KEARNEY, Neb. – The No. 10 ranked Fort Hays State wrestling team fell short with their second half comeback bid against Nebraska-Kearney, falling 29-12, on Sunday (Feb. 10). The Tigers dropped to 2-9 in duals overall and 1-3 in MIAA duals, while the Lopers improved to 12-4 overall and 5-0 in conference action.
Fort Hays State fell behind 11-0 early on as Broderick Green dropped the 125-pound bout to No. 3 ranked Josh Portillo by technical fall (21-3) and Braden Visnieski was pinned by Wesley Dawkins in the first period (0:50).
No. 1 ranked Brandon Ball earned the Tigers their first points of the day with a 7-0 decision over No. 8 ranked Jon Killingsworth at 141 pounds. Ball improved to 19-0 on the season and 13-0 against Division II competition. Ryne Cokeley faced Nick Babcock at 149 pounds, keeping it close into the third period only trailing Babcock 1-0. Babcock pulled away with the bout and defeated Cokeley with a 13-5 major decision.
No. 4 ranked Efe Osaghae put another three points on the scoreboard for the Tigers in the 157-pound weight class after narrowly defeating Walker Johnson with a 3-2 decision. At the intermission, UNK led FHSU 15-6.
Conrad Vajnar gave all he could give against No. 1 ranked Calvin Ochs at 165 pounds, but Ochs veteran experience got the best of Vajnar in the second period with a fall (4:33). At 174 pounds, Aryus Jones earned the Tigers another decision victory after defeating Zach Stodden 11-8 in a back-and-forth battle.
Senior Micquille Robinson cut the deficit by another three points after narrowly defeating Isaac Deaton by one point, 9-8, in the 184-pound match. Robinson earned his team-leading 32nd win of the season and is now 13-4 in Division II.
The Lopers wrapped up the dual with wins in the final two weight classes after Ryan Tiers couldn’t get anything going against Trey Schlender in a 15-0 technical fall defeat and A.J. Cooper was beat out by No. 5 ranked Jarrod Hinrichs in a 7-3 decision at 285 pounds.
The Tigers will regroup and finish off the regular season Wednesday (Feb. 13) as they take on Newman University in the final MIAA dual of the season. The Tigers and Jets will square off at 7 p.m. from inside Fugate Gymnasium.