestled tough, and so did Kane and Cal. They lost close matches on the championship side but bounced back and kept fighting.”

Sophomore Luke Fierke (11-4) was ninth at heavyweight. Sophomore Jesse Egli (8-7) took 10th at 157.

The Dodgers finished with 416.5 points. Northwest had 427. Lincoln (Neb.) East (307.5), Totino-Grace of Minnesota (292.5) and Brandon Valley of South Dakota (284) rounded out the Top-5.

Fort Dodge will make its 2023-24 home debut on Tuesday against Des Moines Lincoln and Roosevelt. The Dodgers then host the annual Don Miller Invitational on Saturday.

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