Some of state’s best at FM Invite this weekend

Battle of the Border Kid’s tournament on Sunday

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – Some of the best wrestlers in the state and beyond will be taking the mat this weekend in Fort Madison.

The Bloodhounds are hosting the Fort Madison Invitational, a two-day pool play and then bracketed wrestling tournament on five mats at the Hound Dome Friday and Saturday.

Then the little one’s take over on Sunday in at Battle of the Border Kids’ Wrestling Tournament also at Fort Madison High School.

Head Coach Ryan Smith said last year he got rave reviews from area coaches about the event’s format. That word of mouth has brought in additional schools and bring in some of the best wrestlers in the area.

Last year’s Invitational was the first time it had been a two-day affair with pool play.

“Last year was the first time we went to two days and we got rave reviews from the way it was handled,” Smith said.

“They like the format we do with pool wrestling on Friday night where we break them into four man pools. If we have a full brackets that will mean four pools in each weight group.”

The pool play will determine if the wrestlers go into the gold bracket which is for the top eight placers in pool wrestling Friday, or the Silver Bracket, which is the bottom eight in each weight class.

Smith said that helps reduce the possibility of a wrestler coming in and going 0-2 and sitting out the rest of the tournament.

“We like that because then the wrestlers that go 0-2 to start can still wrestling the bracket against other wrestlers at the same level of competition,” he said.

“That’s the best thing about this tournament.”

Cedar Rapids Kennedy is usually the big kid on the block at the tournament and Smith said they will be bringing another strong team. But this year wrestlers will come from Illinois and Missouri as well.

“Liberty, out of Wentzville is coming up and they have some tough individuals and Solon’s another new team coming this year. They’re a Class 2A powerhouse, so they’ll bring some competition up as well,” Smith said.

“Washington is also a new team coming up, so this is going to be a fun tournament.”

All in all 18 teams are signed up to be at the Hound Dome over the weekend. Other schools attending include Clear Creek-Amana, Illini West, Dubuque Hempstead (new), Louisa-Muscatine, Mediapolis, Muscatine, New London, Burlington, Notre Dame, Van Buren and Fort Madison Junior Varsity, among others.

“There’ll be all types of state-ranked kids. Cedar Rapids Kennedy has a strong team and they’re the perennial front-runner, but there will be plenty of state-ranked athletes that will be here.”

At 285 lbs, the bracket could hold four top 10 wrestlers in the state with Fort Madison’s Danen Settles sitting at 8th in IAWrestle rankings. But CR Kennedy’s Josh Vis is currently 2nd and Dubuque Hempstead’s Cayden Lovett is 10th in the most recent rankings. Louisa-Muscatine’s Gabe Hayes is 6th in Class 1A.

In the 145 lb bracket, Kennedy’s Dylan Falck is a top 5 wrestler in that division at 3A, while Ben Faber of Hempstead and CJ Walrath of Notre Dame also could make that bracket interesting. Washington’s Dillon Sanders is 7th in Class 2A.

Other local ranked wrestlers include Burlington’s Duncan Delzell No. 8 at 132 lbs, Grifen Molle at 138 No. 5 from Notre Dame and Blaine Frazier currently No. 2 at 113.

Class 2A notables include Solon’s Hayden Taylor, who sits atop the 138 lb rankings, along with teammates Zeb Gnida 7th at 152, Jax Flynn 2nd at 170,. In the Southeast Conference, Keokuk’s Dylan Jeffers is 5th at 182.

In 1A, New London comes into the tournament ranked 7th in Class 1A as a team and features 113lb Marcel Lopez at the top of the rankings. Lopez has wrestled at 120 as well this year. Other brackets will be interesting with the Tigers Josh Glendening 8th at 126, Dominic Lopez 5th at 138, Gabe Carter 4th at 160. Louisa-Muscatine’s Chase Kruse is 9th at 170.

Action starts at 5 p.m. on Friday through pool wrestling and then action picks up again on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

On Sunday youth wrestlers take the mat with division featuring preK-Kindergarten, bantam (1-2nd graders), novice (3-4th graders) juniors (5-6th graders) and seniors (7-8th graders) in 8-man brackets. Registration can still be done online at: https://www.trackwrestling.com/registration/TW_Register.jsp?tournamentGroupId=160303132

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