Dodgers ready for first wrestling campaign | News, Sports, Jobs



Jon Koenig is working on setting the foundation for the Fort Dodge girls wrestling program.

The wrestling slate is being formed and the girls are getting ready to be a part of Fort Dodge’s historic season.

Prior to the finals of last year’s Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association state tournament inside Xtream Arena in Coralville, it was announced that Iowa will sanction girls wrestling for the 2022-2023 season.

Fort Dodge was quick to have it approved by the School Board, as well as Koening as the head coach.

Koenig and activities director Josh Porter have been working diligently to put together a program the girls are welcomed to and ready to compete.

“It’s been going pretty good,” Koenig said. “Josh (Porter) has been getting a schedule made to set ourselves up to get in front of some good competition.

“We will have two overnight trips, going to Council Bluffs and the Donnybrook.”

There are currently 17 girls ready to hit the mat for Fort Dodge when the season begins on Oct. 31.

“We are really looking forward to getting started,” Koenig said. “For our two overnight competitions, we have to raise some funds for that, so we can get some good competition and be able to show these girls some big events.

“We are working on a poster that companies, and anyone, can show their support for. We just want people to have the opportunity to contribute to seeing that these girls have the chance to succeed and compete.”

There will be wrestlers from St. Edmond as well as Webster City joining Fort Dodge on the mat.

Fort Dodge will also return senior Alexis Ross, who was an IWCOA state champion last year. Ross finished third and second previous to her state title.

New this year after sanctioning was announced will be postseason regional qualifier. There will be four sites and it will be held on Jan. 27. The state tournament will be held Thursday and Friday Feb. 2 and Feb. 3.

There will be one class of wrestling with 14 weights that start at 100 pounds and go up five pounds each weight up until 145. After that it will be 155, 170, 190 and 235.

“I want to thank the Booster Club,” Koenig said. “They were able to get us our entire uniform set, which includes a short combo, if that’s what someone wants to wear.”

Koenig is pleased with the numbers he has seen so far as well as at the Fort Dodge Middle School. If girls want to come out Koenig has the welcome mat out.

“The biggest thing is why not give it a shot,” Koenig said. “I have talked to some of the basketball girls and told them to come in and have a workout. Once you come in and get your hand raised — it’s very addictive.

“It’s like golf, if you hit a bunch of bad shots and then hit that 300-yard drive, it was well worth it. If you’ve been struggling and then get a victory, it will be worth everything.”

Koenig knows there will be some girls that are tentative of giving it a try and also those that are close to committing.

“We don’t want to overwhelm these girls,” Koenig said. “There will be different levels of experience walking into the room, but the big difference now is they only have to wrestle girls.

“I just want to tell girls that are coming out, they have to remember that most of these girls are new to this sport. There are some higher caliber girls that may be where we are, but that doesn’t mean they will face them.”

There will be some kinks and issues to workout as well as funds that need to be raised for the two overnight trips.

At the scheduled events will be a scramble event, where the girls will be in brackets and compete against each other. There will not be any dual meets unless it is possible with most of the weights filled.

To get the middle school girls involved as well, Koenig sees in the possible future having a seventh through 12th grade practice.

“I’m very happy that Ben Schnurr is taking on that job (at the Middle School, boys and girls),” Koenig said. “To help build the girls program and be in districts and state we have to have a middle school program.

“Tom Daniel (FDMS activities director) and Ben are trying to figure out if we can sustain some seventh through 12th grade practices.”

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