FHSU Sports Information Department
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Fort Hays State saw two wrestlers claim All-America honors at the NCAA Division II Championships on Saturday (Mar. 11). Jon Inman (197) was true to his No. 2 ranking and finished national runner-up at 197 pounds, while No. 10 ranked Brandon Ball (141) finished sixth in the nation. As a team, the Tigers finished 12th.
For the second-straight year, Inman earned All-America honors, this time at 197 pounds after a fifth-place finish last season at 184 pounds. Inman became the seventh Tiger to reach a national championship match since the program joined the NCAA with a big 4-2 overtime sudden-victory decision over Newberry’s Cody Brundage, ranked third in the nation.
The championship bout was a No. 1 versus No. 2 battle, as Inman took on the nation’s top wrestler at 197 pounds, Jacob Waste from California Baptist. Inman fell behind early giving up a takedown and a four-point near fall in the latter part of the first period. He fought hard, but unfortunately, the deficit was too much to come back from and Waste took the match with a 10-2 major decision.
Despite dropping the final match, Inman completed one of the best careers in FHSU history. He finished with an overall record of 141-28 in five years with the Tigers and now holds the best career win percentage at Fort Hays State by winning 83.4 percent of his matches. To add to his two All-America honors, Inman was a four-time national qualifier and has been one of Fort Hays State’s top academic performers and he was a finalist for the MIAA Ken B. Jones Award last year.
After going 2-1 on Friday and sealing All-America status, Ball picked up his 38th win of the season, a 6-5 decision in his first match on Saturday. He dropped the following two matches to No. 2 ranked Nick Crume of Indianapolis by 7-3 decision and Central Oklahoma’s No. 11 ranked Josh Ailey via pin fall in the fifth-place match. With the sixth-place finish, Ball is the first FHSU freshman to earn All-America honors since 2011 when Mitchell Means finished fourth at 149 pounds.
As a team, the Tigers finished 12th overall with 29.5 points, just 3.5 shy of cracking the top ten. Notre Dame (Ohio) took home the team title with 103.5 points, followed by St. Cloud State with 67 points and California Baptist at 56.5 points. The 12th-place finish matched the best for FHSU under head coach Chas Thompson, as his 2010 national qualifiers generated the same placement. It was the 10th time FHSU finished in the top 15 at nationals in the program’s NCAA Division II history.
Ball and Inman now make 13 All-Americans under head coach Chas Thompson and 39 NCAA Division II All-Americans in Fort Hays State history.
Inman finished the year at 28-4 overall, while Ball was 38-8. Also competing at the championships for FHSU were Christian Lance at 285 pounds, who finished the year at 44-10, and Greg Tooley at 157 pounds, who finished at 27-6. Inman generated 17 of the team’s 29.5 points, while Ball accumulated 9.5 points. Tooley scored 2.5 points, while Lance picked up 0.5 team points.