HAYS, Kan. – The University of Central Oklahoma wrapped up a weekend in Hays, Kansas with a strong showing at the annual Bob Smith Open at Fort Hays State, finishing the tournament with eight placers. Two of those did wrestle unattached.
Heath Gray ran his season record to 14-0 as he earned a spot in the 184-pound championship match. But he lost there, a 6-2 decision to Newman’s Noel Torres. Gray, an unattached redshirt candidate has won the freshman divisions at both Oklahoma City and Nebraska-Kearney. Wrestling in the same division Saturday as his teammates, as well as Division I talent, Gray held his own to the end for a second-place finish.
Zack D’Amico, Blake Dauphin, Mason Thompson and Miguel Barreras all took third place in their respective weights. Tim Null, Will Steltzlen, and Dayton Garrett each took fourth.
D’Amico finished third at 125 pounds, edging teammate Tim Null in the consolation final. D’Amico picked up an early major decision before dropping his only match of the day. He then reeled off four wins in a row in the consolation round. Null followed a similar path before losing to D’Amico in the consolation final. Canon Randle wrestled unattached at 125 pounds and went 4-2 on the day.
Dauphin’s day went win-win-loss-win-win. The 133-pound starter picked up third place after four decisions including a 5-0 win over Nebraska-Kearney’s JD Rader and a 5-4 consolation final win over former Fort Hays State grappler, Adam Ludwin.
Steltzlen dropped his first match of the day at 149 pounds, but bounced back with five straight wins in the consolation round to earn a spot in the final. He had to forfeit though due to the six-match limit rule. Steltzlen finished fourth with a 5-2 record, recording one fall.
Garrett was the second unattached Broncho to place on the day. He first earned a spot in the 157-pound semifinal after three wins to start the day. After a 5:07 loss by fall to Nebraska’s Zemua Baptista, Garrett picked up a quick win in the consolation semifinal before ending his day fourth. Garrett went 4-2 on the day with both losses coming to wrestlers from the University of Nebraska.
Thompson won his first two matches at 165 pounds before being sent to the consolation bracket by one of several Oklahoma State starters in Hays. Thompson responded with a pair of wins though to take third in the tournament after a 4-1 day.
Barreras started the day with a dominating performance in the 174-pound bracket. The sophomore pinned his first three opponents – each in the first period. His longest match of the three was 2:15 seconds. Barreras lost next though, 17-5 to Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola. He responded with two more wins in the consolation bracket, including his fourth fall of the day to take third.
Central Oklahoma saw tough competition in Hays, ranging from the Oklahoma States and the Nebraskas, to some of the best in Division II and the MIAA. The Bronchos will have a week off before returning to Kansas on Dec. 10 for Newman’s Jet Invite.