By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Fort Hays State to honor Great Bend wrestlers
Fort Hays Chris Goetz
Chris Goetz


HAYS — Two Great Bend High School wrestling Hall of Famers Chris Goetz and Daryl Henning will be honored during the Fort Hays State wrestling reunion weekend Saturday. The Great Bend graduates wrestled at Fort Hays State from 1978-1982.

Goetz earned Arizona Interscholastic Association Hall of Fame honors. Henning is inducted into the Fort Hays State Athletic Sports Hall of Fame.

The Fort Hays State wrestlers will be recognized during Saturday’s reunion at the Bob Smith Wrestling Championship. Chris Thompson serves as Fort Hays State’s wrestling coach. 

Goetz, a 1978 Great Bend graduate, placed third in the 1978 4A state tournament. The No. 1 ranked Goetz placed third in the 4A state meet (155) after losing a tight semifinal match.

“It was a great honor to represent GBHS at the 4A state wrestling championships three times,” Goetz said. “To come up short of winning a individual state title drove us both to compete at the college level. Wrestling back in the 1970s and 1980s was popular and appreciated at Great Bend High School and in the state of Kansas as it is today.”

When Goetz told Henning he wanted to wrestle at Fort Hays State, Henning had a quick response.

“You sure as heck aren’t going up there my yourself. I’m going too,” Henning said.

At the time, Fort Hays State University was the lone four-year college wrestling program in the 1970s and 1980s. At Fort Hays State, Goetz placed eighth in the NAIA National meet to earn All American honors.

“To compete four years at the college level was a great experience,” Goetz said.

Goetz started his coaching career from 1982-1984 at Great Bend High School.

“The hard work I put into my high school and college career, and 32 years as a head varsity wrestling coach in Arizona installed a great work ethic to become a great leader in society,” Goetz said.

Goetz earned Arizona Hall of Fame honors after a long-time coaching career at Dysart High School and Westview High School in Arizona. Goetz compiled a record of 379-159-1 for a 70 percent winning percentage. Goetz is ranked No. 18 on the all-time Arizona wrestling coaching charts.

Henning is a highly-decorated wrestler who earned a pair of 4A state runner-up finishes in Great Bend in 1977 (132 pounds) and 1978 (138 pounds).  Dale Henning, Daryl’s brother, won the 112-pound state 4A championship in 1983.

At Fort Hays State, Henning won an NAIA national championship in 1981 and placed fourth in 1979 to earn All American honors both times. 

Henning captured the 158-pound 1981 national championship, helping the team to a sixth-place finish as a team. He finished fourth nationally in 1979 as an 18-year-old freshman, helping the team to a seventh-place finish. 

“Daryl Henning’s accomplishments at FHSU was exceptional,” Goetz said. “He was a two-time All-American, national champion. His induction into the FHSU Athletic Hall of Fame is the greatest accomplishments ever!”

Henning made the All-Freshman team for all divisions with his performance. Henning was crowned as the second national champion for FHSU in wrestling, ending an 11-year drought. 

Henning was a three-time regional placer and national tournament qualifier. Henning won the Southwest Open Tournament, which hosted several NCAA Division I teams, where he upset a wrestler from Missouri University who beat Olympic champion Kenny Monday that year. Henning pinned the returning tournament champion in the finals. Henning won the most outstanding wrestler at the Central Missouri Tournament along with awards for most pins in two other tournaments.

Unfortunately, Henning was unable to complete his senior year due to a knee injury in January of 1982 before the regional tournament. He finished his Fort Hays State career with a 82-15-1 record.

Fort Hays Daryl Henning
Daryl Henning