FARGO, ND – The Ross family has been wrestling together across the country.
This week, top spot for a high school competitor – the FargoDome – is the goal for the three Fort Dodge siblings.
Damarion and Alexis Ross will both return to the United States Marine Corps Junior and 16U National Tournament. They are joined by younger brother Dreshaun, who is eligible to compete for the first time.
Fellow Dodger Dru Ayala is also making a return trip to the event after an All-American appearance here a year ago.
“I am the biggest supporter of my siblings” said Damarion, a prospective junior at FDSH who placed seventh in 2022. “We’re always in each other’s corners. That’s what’s fun – we can play each of our own matches, then – win or lose – turn around and stand on the mat for each other’s matches.
“It doesn’t matter who wins, we’ll all do it together.”
Damarion will be in the 16U bracket at 152 pounds. He was 2-2 on his Fargo debut last summer. Alexis – a State Champion Dodger as a junior last January – is at 138 pounds in the women’s junior division. She was also 2-2 at Fargo a year ago.
Dreshaun, a decorated junior champion and five-time Trinity Award winner on the national scene, makes his debut in Fargo at 195 pounds in the 16U division. He will be a freshman for the Dodgers next season.
“My personal goal is to win both Freestyle and Greco. Not only do I expect that from me, but also my coaches and my family.” said 14-year-old Dreshaun, one of only eight Iowa youth wrestlers to ever win six AAU state titles. “All the training I’ve had leads to that.
“It makes it even more exciting to be able to wrestle my brother and sister because we haven’t had the opportunity to wrestle together in the same tournament for a while.”
Alexis has bigger and better things in mind after making history for FDSH last winter.
“I’d just like to go out there and wrestle to the best of my ability, match after match.” Alexis said. “It would be nice to be on the podium.
“It’s always exciting to wrestle with my brothers. I love supporting them and also having their support when I’m on the mat. Family means the most. They know my wrestling best.”
The Ross siblings will start their journey with action on Saturday morning. Ayala – ranked in the top-10 nationally – opens in the 106lb junior class on Sunday.
“I trained a lot in freestyle” said Ayala, a state runner-up last February. “(The goal) is to drive there and bring home a stop sign (a nickname for the octagonal plaque awarded to national champions).”
Ayala went 5-2 at 100lbs in Fargo last summer and finished seventh. He is joined in the 106 bracket by fellow national contender Mack Mauger of Idaho; Colyn Limbert of Ohio; and Gage Singleton of Oregon.
Luke Fierke, a prospective freshman at FDSH, will be in the cadet division at 285 pounds.
The 2022 USA Wrestling Junior and 16U National Championships begin Saturday and run through next Saturday, with competitions in male freestyle, Greco-Roman and female freestyle.