FHSU's Cooper draws No. 5 seed in national championship bracket

FHSU Sports Information

INDIANAPOLIS — Fort Hays State senior wrestler A.J. Cooper will be the No. 5 seed in the 285-pound bracket in this weekend's (March 12-13) NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships, announced Friday (March 5) by the NCAA. This year's national championships are being held inside America's Convention Center Complex in St. Louis, Mo.

Cooper will open his run for a national title in the quarterfinals Friday afternoon as he was one of three wrestlers to receive a bye in the first round. He will face off with the winner of Cade Ridley (King) and Freddie Nixon (Gannon).

Cooper enters the national tournament with an 11-2 record this season, including five wins via pin. He earned his first trip to the national championships after finishing as the runner-up at the Super Region IV Championships last weekend. He has a chance to avenge both of this season's losses, with Weston Hunt (Colorado School of Mines) and Jared Rennick (Drury) also qualifying for the national championships.

The Cimmaron, Kan. is a combined 9-5 all-time against the field in the national tournament, including bouts against eight of the other 12 wrestlers and wins over seven potential national opponents. Cooper is 1-0 against Ian Kuehl (McKendree), 1-0 against Cameron Coffman (Lander), 1-0 against No. 3 seed Tristen Weirich (Ashland), 1-0 against Steven Hajas (Augustana), 3-0 against No. 6 seed Lee Herrington (Nebraska-Kearney), 1-2 against No. 7 seed Weston Hunt (Colorado School of Mines), 1-0 against Ryan Monk (UNC Pembroke) and 0-3 against No. 2 seed Jared Rennick (Drury). Cooper has never wrestled either of his potential quarterfinal opponents.

Live streaming video will be available for free via NCAA.com, with live results also available via TrackWrestling.