Page paces Tiger wrestlers in Bob Smith Open
By CONOR NICHOLL
Fort Hays State University placed six wrestlers in the semifinal round of the Bob Smith Open at Gross Memorial Coliseum. The Tigers went 2-4 in the semifinals and had one champion, junior 285-pounder Trey Page, but coach Chas Thompson was pleased with another solid meet. The Tigers, ranked No. 20 in NCAA Division II, have placed five, seven and four wrestlers.
"I definitely don't want to put my foot in my mouth, but we are looking very solid," Thompson said.
In the semifinals, sophomore 125-pounder Adam Ludwin lost 3-1 to Oklahoma State University's Elijah Hale. Sophomore Symon Seaton lost, 1-0, to Air Force's Carter McElhany after winning most of the match. Senior C.J. Napier fell 5-4 to Oklahoma State's Dean Heil.
Sophomore Noah Killip lost by fall at 149 against University of Central Oklahoma's Jordan Basks, ranked second in NCAA Division II. Killip was winning the match against Basks, but he ended up getting turned and pinned. Killip and Napier took third.
"Every person wrestling was a hammer," Thompson said. "Including us. Down to the wire matches."
Freshman Jon Inman defeated New Mexico Highlands' Igor Gomzin, 8-2, in the semifinal, but lost by major decision to Oklahoma State's Nolan Boyd in the championship.
"Took a little thumping in the finals, but looked good," Thompson said.
Page finished 5-0, including a bye, and defeated University of Nebraska-Kearney's Ivan DeLeon, 10-3, for the title. Page defeated two nationally ranked wrestlers. Senior 149-pounder Mitchell Means, a former All-American, missed the meet with a serious leg contusion suffered while he slipped doing box jumps.
Means was getting healthy, but then got it hit a couple times in practice and his whole shin swelled up. He should compete Dec. 15 at the Newman Invitational.
"He probably could have drilled today, but live wrestling, it was just still really tender," Thompson said.
The Open concluded around 5 p.m., normally four to five hours earlier than usual. Weather conditions kept many southern teams from traveling. A couple of Oklahoma and Colorado schools couldn't make the trip. A few other colleges no-showed because of the weather, and some called Friday and let Fort Hays know they wouldn't come. Typically, the meet has around 300 wrestlers.
The day started with 260, but there were a couple scratches in the morning. FHSU started a little later this year - normally the Bob Smith Open is the fourth or fifth meet.