Tiger wrestlers roll past Lindenwood
By KLINT SPILLER
Zack Grimes sprung up and jutted his tongue out after scoring his fourth takedown in less than a minute, and then with both hands imitating guns, he pointed beyond Lindenwood University's bench toward his friends in the upper part of the north bleachers.
Grimes, a Fort Hays State University redshirt 184-pound freshman, overcame a 6-2 deficit with 40 seconds remaining in his match and won 10-8 in overtime against Lindenwood sophomore Jake Landals (5-15).
"They were some friends I got in the dorms last year," Grimes said regarding to whom he was gesturing. "They come to all my duals. I always point at them at the end of the match. I just do it every match."
Grimes (24-14) provided an exciting finish in what was a lopsided dual.
The No. 17 Tigers demolished Lindenwood 36-5 on Friday at Gross Memorial Coliseum, but Grimes' match brought FHSU's crowd to its feet.
"This one was definitely exciting," Grimes said. "I could hear the crowd cheering for me, so I knew I had to go all out there at the end."
Grimes fell behind 5-0 after a rough first period. He got a reversal in the second period, but he was unable to break down Landals and close the gap.
Grimes continued to try and break him down in the third period, but down 5-2 with 40 seconds remaining, he had to abandon his strategy.
He allowed Landals to escape and then relentlessly attacked. Again and again, Grimes scored a takedown and immediately allowed Landals to get back up. It took three takedowns in 40 seconds just to tie it.
"Throughout the years, I've noticed I've got a pretty good gas tank," Grimes said. "I'm in shape more than most people."
"After I got that first takedown pretty easily, I knew he was done," he added. "I just had to keep moving and keep my feet going and rack them up."
By the time overtime started, Grimes sprinted back to the line and made short work of Landals.
"I knew momentum was on my side at that point," Grimes said.
With the win, FHSU improved to 11-6 and 2-1 in MIAA duals this season while Lindenwood dropped to 2-6 and 1-3 in the MIAA.
The dual was a blowout, but Grimes' match wasn't the only close one. Two of FHSU's victories were decided by riding time.
Junior C.J. Napier, 26-4 and ranked No. 5 at 141 pounds in NCAA Division II, entered the match as the favorite, but he needed riding time to win by a 3-2 decision against Lindenwood senior Craig Chiles.
Redshirt freshman Noah Killip (17-7) needed riding time to sway a 3-2 decision at 149 pounds as well.
"Arguably, it could have went either way, but riding came down to it, so it makes it more exciting," said FHSU head coach Chas Thompson.
The Tigers' only loss came at 165 pounds. FHSU senior Mark Roundtree (3-7) wrestled in the place of junior Sam Thoman and got tech falled by Lindenwood junior Luke Roth (7-6).
Thoman, 22-10, and senior Derek Koehn, 25-10 at 157 pounds, both sat out of competition Friday and will sit again Sunday against Truman State University.
Thompson said they decided to do that simply to rest them since Thoman and Koehn have wrestled more than 30 matches already this season.
"We are going to try and refine them a little bit and work on technique stuff, too," Thompson said.
The Tigers have the MIAA Duals Tournament to look forward to on Feb. 10 at Edmond, Okla., and Thompson said he would like to have all 10 wrestlers prepared for the conference's first tournament championship.
"It's just more bragging rights for now, because we won't be in the same region as everybody in our conference," Thompson said
The Tigers will square off against Truman State University at 1 p.m. today at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
The Bulldogs are 5-2 in duals this year, but they have struggled at times this season, including a 23-15 loss to Lindenwood.
However, Truman features several quality wrestlers, such as senior Alex Maus (11-4) at 141 pounds, junior Ryan Maus (17-5) at 149 pounds, junior Colton Schmitz (21-5) at 157 pounds and sophomore Helmut Rentschler (16-9) at 197 pounds.
"We don't overlook anybody," Thompson said. "We are not overlooking them. They've got the Maus brothers and a couple upper weight guys. We are going to treat them like anybody else. We are going to treat them like we would Kearney."