HAYS — The 22nd-ranked Fort Hays State wrestling team could not overpower third-ranked Nebraska-Kearney, falling to the Lopers 34-11 on ThursdaY). Seniors Jordan Davis and Brandon Ball both earned big wins in their final home dual as a Tiger. FHSU (5-6, 1-2 MIAA) had chances to win several other bouts, but UNK (13-7, 3-1 MIAA) held on each time.
The match opened at 165 pounds, with UNK taking a 5-0 lead after an 18-2 tech fall. Conrad Vajnar jumped in front early with a quick takedown, but second-ranked Matt Malcom turned things around to clinch the win in 3:38. Marty Verhaeghe picked up a late reversal to try and claw back in the 174-pound bout, but UNK's Terrell Garraway did enough early to win 6-3.
Aryus Jones battled for all seven minutes against fourth-ranked Anthony Mancini at 184 pounds, but the Hays junior couldn't quite get the takedown he needed. Jones led 2-1 after a third-period reversal before Mancini scored the final three points to push the UNK lead to 11-0.
Jordan Davis got the Tigers on the board with a pin at 197 pounds, sticking Andrew Demos to the mat in 4:19. The senior managed a takedown midway through the second period, putting Demos flat on his back to pull FHSU within 11-6.
A.J. Cooper gave fifth-ranked Jarrod Hinrichs all he could handle at 285 pounds, tying the score with an escape with 20 seconds left before the UNK senior finished off a 10-4 decision with a late takedown and near fall.
Nebraska-Kearney added 11 team points with a tech fall and a pin over the next two bouts before second-ranked Brandon Ball stopped the momentum with a dominating win. The undefeated senior earned a quick takedown and never let up, leading 8-0 after a pair of near fall counts. Ball got a quick escape in the second period before finishing things off with another takedown and a four count, clinching a 16-0 tech fall in 4:53.
The Lopers capped off the evening with a 4-2 decision at 149 pounds and a pin at 157 pounds.
The Tigers will wrap up the regular season Wednesday (Feb. 19) when they head to Wichita, Kan. to face off with Newman at 7 p.m.. FHSU will be back at home on Sunday, March 1 when the Tigers host the NCAA Division II Super Region IV Championships.
#3 Nebraska-Kearney 34, #22 Fort Hays State 11
165 - #2 Matt Malcom over Conrad Vajnar (TF 18-2, 3:38)
174 - Terrell Garraway over Marty Verhaeghe (Dec 6-3)
184 - #4 Anthony Mancini over Aryus Jones (Dec 4-3)
197 - Jordan Davis over Andrew Demos (Fall 4:19)
285 - #5 Jarrod Hinrichs over A.J. Cooper (Dec 10-4)
125 - #1 Josh Portillo over Colin Cole (TF 20-2, 2:45)
133 - #4 Wesley Dawkins over Dy'Juan Carney (Fall 1:52)
141 - #2 Brandon Ball over Ryan Johnson (TF 16-0, 4:53)
149 - Sam Turner over Anthony Scantlin (Dec 4-2)
157 - Jacob Wasser over Josh Lenker (Fall 0:34)
FHSU Sports Information