Wrestling ranked 12th in preseason poll

By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION

MANHEIM, Pa. – With four individuals ranked in their respective weight class, the Fort Hays State wrestling team enters the 2021 season ranked 12th in the NWCA national coaches poll. The Tigers are one of four MIAA programs listed in the initial top 25 list for 2021.

Fort Hays State received 32 points in the voting process, which is a tournament power index ranking. Point totals are broken down by individual rankings. The Tigers wrapped up last season ranked 14th in the national poll.

Returning All-American Mason Turner enters his sophomore season ranked second at 125 pounds. The Kansas City, Kan. native turned in a 16-5 record last season, including 11 wins via fall. He qualified for the 2020 NCAA DII National Championships after a runner-up finish at the Super Region IV Championships.

Marty Verhaeghe heads into the year ranked sixth at 174 pounds. The senior qualified for the NCAA DII National Championships a year ago after placing second at regionals. He wrapped up the season with a 28-12 record, including a 9-2 mark in duals, helping him win the MIAA Dual Meet Champion honor at 174 pounds.

Aryus Jones opens the season ranked ninth at 184 pounds. The Junction City, Kan. native qualified for the National Championships last season after a win in the third-place bout at regionals. He led the team with seven technical falls and eight major decisions, helping him to a 28-9 record on the year. Jones ranked sixth in Division II with his seven wins via tech fall.

A.J. Cooper kicks off his senior season ranked 10th at 285 pounds. Cooper led the Tigers with 36 wins a year ago, going 36-11 with a team-best 16 wins via pin, the second-most wins via pin in Division II. The Cimarron, Kan. native placed fourth at the Super Region IV Championships and was named MIAA Dual Meet runner-up after going 3-1 in league duals.

Fort Hays State will begin its season Saturday (Jan. 9) when the Tigers host the FHSU Dual Jamboree. Five schools will travel to Hays, including No. 3 Central Oklahoma, No. 10 Adams State, No. 23 Newman, Colorado Mesa and Western Colorado. Action is set to begin at 9 a.m.

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