KEARNEY, Neb. - 22nd-ranked Fort Hays State wrestling turned in a 1-2 record at the eighth annual Midwest Duals Saturday (Jan. 25), defeating Northwest Kansas Tech before a pair of narrow defeats against Chadron State and No. 23 Northern State. The Tigers' dual record now sits at 4-4 on the year.
A.J. Cooper, Aryus Jones, and Marty Verhaeghe all finished the day a perfect 3-0, with No. 2 Brandon Ball turning in a 2-0 record to go along with a win via forfeit. All three of Cooper's victories were via pin.
The Tigers opened the day with a big 34-16 win over Northwest Kansas Tech thanks in large part to three Maverick forfeits. Fort Hays State came away victorious in four of the seven matches thanks to wins from Verhaeghe, Jones, Jordan Davis and Cooper.
Fort Hays State fell behind 10-0 against Chadron State and could never quite come back, falling 25-22. Ball got the Tigers on the board with a dominating 15-0 tech fall before Anthony Scantlin helped close the gap to 10-8 with an 8-4 decision. Verhaeghe (MD 20-8) and Jones (MD 12-1) both picked up major decision wins for the Tigers, but not before the Eagles ran away with wins at 157 and 165 pounds. Cooper finished things off with a first-period pin, but it wasn't quite enough to complete the comeback.
The Tigers found themselves in another early hole against No. 23 Northern State, trailing 11-0 after two bouts before falling 24-19. The Black and Gold came away with wins in five of the next eight matchups, but another tech fall and another pin gave the Wolves enough of an edge to seal the victory. Ball picked up another big win at 141 pounds, earning four team points with a 16-4 major decision. Tristan Porsch helped the Tigers stay in it with a 7-5 win at 157 pounds before Verhaeghe (Dec 3-0) picked up his third win of the day at 174 pounds. Jones followed with his third victory of the morning before Cooper tallied his third pin of the day.
Fort Hays State returns home to continue conference action on Friday (Jan. 31) when the Tigers host No. 6 Central Oklahoma. The dual is set to begin at 7 p.m. inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.