The Fort Hays State University men will take five guys to the NCAA Division II National Wrestling Championships on Saturday and Sunday in Omaha, Neb.
Qualifying for the Tigers are seniors Tommy Edgmon, 125 pounds; Danny Grater, 157 pounds; Blake Malloy, 165 pounds; Shawn Kuhlman, 174 pounds; and junior Andre Harrison, 141 pounds.
“We all feel good, we feel healthy, and prepared,” Grater said. “We expect great things this weekend.”
This will be Grater’s fourth appearance at the National Tournament for FHSU and Edgmon’s second. Last year, both men returned with All-American honors with Edgmon placing second and Grater finishing sixth in their weight classes.
“Going in, me and Tommy look to improve on our All-American status from last year,” Grater said. “Blake and Kuhlman are looking to gain that All-American title, and with Andre being the top ranked wrestler we’re looking for some great things from him and from the rest of us.”
Malloy will return to the championships for his second appearance after being redshirted last season; this will be Kuhlman and Harrison’s first time appearing at nationals.
“I’d like to place in the top eight,” Kuhlman said. “Every time, I just want to wrestle well and smart and to my fullest potential, and hopefully it’ll take me as far as possible.”
The Tigers are ranked No. 13 as a team in the last National Wrestling Coaches Association poll. Edgmon, who finished third in the Super Regional 4, remains at the No. 3 spot with Adams State’s Arsenia Barksdale, ranked first, and New Mexico Highland University’s Seth Wright at second.
Grater moved up to the No. 2 position after finishing second at regionals; Harrison moved to the No. 1 spot after defeating Josh Hensley of Adams State. Unranked, Malloy and Kuhlman pose to be strong contenders for nationals with Malloy taking third at the Regional 4 and Kuhlman placing fourth.
“At a regional tournament, you place and you’re seated in the bracket,” Grater said. “At nationals, you come in zero and zero, so none of us are carrying anything from regionals with us into nationals.”