Verhaeghe, Cooper clinch All-American status


Marty Verhaeghe, A.J. Cooper, and Tereus Henry competed in Day One of the NCAA DII Championships in St. Louis, Mo. on Friday (March 11). Verhaeghe (184) and Cooper (285) advanced to Saturday’s action and are guaranteed to finish with All-America honors, while Henry (197) saw his season come to an end.

Verhaeghe advanced to the quarterfinals with a fall in 3:26 over Matt Weinberg of Kutztown. Weinberg picked up a takedown early and Verhaeghe escaped almost immediately making the score 2-1 at the end of the opening period. Verhaeghe chose bottom in the second period and recorded a quick escape. He followed with a takedown seconds later and turned him for the pin. The two-time qualifier then faced the champion from Super Region VI, Billy Higgins of Nebraska-Kearney. This was the third matchup between these two in just 28 days. With help from a pair of takedowns, Higgins remains unbeaten in the series with a 5-4 decision. Verhaeghe, on the consolation side, faced Noah Curreri for a chance to place. The match was tied entering the third period, but Verhaeghe escaped early in the period and was able to score a takedown shortly after. Curreri would score an escape late in the period, but Verhaeghe was able to hang on and guarantee his All-America finish. Verhaeghe will face Reece Worachek of UW-Parkside in the consolation quarterfinals.

Cooper also advanced to the quarterfinals as he upset seventh-seeded Jacob Robb of Mercyhurst with a 5-4 decision. Robb took the lead early with a first-period takedown and Cooper picked up an escape in the second period making the score 2-1 in favor of Robb entering the third period. Robb scored an escape to start the period, but Cooper tied the match with a takedown. Robb was able to escape again and take the lead 4-3 with 38 seconds left. Cooper shot in and was able to record a takedown as time expired to secure the upset. The Cimarron, Kan. native then faced second-seeded Darrell Mason of Minnesota State. Mason scored three takedowns on his way to an 8-4 decision over Cooper, sending him to the backside. Cooper would face Juan Holmes of Limestone for an opportunity to continue wrestling tomorrow. After a scoreless first period, Cooper scored an escape and a takedown in the second and held off Holmes for a 4-1 decision to guarantee a second consecutive All-American finish. Cooper will face long-time rival Lee Herrington of Nebraska-Kearney in the consolation quarterfinals.

Henry faced second-seeded Noah Ryan of St. Cloud State in the opening round. At the end of the first period, Henry led 2-1 with a takedown. Ryan would pick up an escape late in the second period and took the lead with a takedown as time expired. Henry was able to score an escape early in the third, but Ryan held on for the 4-3 decision. The first time qualifier would then face seventh-seeded Joel Leise of Gannon in the first consolation round. The match remained scoreless until Leise turned Henry in the second period and recorded a fall in 4:47 to bring an end to Henry’s season. The redshirt-freshman finished with an overall record of 28-12.

Action will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday (March 12) starting with the championship semifinals.

Full Results for Fort Hays State – Day One
Martin Verhaeghe (40-8) scored 6.5 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – Martin Verhaeghe won by fall over Matt Weinberg (Kutztown). (Fall 3:26)
  • Quarterfinal – Billy Higgins (Nebraska-Kearney) 19-6 won by decision over Martin Verhaeghe. (Dec 5-4)
  • Cons. Round 2 – Martin Verhaeghe won by decision over Noah Curreri (Queens). (Dec 4-1)

Tereus Henry (28-12)

  • Champ. Round 1 – Noah Ryan (St. Cloud State) won by decision over Tereus Henry. (Dec 4-3)
  • Cons. Round 1 – Joel Leise (Gannon) won by fall over Tereus Henry. (Fall 4:47)

AJ Cooper (32-11) scored 4.5 team points.

  • Champ. Round 1 – AJ Cooper won by decision over Jacob Robb (Mercyhurst). (Dec 5-4)
  • Quarterfinal – Darrell Mason (Minnesota State) won by decision over AJ Cooper. (Dec 8-4)

Cons. Round 2 – AJ Cooper won by decision over Juan Holmes (Limestone). (Dec 4-1)

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