LAS VEGAS, N.M. — The Fort Hays State University wrestling team is sending four Tigers to the NCAA Division II Championships on March 9 to 10 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
At the NCAA Midwest Super Regional on Saturday, Efe Osaghae claimed a runner-up finish at 149 pounds, while Rakim Dean (197) earned a third-place finish and both No. 3 Brandon Ball (141) and Ryne Cokeley (157) captured fourth-place finishes to solidify spots at nationals.
After going 3-0 on Day 1 and sealing his birth at nationals, fourth-ranked Osaghae fell in the title bout in a 5-4 decision at the hands of fifth-ranked Daxton Gordon of California Baptist.
Dean, a senior, was the fourth Tiger to qualify for nationals after defeating Donavon Rincon of CSU-Pueblo with a 9-1 major decision and Garrett Strang of California Baptist in the consolation championship with a 6-1 decision to claim a third-place finish. Dean will make his first appearance at the DII season finale.
For the second-straight season, third-ranked Ball earned a trip to the championships. This time around, the sophomore took home a fourth-place finish at regionals. In his first match of the day, Ball returned the favor to Clay Archer of CSU-Pueblo as he claimed a 10-0 major decision victory this go-around. Ball dropped the consolation championship to Dylan Udero of Adams State in overtime, 6-4.
Cokeley, a junior, qualified for nationals in his first season as a Tiger. Cokeley claimed a fourth-place finish after defeating Bryan Dutton of Central Oklahoma in the consolation semifinals with a 6-2 decision before falling to Matt Malcom of Nebraska-Kearney for the second time during the weekend in a 10-2 major decision.
Fort Hays State finished sixth in the team standings. California Baptist won the super regional with 114.5 points, followed by Nebraska-Kearney with 111 and Adams State with 90.