Facing their first tests of the new year, the Fort Dodge boys and girls basketball squads will visit Ankeny this evening.
Tip for the girls game is set for 6:15 p.m., followed by boys action at around 7:45 p.m.
The Dodger wrestling team, meanwhile, meets Charles City and Marshalltown for a triangular inside the FDSH gym beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
After posting a decisive 65-48 victory at Mason City two weeks ago, the Dodger boys (4-2 overall) are looking to stay on the winning track. Seniors JC Hatcher (17.0), Blake Wilder (12.8) and Zach Martinson (10.3) anchor the balanced offensive attack for FDSH. Hatcher now ranks 10th in school history with 698 career points.
In addition, Wilder leads Fort Dodge with 38 rebounds this winter, followed by Martinson (32), Hatcher (24) and classmate Andrew Stover (24).
Following a 76-72 triumph at Ottumwa in their season debut, the Hawks (1-5) have suffered five straight setbacks by an average margin of 25.2 points per game. Senior Vince Walker (13.3), junior Cole Whitaker (7.3) and sophomore Conor Riordan (7.0) are the top scoring threats for Ankeny. The Hawks were trounced by intra-city rival and No. 5 (Class 4A) Ankeny Centennial in their last outing, 84-47.
Meanwhile, the Dodger girls (4-3) are coming off back-to-back losses to sixth-ranked (5A) Waukee (77-54) and No. 9 and defending state semifinalist Mason City (74-51).
Seniors Tiana Mericle (12.0) and Ashley Altman (11.0) and junior Lani Van Zyl (10.4) are Fort Dodge's catalysts. Mericle is also shooting a team-best 78.7 percent (37-for-47) from the field, while pulling down 61 rebounds. Van Zyl paces the Dodgers in assists (30) and steals (23). FDSH has already eclipsed its wins total (three) from the two previous seasons combined.
For the Hawks (1-6), junior Kelsey Yarrow (11.6) and senior Lindsey Dee (5.4) are the focal points. Reigning 5A state semifinalist Ankeny, which has dropped five consecutive games, edged Ottumwa by a 48-46 count for its only triumph back on Dec. 3.
Last season, the Dodger boys and girls both fell short against the Hawks by scores of 64-39 and 73-43, respectively.
The 14th-ranked (Class 3A) Dodger wrestlers face the Bobcats first tonight. Marshalltown and Charles City will then square off at approximately 7 p.m., followed by Fort Dodge and the Comets concluding action around 8:30 p.m.
FDSH settled for a runner-up performance at its own 40th annual Don Miller Invitational back on Dec. 21. No. 4 freshman Triston Lara (106 pounds), fourth-ranked junior Erik Birnbaum (113), No. 9 sophomore Jonah Egli (152) and seventh-ranked sophomore Sam Cook (182) all earned titles for the Dodgers.
Lara (18-1 overall), Birnbaum (16-1), 120-pound sophomore Cole Detmering (13-7), Egli (16-4), Cook (16-3) and No. 8 195-pound senior Riley Prescott (15-5) have each reached double digits in wins this season for Fort Dodge. Birnbaum, Detmering and Prescott are all defending state qualifiers.
Pacing the No. 13 (2A) Comets (7-5) are seventh-ranked Johnny Etherington (120), No. 8 Wyatt Forsyth (138) and seventh-ranked Alex Mitchell (145).
No. 2 (3A) senior Derek Mann (170) is the lone ranked individual for the Bobcats (0-4, 0-0).
Last year, the Dodgers dropped a 47-25 decision to Charles City, while beating Marshalltown, 39-30.