Tiger Wrestling set to begin season tonight in Denver

BY CAYDEN SANDERS

Wrestling at FHSU has had a big week. With the announcement of a women’s wrestling program being added on Wednesday, the Men’s program is getting set to start its season today with a dual against DI opponent Northern Colorado in Denver. 

The Tigers start their third season under Head Coach Erik Wince. With Wince getting his footing, he is excited about this season. His program is looking to surprise the country, as the Tigers do not have a senior in the program, with four juniors serving as the upperclassmen leaders. 

“I’m always trying to challenge myself to figure out ways to get better. So, I’ve learned the ropes of division two and finding out the kind of kids who are the best fit for us here, and I think it’s starting to come together,” Wince said. ”It’s been almost a three-year process. I like where we’re at right now.” 

With the season on the horizon for the Tigers, Wince is excited about the program as he feels he is finally getting the younger wrestlers in the room and have a lot to prove. When Wince arrived in the program, he had two seniors in the program, Marty Verhaeghe and AJ Cooper. 

“We have a lot of young talent in the program; if we come out with some victories here and there, I think that we will have a good season moving forward,” Wince said

With the Tigers young in the program, the face of the program is Tereus Henry. Only a redshirt sophomore this season, Henry is the preseason 11th-ranked wrestler in the 197 weight class. Henry, a student-athlete from El Paso, Texas, did not only initially want to be a wrestler in college as he was just fine with walking away from the sport. 

“It’s nice to be ranked, to be honest, but I don’t look at rankings,” Henry said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s nice knowing that everyone’s watching what I do. Like for stuff they’re lost on or may not know how to do. Their just eyes are always on me, pretty much.” 

Henry is not the only wrestler who leads this youthful program. Tony Caldwell looks to take over the 285 weight class which was locked up by veteran AJ Cooper for the past three seasons for the Tigers. In Cooper’s absence from the program, Caldwell looks to replace an All-American 7th place finisher in nationals at the 285 weight class this season. 

“I think I think it starts (Friday), hopefully, shock the nation as Wince has always been talking about we’re gonna go to take down a high division one school, and I think that’s going to be the start to we need for our team,” Caldwell said. “We are looking to put Fort Hays on the map by the end of the year.” 

Another wrestler to watch out for this season is Cody Hicks. Last season Hicks wrestled in the 157 weight class; this season, Hicks looks to wrestle in the weight class above in 165. This past off-season, Hicks put on eight pounds of muscle to reach the next weight class. 

Wince thinks many more competitors on this Tiger team will make some noise in wrestling conversations at the end of the year. 

“Mason Woodward looked really good in our intra-squad last week at 141. He wrestled Jake Mitchell, a junior college national champ from this past year,” Wince said. “Mason Turner’s coming back. He won’t be in the lineup this week, but hopefully, we’ll have him back for Dakota Wesleyan next week.” 

Fort Hays State was picked third in the MIAA preseason wrestling, behind nationally ranked Central Oklahoma and Nebraska Kearney

The Tigers will compete against Northern Colorado in Denver, Colorado, for the first dual of the season. As well as competing in the Baker University Dan Harris Open on Sunday. 

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