Fortune named RMAC Wrestler of the Year

Tyrell Fortune won the 285-class title and was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Wrestler of the Year at the Super Region IV/RMAC Championships in Chadron, Neb., Saturday.

Fortune and the Antelopes placed third in the region and second in the RMAC. He and four teammates also advanced to the NCAA Division II Championships in Birmingham, Ala., March 8-9.

Fortune defeated Simon Fraser's Sunny Dhinsa, who finished fifth in the World Championships last year, 7-1. Fortune will take a 33-1 mark into nationals.

"He's really wrestling well right now and is wrestling at another level," said GCU coach R.C. LaHaye.

Fortune will be going to nationals with four teammates. Kyle McCrite (125) and Lino Estrada (133) were both runner-up finishers in their class, while Bobby Ward (149) and Mike Hamel (141) were third and fourth, respectively.

McCrite lost 3-2 to Gerald Huff of Adams State. It was the second straight year McCrite lost to Huff in the regional final. Last year, McCrite went on to win the 125-class NCAA Championship.

"He's in familiar territory," said LaHaye. "It's all about turning it on at the right time."

Estrada also lost 3-2. He dropped his championship round bout to Nebraska-Kearney's Daniel DeShazer. It'll be Estrada's first trip to nationals; he was one win shy of getting their last season.

Ward had the toughest battle of the tournament. Seeded second, the 2012 All-American who came in ranked No. 1 nationally in the Basford Poll, lost by injury default in Friday's first round. He battled back to earn a third place finish. He won the region title last year and finished third in the NCAA Championships.

He beat Colorado Mesa's James Martinez by fall in 4:10 to win the consolation bracket.

"Bobby overcame a lot of adversity and gutted it out to get third," said LaHaye.

Hamel, who transferred in at the semester from Division I University of Wyoming, won his consolation semifinal before dropping the third place match, by fall, to Nebraska-Kearney's Brock Coutu.

UNK won the regional with 147.5 points. Adams State had 95 and GCU scored 77.5. For the RMAC, Adams State had 102 points to GCU's 82.5.

"I'm really proud of our team effort," added LaHaye. "To take second place and third in the region with five guys, it was a good effort overall. We've overcome some adversity and want to go to the national tournament and finish the year strong.
"I feel we've got a good tournament team and confident in the five guys we're taking (to Birmingham)."


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