By: Jake Torkelson

The Jaguars and defending State Champion Dodgers open their seasons in a ranked clash right out of the gate. Wrestling fans didn’t have to wait long to see a top ten battle, pitting the fifth ranked Dodgers against the sixth ranked Jaguars.

Drake Ayala is your early favorite to bring home a title at 113 pounds come February, and is ranked #1 by IAwrestle. Ayala finished second to Cullan Schriever at 106 pounds last year. He was a Fargo All-American in July. Drake kept the momentum going this fall when at Agony in Ames he beat, at the time ranked third nationally, Braxton Brown of Texas 9-5. The following weekend he was runner-up in the prestigious Super 32 tournament in North Carolina. This all equals a ranking of no. 2 nationally. Drake’s opponent looks to be Jackson Bresson of Ankeny Centennial.

120 pounds brings the first of four ranked matchups in the dual. Carson Taylor of Fort Dodge after finishing fifth at last years State Tournament at 113 pounds enters the season ranked third by IAwrestle. He will face Noah Blubaugh of Ankeny Centennial, who was a State qualifier a year ago. Noah enters the season ranked fifth by IAwrestle.

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At 126 pounds the Dodgers have ninth ranked Brooks Cowell going up against Joey Mayer of Centennial.

Ben Monroe enters the season as IAwrestle’s top ranked 132 pounder, however he’ll take on Kody Cook of Fort Dodge at 138 pounds to start the season. Monroe was the runner-up at 120 pounds at the State Tournament last February.

At 145 pounds is our second ranked matchup. Devon Ross of Fort Dodge will look to improve upon his sixth place finish last February at Wells Fargo Arena at 138 pounds, and begins the season ranked fifth by IAwrestle. His opponent, Eric Owens of Ankeny Centennial, just missed qualifying for the tournament last year at 132 pounds, finishing third at Districts. Owens is ninth in IAwrestle’s pre-season rankings.

Logan Neils of Centennial will face Kaden Smith of Fort Dodge in another ranked matchup at 170 pounds. Neils starts his season ranked third after finishing fourth in the state last year at 160 pounds. Smith is fifth in IAwrestle pre-season rankings; he was a state qualifier a year ago.

The last of the ranked matchups comes at 182 pounds. Nic Leo of Centennial begins the year ranked fifth by IAwrestle. Leo was a State qualifier last year for the Jaguars at 170 pounds. He’ll take on Austin Lee of Fort Dodge who was also a State qualifier a season ago, but at 182 pounds. Lee starts the season ranked ninth by IAwrestle.

Triston Licht of Fort Dodge will begin his season ranked fifth by IAwrestle at 195 pounds. His opponent will be Ethan Frazier of Ankeny Centennial. Licht finished eighth at Wells Fargo Arena a season ago.

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Projected Matchups:
106: Lane Cowell FD vs. Jackson Helmkamp AC
113: #1 Drake Ayala FD vs. Jackson Bresson AC
120: #3 Carson Taylor FD vs. #5 Noah Blubaugh AC
126: #9 Brooks Cowell FD vs. Joey Mayer AC
132: Dreyzon Phillips FD vs. Scott Talmadge AC
138: Kody Cook FD vs. #1 Ben Monroe AC
145: #5 Drevon Ross FD vs. #9 Eric Owens AC
152: Tyson Powers FD vs. Carter Cahill AC
160: Savion Wheat FD vs. Anthony Nehring AC
170: #5 Kaden Smith FD vs. #3 Logan Neils AC
182: #8 Austin Lee FD vs. #5 Nic Leo AC
195: #5 Triston Licht FD vs. Ethan Frazier AC
220: Sawyer Springer FD vs. Jayden Cooper AC
285: Logan Finowski FD vs. Lane Pruisner AC

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