Tigers top Adams State
By CONOR NICHOLL
The final score read No. 15 Fort Hays State University 24, No. 17 Adams State (Colo.) College 15. However, in Tiger wrestling coach Chas Thompson's eyes, Fort Hays lost. Adams State was open at two of the 10 weight classes, giving FHSU 12 free points.
"We have to rely on forfeits, which you should never have to rely on that," Thompson said. "That's why I am irritated."
Fort Hays went 3-5 in the eight matches and lost 15-12 in the matches, including several defeats in the final seconds. The Tigers improved to 8-5 in duals this season.
"It's going to go in the record books as a win," Thompson said. "Someone just told me 'A win is a win' and shook my hand. I guess that's true. I am not happy. They just got their butts ripped in the locker room back there."
Adams State forfeited at 125 and 197 pounds. Fort Hays' three victories came at 149 with junior Mitchell Means, redshirt freshman Zack Grimes at 184 pounds and junior Tanner Kriss at 285 pounds.
"We obviously lost some matches that we shouldn't have lost," Kriss said. "Some guys didn't wrestle to their full potential. We kind of got stuck in the groove of hanging out with maybe one or two takedowns and the lead and then getting taken down in the last part of the match and lose."
Means was down 9-3 before he earned a pin midway through the second period. Grimes collected a 4-2 victory that tied the dual at 15 all. Kriss, ranked No. 4 at 197 pounds, bumped up to 285, a move Thompson had talked to him about earlier. Kriss was comfortable with the move up. Every day, he has competed against Tiger junior 285-pounder John Close in practice.
"That's why coach threw me in there, just because I am used to moving that large weight around," Kriss said.
When Kriss came on the mat, FHSU led 21-15. Kriss secured the victory by avoiding a fall and collected a 7-0 victory against Adams State's Taylor Stam. Kriss gave up an estimated 30-40 pounds to Stam, but controlled the match.
At 157, senior Derek Koehn, the Tigers' wins leader at 22-8, lost 5-4 when he allowed a third-period takedown.
Junior Sam Thoman took a 3-1 loss at 165 when he also permitted a late takedown.
"He is going through some valleys right now," Thompson said of Koehn. "Some people have seasons where they are just riding a wave and having a lot of peaks. Right now, he is just going through a valley. He was pretty hot there for awhile. It's my job to figure out if I can get him going again."
Sophomore Josh Rodriguez fell in double overtime at 174. He had a 5-4 lead but allowed a reversal and a three-point near fall with 13 seconds left for a 9-5 loss. But Grimes' victory, the forfeit at 197 and Kriss' win allowed the Tigers to escape with win.
"We didn't perform to our capability, but what matters is late February, early March," Thompson said.