Marshalltown coach Mike Mann is well aware of how the slimmest of margins can determine the outcome of a match or meet.
The Bobcats found out the hard way Monday dropping a few back-and-forth matches that proved to be the difference in a 39-30 loss to Fort Dodge in a Central Iowa Conference North Division dual at the Roundhouse.
"We saw just how minute some of the small details can be in three or four situations of the match," said Mann.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown senior Matt Vandegrift works for a pin against Fort Dodge’s Riley Prescott at the Roundhouse Monday. Vandegrift defeated the seventh-ranked Prescott by an 11-4 decision though the Dodgers came away with a 39-30 victory.
"It's absolutely crucial of how it swings in a period or accumulates to points and puts you out of the game again."
The Bobcats (4-5, 0-1) led twice in the meet at 4-0 and 30-27, but each time the Dodgers rallied with a pair of pins in the next two matches.
Filling in for senior Colten Phillips - who recently tore his bicep - freshman Ryan McDaniel gave the Bobcats their early edge with a 10-0 major decision over Kole Evans.
Fort Dodge 39, Marshalltown 30
120 Ryan McDaniel (MHS) maj. dec Kole Evans, 10-0; 126 Camerson Hicks (FD) pinned Jordan Paone, 3:48; 132- Cory Alexander (FD) pinned Josh Sowers, 1:59; 138 Jonah Egli (FD) dec. Zach Slocum, 7-0; 145 Ben Rebik (MHS) won by forfeit; 152 Kole Kampen (FD) dec. Josh Edel, 14-7; 160 Peyton Williams (MHS) technical fall Willie Moretz, 18-0; 170 Class 3A No. 3 Duke Egli (FD) pinned Devan Mann, :24; 182 Derek Mann (MHS) won by forfeit; 195 Matt Vandegrift (MHS) dec. No. 7 Riley Prescott, 7-0; 220 No. 10 Kyle Johnson (FD) dec. Justus Bjelland, 8-3; 285 No. 6 Pedro Gomez won by forfeit; 106 Erik Birnbaum (FD) pinned Doston Harrelson, 3:10; 113 Cole Detmering (FD) pinned Alec Gill, 1:42.
Marshalltown appeared ready to add to the lead, but Cameron Hicks broke open a close match at 126 late in the second period pinning Jordan Paone in 3:48.
"Paone had a chance. (Hicks) was beating him on his feet, but Paone was owning him on top," said Mann. "I thought we were going to get one there."
Cory Alexander followed with another pin, one of five for the Dodgers (4-2, 1-0), over Josh Sowers in 1:59 to beat the clock in a tightly contested first period and stretch Fort Dodge's lead to 12-4.
Both losses provided examples of how important the mental game can be.
"It's just part of coaching and the kids learning - 'Hey, where am I good? Where do I need help? So let's control this match and control it where I'm best,'" said Mann.
"We need to do a better job of coaching the guys to think like that. We're somewhat young, so it's a learning curve."
The Dodgers held their largest lead at 15-4 before the Bobcats got back in the meet as Ben Rebik grabbed a win by forfeit at 145 pounds.
It was one of three forfeits for the Dodgers, who had three wrestlers out with illness, though two came in matches that Mann was confident his squad would claim six points in regardless.
"(The forfeits) changed the meet a little bit, but they were still able to hang on and get us," said Mann.
Matt Vandegrift knotted the score at 24 with an 11-4 decision over seventh-ranked Riley Prescott.
The win displayed a couple more opportunities where the Bobcats had chances to grab bonus points as Prescott earned a takedown late in the third period to avoid losing by major decision while also fending off a pin attempt.
"Matt did a nice job there, though it would have been nice to get those extra points. That wasn't the meet, we lost by nine. But at the same time he almost had him stuck in the first period, so it would be nice to finish some of those moves," said Mann, who also felt his team had a couple pins that weren't called.
"We had several guys that we thought had their guys pinned and some sticks that we didn't get."
Marshalltown trailed the rest of the meet until Class 3A No. 6 ranked Pedro Gomez earned a forfeit at heavyweight to give the home team a 30-27 edge.
Once again, the Dodgers responded at 106 and 113 as Erik Birnbaum won by fall over Doston Harrelson in 3:10 and Cole Detmering pinned Alec Gill in 1:42.
Marshalltown's other victories came from freshman Peyton Williams at 160 and Derek Mann at 182.
Williams earned an 18-0 technical fall at 160, while Mann won by forfeit.
Marshalltown battles West Des Moines Valley and Waukee at a triangular hosted by the Tigers at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The MHS JV team won nine of 13 matches against Fort Dodge Jose Perez Buzany earned two victories at 170, while the Bobcats' other winners included Hector Hernandez (160), Arturo Mujica (138), Mitch O'Hare (126), Agustin Ortiz (145), Jose Garcia (160), Kenny Parham (138) and Austin Baker (145). ... The Bobcats will wrestle at home on Jan. 3 against Dowling Catholic and Des Moines Roosevelt.