The No. 10 ranked Fort Hays State wrestling team competed at the Super Region IV Tournament on Saturday (Feb. 23), hosted by Lindenwood University. Junior Brandon Ball (141 pounds) secured his third-consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II National Championships. Sophomore Marty Verhaeghe (165 pounds) and Aryus Jones (174 pounds) each captured fourth-place finishes. Seniors Ryne Cokeley (149 pounds) and Micquille Robinson (184) both earned fifth-place finishes.
The No. 1 ranked Ball made easy work of his regional title as he began his day with a fall (2:50) over James Loi of Kentucky Wesleyan. Ball then earned another fall after pinning Caleb Osborn (Truman) in 3:58. In the semifinals, Ball defeated Danny Swan of Lindenwood with a commanding 12-3 major decision, punching his ticket to nationals with one match to spare. The Great Bend native went on to defeat Nate Keim (Central Oklahoma) with a narrow 3-2 decision and improved his undefeated season to 24-0 on the year.
Ball will now have about two weeks to prepare for the NCAA Division II National Championships on March 8 and 9 in Cleveland, Ohio.