FHSU's Cooper guarantees All-American finish
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Fort Hays State senior wrestler A.J. Cooper guaranteed himself All-American status and moved on to the national semifinals with a 6-1 decision in the quarterfinal round of the 2021 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships Friday afternoon (March 12).
After receiving a bye to the quarterfinals, Cooper, the fifth seed in the 295-pound bracket, faced off with fourth-seeded Freddie Nixon of Gannon. The pair wrestled to a scoreless stalemate in the first period before the Cimmaron, Kan. native chose bottom to start the second period. Cooper quickly escaped to open the scoring, but was later charged his second stalling penalty to tie the score at 1-1.
Cooper proceeded to dominate in the third period, riding out the full two minutes before securing a four-point near-fall just before the horn sounded to seal the win. The Tiger also earned the ride time point to lock up the 6-1 decision.
Cooper was set to face off with top-seeded and undefeated Kameron Teacher of St. Cloud State on Saturday.