LINDSBORG, Kan. — The No. 17 Fort Hays State wrestling team had five wrestlers take first place at the eighth annual Swede Open Saturday (Nov. 16), hosted by Bethany College. The Tigers had more first-place finishers than any other school (Nebraska-Kearney 4, Newman 1). Two of the other nine Tiger wrestlers to compete also finished in the top four in their respective weight class.
Jonathan Ball took the crown at 149 pounds after finishing 4-0 with four different types of wins. The sophomore opened the day with a 17-2 tech fall before pinning his opponent in the quarterfinals. Ball advanced to the finals with a 6-1 decision before winning the title with a 12-3 major decision.
A.J. Cooper had little trouble navigating through the bracket at 285 pounds, winning all five of his matches to secure the title. The junior won his first three bouts via tech fall, dominating Wyatt Wells (Labette CC) 18-3, defeating Dustin Mason (Bethany) 20-2 and crushing Nate Connelly (Hastings) 18-0. Cooper earned a spot in the title bout thanks to an 8-3 decision against Lee Herrington (Nebraska-Kearney) before recording a late pin in the championship bout against Korinthian Nabors (Lindenwood-Belleville).
Tereus Henry had quite the day, going 5-0 to win the 197-pound competition thanks to four pins. The freshman won his opening bout with a pin just seconds before the final horn sounded and added another pin in the first period of the second round. Henry moved on to the semifinals thanks to a sudden victory win over Jace Lacaille of Nebraska-Kearney before getting back to dominating his opponents. He advanced to the championship thanks to another first period fall before taking down another Loper, Andrew Demos, with one minute remaining in the championship bout.
Aryus Jones took home first place at the Swede Open for the second year in a row after dominating the 184-pound bracket. Jones pinned his first two opponents in less than 20 seconds before moving on to the finals with an 18-0 first period technical fall in the semis. The sophomore had to go the full seven minutes in the championship bout, but still did not drop a point in a 5-0 decision.
Marty Verhaeghe took home first place in the 174-pound division thanks to a 4-0 day. He recorded a pin in the first round before winning via decision in the next three rounds. He came away victorious in the championship bout thanks to a go-ahead takedown with 70 seconds left on the clock, earning a 6-4 decision.
Anthony Scantlin reached the championship bout at 157 pounds after three-consecutive wins before finishing in second place. The sophomore picked up a 10-0 major decision in his first match before recording back-to-back decisions in the quarters and semis. Scantlin finished the day 3-1 after dropping the first-place match via a 5-1 decision.
Conrad Cole reached the semifinals after three-straight victories, including an 11-0 major decision and a pin. The senior dropped a narrow 6-3 decision in the semis before recovering with a 15-0 technical fall in the consolation semis. He finished fourth after coming up short in the third-place match.
The Tigers will return to the mat next weekend when they travel north to Kearney, Neb. for the Younes Hospitality Open on Saturday, Nov. 23.