The Fort Hays State wrestling team came away with an exciting 24-19 win over UNC Pembroke Wednesday evening in its first dual action of the year. It is the first time the Tigers have won their opening dual of the season since the 2014-15 season. The Tigers open the year 1-0 while the Braves move to 6-6 on the season.
After forfeiting at 125 pounds, the Tigers quickly tied things up when Dy'Juan Carney won at 133 pounds via injury default.
Competing for the first time this season, Brandon Ball handed the Tigers their first lead of the night with a 6-2 win over Jonathan Miller at 141 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Ball started the second period on top and maintained control for the entire frame. The senior made a quick escape in the final period and grabbed one more takedown to seal the 6-2 decision.
Anthony Scantlin padded the lead to 12-6 with a back-and-forth 5-4 decision over Tyler Makosy at 149 pounds. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, Scantlin took the lead with an escape and a takedown in the second period. Makosy went back on top with a pair of escapes before Scantlin secured the win with another takedown.
Tristan Porsch pushed the Tiger lead to 18-6 thanks to an injury default victory in the second period. The sophomore was in front at the time 6-3 thanks to two first period takedowns.
The Braves cut the lead in half when Kaleb Warner pinned Conrad Vajnar in his first action of the season, but Marty Verhaeghe helped the Tigers regain momentum with a 6-1 decision at 174 pounds. The junior took an early lead with a first period takedown before going in front 5-1 with an escape and takedown in the second period. Verhaeghe took care of business in the final period, riding out the full two minutes to stretch the Fort Hays State lead to 21-12.
Aryus Jones and Brandon Sloop put on quite a show at 184 pounds, with Sloop coming away victorious with a sudden victory takedown, 6-4. Neither side was able to gain an advantage until Sloop managed a third period takedown. Jones escaped and regained the lead with a takedown of his own, but Sloop managed to tie things up with an escape just before the horn sounded. The UNC Pembroke wrestler picked up another takedown early in the overtime period to seal the win and help the Braves close within 21-15.
UNC Pembroke closed within two with a 23-9 major victory at 197 pounds, leaving the fate of the evening in the hands of the heavyweights. Ryan Monk took control early with a takedown, but A.J. Cooper leveled things out with a reversal. Cooper took a 4-2 lead in the second period with a reversal before picking up the winning takedown midway through the third period.
The Tigers will look to add three more dual wins to its resume this weekend when they travel to Gunnison, Colo. for the Tracy Borah Duals. FHSU is slated to face off with No. 22 Colorado Mesa, No. 23 Western Colorado and New Mexico Highlands on Saturday (Jan. 11).