Tigers Place 4th at MIAA Championships, Tooley Champion at 157 Pounds

FHSU Sports Information Department

KEARNEY, Neb. – Fort Hays State finished fourth for the second-consecutive year at the MIAA Championships held on Sunday (Feb. 12) in Kearney, Neb. The Tigers scored 56.5 points. Individually the Tigers saw six wrestlers reach the podium with one champion crowned.

Nebraska-Kearney, the second-ranked team in the country, took home first place with 98 points and was followed closely by seventh-ranked Central Oklahoma with 95 Points. Lindenwood rounded out the top three with 59 points.

At 157 pounds, redshirt freshman Greg Tooley claimed his first MIAA Championship thanks to a 3-0 day. He started the day with an 18-2 technical fall over Forlanda Parker of Newman to advance to the semifinals, where he cruised to an 8-0 major decision over Bryan Dutton of UCO. In the finals, Tooley squared off with Nebraska-Kearney’s Destin McCauley and claimed the crown with a 3-1 decision.

Brandon Ball, the No. 10 wrestler at 141 pounds went 2-1 on his way to a runner-up finish. Ball started the day with a 9-2 decision over UNK’s Jeff Bizzle, then punched his ticket to the finals with an 8-0 major decision over Chase Kelly of Lindenwood. In the finals, Ball fought hard but dropped a tight 6-5 decision to Central Oklahoma’s Josh Ailey.

At 197 pounds, Jon Inman ranked No. 2 nationally, also took home second place honors on the day with a 2-1 performance. Inman punched his way to the finals with a pin in the first round over Newman’s Sage Eckman, then a 7-3 decision over Lindenwood’s Dillon Archer. Waiting for Inman in the finals was No. 3 ranked Greg Wilson of Central Oklahoma. The two wrestlers split earlier meetings this year with Inman winning the first and Wilson winning the second last Sunday (Feb. 5). With a late takedown awarded to Wilson in the second period, the score was tied at 4-4 heading into the third. Wilson then had the choice of position and selected bottom. He earned a quick escape to take the 5-4 lead then held Inman at bay for the rest of the period.

At 174 pounds, Micquille Robinson took home third place honors by going 2-1. After dropping his first match, Robinson needed just one match to claim third place. After a bye in the consolation quarterfinals and a medical forfeit by his opponent in the consolation semis, Robinson faced Newman’s Kyle Ryan in the consolation finals. It was a close match but Robinson built up an early lead to hold on and claim a 7-5 decision.

Rakim Dean also finished third place at 184 pounds. After receiving a bye in the first round, Dean dropped his first match to UNK’s Zach Stodden, ranked No. 8 in the nation, by a 6-2 decision. In the consolation bracket, he received a bye in the semifinals to advance automatically to the third-place match. There he met Central Oklahoma’s Gage Stallworth, whom he handled with a tight 6-5 decision.

Wrapping up the scoring for the Tigers was heavyweight and ninth-ranked Christian Lance who also claimed third place. Lance started the day with a 12-1 major decision over Lindenwood’s John Kramer. In the semifinal bout, Lance went toe-to-toe with fourth-ranked Caleb Cotter of Central Oklahoma. For the third time this season, Cotter got the better of Lance in an 8-3 decision. In the consolation bracket, Lance went on to win his next two matches and claim third place thanks to a 3-2 decision over UCO’s Kyle Factor and a 5-2 decision over Lindenwood’s Jacob Borgmeyer.

Tooley, Ball, Inman, Robinson, Dean, and Lance earned All-MIAA honors for their performances by finishing among the top three.

The Tigers will now use an extended break to rest and prepare for the NCAA Super Regional in Golden, Colo., February 24-25.

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