DES MOINES - Head coach Bobby Thompson saw plenty of positives here this week from his Fort Dodge wrestling team.
Wrapping up the Class 3A individual state tournament on Saturday, the Dodgers turned in another respectable performance, winning three of their four consolation matches.
Fifth-ranked sophomore Sam Cook (182 pounds) grabbed a bronze medal for FDSH, while No. 4 freshman Triston Lara (106) finished fourth. Both Cook and Lara were downed in the semifinals on Friday night.
"I thought all five of our guys (Cook, Lara, sophomore Cole Detmering, junior Erik Birnbaum and senior Riley Prescott) wrestled well down (at Des Moines)," Thompson said. "Having four of our state qualifiers coming back is a great sign. With some quality underclassmen and a bunch of talented eighth graders coming in, the future of Fort Dodge wrestling looks bright."
After blanking Oskaloosa's fourth-ranked Mason Wisse in a 4-0 decision, Cook (42-7 overall) notched a 3-1 victory over No. 9 Dakota Shaw of Keokuk. Cook, who was also making his state debut, now owns 71 career wins.
"Sam had an excellent tournament," said Thompson. "His only loss was to a guy (North Scott's No. 1 and Iowa Hawkeye recruit Mitch Bowman), who is one of the best wrestlers in the state. We're looking forward to seeing what Sam can do now over the next two years."
Lara (43-5) pinned Johnston's sixth-ranked Alex Ksiazek in 3:41. Lara then saw his season come to an end with a 14-6 setback to No. 1 Brenden Baker from Cedar Rapids Jefferson. In the quarterfinals, Lara avenged an earlier loss to Baker with an 8-6 triumph behind a takedown with just four seconds remaining. Baker's only defeat this year was against Lara.
"Triston got caught up and didn't wrestle our style against Baker," Thompson said. "I thought he still had a great week, though. He's the first Dodger freshman state placewinner since Brad Bruhl in 1985, who eventually ended up winning a state title (Bruhl earned a 119-pound 3A crown in 1988)."
Fort Dodge went a combined 9-9 in its state bouts this week.
"I think all of our guys should be motivated to make some noise next year," said Thompson. "It was nice to see that we didn't mess around this week and were all business. We have a great group of young kids."