Closing out its regular season stretch, the Newman wrestling team hosts in-state rival Fort Hays State for Senior Night Thursday at 7 p.m. in Fugate Gymnasium. The match will be preceded at 5 p.m. by a high school dual between Derby and Manhattan, as well as a ceremony to honor senior Jake Gentzler.
The Jets (2-7, 0-4 MIAA) will look to pick up their first MIAA victory against one of their most familiar foes. Newman added its second dual win of the season last Thursday against Pratt Community College, earning a 25-15 victory and winning six weight classes. This comes on the heels of winning four titles and earning a second-place finish at the Kansas Cup in late January.
Junior Dustin Reed picked up his third tech fall of the season against Pratt, running his individual winning streak to 16 and his season record to 22-1 with his lone loss to Division I Nebraska’s Kris Williams. JuniorColton Duhr is 8-4 in 2016, winning five of his last six with his only loss coming to Nebraska-Kearney’s No. 5 Chase White in a 6-1 decision. Freshman Heath Gray has been regaining his footing, winning seven of his past eight, including five by bonus points, and sophomore Kyle Ryan remains a perfect 4-0 in MIAA duals.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
The Tigers (6-5, 1-3 MIAA) grabbed their first conference win of the season Feb. 3 with a 44-9 victory over Central Missouri. They’re also closing out their regular season with this dual before Sunday’s MIAA Championships. FHSU won eight weights and recorded four pins against the Mules, getting back into the win column after facing a string of three straight top-10 teams in duals and suffering three close losses to No. 4 Maryville, No. 10 Lindenwood and No. 5 Nebraska-Kearney.
Fort Hays brings a pair of wrestlers who have recorded 20 wins already this season in senior 125-pounder Adam Ludwin, who is 20-7, and junior Jon Inman at 184, who is 28-1. Six Tiger wrestlers expected to be in the starting lineup have already faced off with Newman starters in individual tournaments this season. Reed has topped Ludwin twice already, including a major, while Inman has pinned Ryan. The Jets hold a 7-2 advantage in those meetings this year overall.
IN THE RANKINGS
Newman comes in at No. 11 in the Super Region 4 rankings and is receiving votes nationally from D2wrestle. Reed is second in the country and continues to top the region at 125 pounds, while Dalton Weidl at 197 broke into the region rankings this week at No. 5.
The Tigers are ranked seventh in the region as a team and have five individuals ranked at their weights, led by Inman, who is second in the region and No. 6 in the country at 184. Ludwin is fifth in the region at 125, Bradley Little is the same at 149 and Joey Dozier matches them at 157. Cash Drylie comes in sixth at 197.
Fort Hays has won all five matchups between the two sides, including the only two as MIAA conference foes. The Tigers won 41-8 last season at home.
For updates, follow along with Newman Athletics on Twitter, @Newman_Jets. For full coverage, visit www.newmanjets.com.