HAYS, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College wrestling team was back on the mats Sunday as the T-Birds competed at the Bob Smith Open hosted by Fort Hays State University.
Cloud County freshman Dakota Miller highlighted the event, finishing fourth at 133-pounds on what a challenging day for the T-Birds against a field loaded with NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NAIA and NJCAA talent.
"I think we had some bright points and matches we fought hard, but overall as I team I didn't think we came prepared for this level of competition, unfortunately," said Cloud County head coach, Cody Cole. "We have to get back to work next week. We can't show up nonchalantly and try to wrestle. We need to come after people."
Miller was one of the T-Birds to succeed in doing so Sunday as he finished 2-2 on the day. The freshman won an 8-5 decision against Western State's Colby Duncan in the quarterfinals before dropping a tight 2-0 decision to Newman's Tyler Lawley in the semis, setting up a match against Fort Hays' Conrad Cole — coach Cole's younger brother — in the consolation semi-finals.
With two seconds remaining in the third period, Miller was able to grind out a 6-5 decision over Cole with a takedown from a lateral drop, earning a spot in the third-fourth place match.
"It was unique because you want both of them to do well," said Cole about watching one of his wrestlers face his brother. "At the end of the day, we're trying to get our guys to come out on top. My brother and I are both competitive and know it's a competitive sport."
Freshman 157-pounder Quentin Jiner would also finish 2-2 on Sunday, reaching the third round of the consolation, with his losses coming against Oklahoma State's Jonce Blaylock and Conrad Vajnar from Fort Hays.
Jiner beat Tracy Reeder from Central Oklahoma in a fall time of 6:17 to start the day and earned a 13-1 major decision over Labette Community College's Cameron Sharpe.
Sophomore heavyweight Benny Hernandez was on the verge on making the places rounds when he was forced to medically forfeit in the third round of consolations due to a possible concussion.
Hernandez was tied 2-2 with 20 seconds remaining in the third period against Kansas Wesleyan's Lexington Plummer when the match was stopped.
Cole said a concussion has not yet been confirmed and he is hopeful Hernandez will be with the team when it heads off to the Jet Invite hosted by Newman University next Sunday.
Action is scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. in Wichita.