The 22nd-ranked Fort Hays State wrestling team wraps up its regular season home schedule Thursday when the Tigers host No. 3 Nebraska-Kearney. Action on the mat is slated to begin at 7 p.m. inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.
The Tigers will recognize the four seniors on this year's roster with a Senior Night ceremony before the dual begins. This year's senior class includes Brandon Ball, Dy'Juan Carney, Conrad Cole and Jordan Davis.
The Tigers carry a 5-5 dual record into Thursday, including a 1-1 mark in the MIAA. The third-ranked Lopers are 12-6 on the year and 2-1 in conference action.
Ball is wrapping up his fifth year as a Tiger. The two-time All-American has racked up 126 wins over the last five years and his winning percentage of 85.7 percent is the best mark in program history.
Carney has been with the Tigers for three seasons, accumulating 31 wins on the mat. The Tallahassee, Fla. native took home third place at this year's Bob Smith Open. He has earned both the NWCA All-Academic honors and has been listed on the MIAA Academic Honor roll.
Cole is in his fourth year at Fort Hays State. The Brush, Colo. native has won 49 matches as a Tiger, including a third-place finish at the 2018 MIAA Championship Tournament. He was runner-up at this year's Bob Smith Open and twice finished third at the Kansas Cup. Cole has been listed on the MIAA Academic Honor Roll three times and earned D2WCA and NWCA All-Academic Team honors.
Davis has been with the Tigers for five years, racking up 49 wins on the mat, including a 17-8 mark this season. He was named MIAA Wrestler of the week earlier this year after a runner-up finish in the Elite 285 bracket at the Kaufman/Brand/Bayly Open in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo.
Nebraska-Kearney has five wrestlers ranked wrestlers in its lineup, including four in the top five of their respective weight class.Josh Portillo is the top-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds and comes into the week 22-7 on the year. Matt Malcom (26-7) ranks second at 165 pounds, Wesley Dawkins (22-9) is fourth at 133 pounds, Jarrod Hinrichs (15-4) comes in fifth at 285 pounds and Jonathan Killingsworth (20-6) is ranked 11th at 141 pounds.
The Tigers are 26-41 all-time against UNK, with the last win coming at the end of the 2000-01 season.
While Thursday is the final regular season home contest for the Tigers, Fort Hays State will wrestle at home once more this season when it hosts the 2020 NCAA DII Super Region IV Championships on Sunday, March 1. Wrestlers from 11 schools will be competing for 30 spots (three per weight class) in the NCAA Division II National Championships.