There was never much chest-thumping or emphatic celebrations from El Dorado at the Clearwater Invitational.
The Wildcats just showed up, punched the clock, put in the work and went home – with a team trophy in tow.
“We're just trying to dominate the competition here,” said El Dorado's Austin Hughey. “Our whole team has been doing good today. We just need to keep it up, and we'll be doing pretty good the rest of the year.”
El Dorado finished with 182-1/2 points, topping Buhler's 155. Pratt and Mulvane rounded out the top four.
Hughey was one of five El Dorado wrestlers to make the finals. Sporting the No. 1 ranking at 145 pounds in 4A, Hughey cobbled together a workmanlike 5-1 decision over 4A's No. 2, Hugoton's Patrick Weaver.
Teammate Bryce Morgan scored the 126-pound championship.
“Him and I have been wrestling since we were 4 or 5 years old,” Hughey said of Morgan. “We've been practice partners, helping each other out.”
In a battle of undefeated wrestlers, Mulvane's Kolby Fennewald pushed Caney Valley's Derek Bayless to the edge of the circle before landing a first period takedown. The two points gave Fennewald breathing room, as he stayed consistent for a 6-0 decision.
Mulvane's Blake Cusick won the 120-pound title. Connor Penka made a splash through the bracket, knocking off several highly regarded wrestlers, but lost in the 132-pound final to Andover's Lucas Maki. Maki was named Most Outstanding Wrestler.
“El Dorado and Buhler beat us both last week, by a lot,” Fennewald said. “Just to know that we're right there with these teams now – they're just a few kids better than us – makes us want to work harder to get up toward the top around El Dorado and Buhler.”
Buhler's Jake Gehring (152 pounds) and Scott Whitson (160) earned decisions to take championships. Pratt collected three titles. Trae Foreman won at 106, Cesar Regalado took 113 and Austin Gates powered his way to the 220 crown. Concordia's Drake Hake (138) and Skyler Hittle (195) also each won their divisions.
Winfield's Josh Horn and Chaparral's Clay Wilcox sparred in the heavyweight finale. A week prior, Wilcox pinned Horn at the Derby Invitational.
The pair fought to a 2-2 tie through regulation. In overtime, Horn scored the two points needed to break through against Wilcox.
“I've always been told to say to myself 'you can win this match,'” Horn said. “In the four times we've wrestled, I've only won once. That's pretty big for me. You go in with the mindset that you can beat him, but you're not overly confident, because if you go under that mindset, you're going to go downhill.”