By KEVIN THOMPSON
SCOTT CITY - It may be a new decade, but it's the same routine for the Scott City wrestling team.
That says it all. The Beavers won their invitational Saturday in what has become somewhat of a tradition. But they felt the hot breath of the Ulysses Tigers breathing down their necks all the way as Ulysses made it a heckuva contest.
Both teams crowned four champions as Scott City outscored Ulysses 202-179, their closest margin of victory since 2004, also against the Tigers.
"The kids came out and did well," Scott City coach Jon Lippelman said of his team's performance.
"We did pretty well today," Tiger coach Joe Gonzales said of his squad. "We came in feeling pretty confident about this tournament. We wanted to get up there in first place, but Scott City has a tough team."
Clay Mulligan of Scott City set the tone right away in the title round as the 103-pounder out-pointed Jason Perez of Ulysses 7-1 in a battle of sophomores.
Now 20-0 on the season, the second-ranked wrestler in the state (4A) said his feat was just part of the team's goal to work to get to state, which means he just wrestles smart.
"It's nice to be undefeated, but the main thing that's important is the state tournament at the end," he said.
Ulysses picked up its first title at 119, where Robbie Hines went undefeated in round-robin play. Ranked second in state (also 4A), Hines ran his record to 21-0. He had three wins by falls until meeting with the Beavers Francisco Antillon in the final match, winning 9-1.
Teammate Razzy Morales took the 130 title, capping round-robin play with tough 4-3 win over Lakin's Dalton Davis. The sophomore took advantage of a penalty point against Davis in the first period to give him a 3-2 lead, then got a favorable no-call at the final buzzer to give the Tigers their second title.
"Razzy had a good match," Gonzales said. "And he had a bit of a grudge. The last two time's he (Davis) has beaten him by one point, so it was nice to win tonight."
Lakin coach Larron Hurst was frustrated by the no-call, but that's the way it goes, he said.
"And let's not take anything away from Razzy," he added. "He wrestled a heck of a match. We can't get that type of match in the wrestling room. I'm sure it was good for both guys today."
At 140, Dillon Stucky won his fourth tournament title in as many years as the Beaver senior dropped Cimarron's Coulter Croft 4-1.
"The first four matches kind of made me sleepy," Stucky joked of the ease of his earlier wins. "That championship match was actually a great match."
Ranked fourth in state, Stucky has now won this tournament at 112, 125, 135 and 140 pounds.
Dakota Hayes, who won at 140 last year, moved up a weight class and won the 145 title with a fall over Tanner Perez of Ulysses at 2:14. Hayes, ranked second in state, is now 22-0.
Then it was Josh Rodriguez's turn for a title as the Tiger went 5-0 in round-robin play, with a 5-4 win over Scott City's Morgan Numrich. The state's third-ranked wrestler held off a late flurry at the end to get the win.
Teammate Michael Salas followed suit at 171 with a second period pin against Holcomb's Dylan Hawkins.
Coming in at just 5-10, Salas said of his day, "I picked it up today. I just stepped it up."
His coach said this finish should be a confidence booster for Salas.
At 189, Luke Hayes won all five of his bouts with falls as the Beaver sophomore gave Scott City their fourth and final title.
With eight titles and nine runners-up between, the Beaver-Tiger battle this year made for some good drama.
"We got to see Ulysses come in here and have some big battles with them. It was a great outing for them," Lippelman said.
He said the Beavers see this meet as just another step on the way to the end of the year.
"As long as we're progressing towards that goal and not slipping or holding, we're doing well," he said. "Our experience showed through where we won."
Other area schools fared well individually.
Holcomb's Jose Munoz used a third-period escape and reverse to get a 6-3 win at 125 pounds. Teammate Levi Koehn won the 160-pound title with a 6-2 win over Cimarron's John Shaughnessy.
Lakin's Skyler Pentheny gave the Broncs their only title with a 9-0 final match over Anthony Gerdner of Scott City.
"Skyler had his best tournament," Hurst said. "He's putting some things together little by little and he's wrestling very well. He looked really strong."
Cimarron got its only title at 215 when Tyler White beat Scott City's Calvin Erven with a fall in overtime in a rematch of last year's final.
"I knew I had to really kick it in," White said of going to overtime after losing the lead like that. "I had to leave everything out on the mat. That was a really tough match."
Hays TMP's Dylan Schumacher won the 112-pound title, and teammate Jesse Barnes won 7-4 over the Beavers' Michael McEachern 7-4 at 275 for that crown.
See Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.