By KEVIN THOMPSON
SCOTT CITY — Home sweet Scott City gym.
That's what the Beavers' wrestling program has to be thinking this generation as they won their 14th invitational in the last 16 years Saturday, holding off challenges from Hoxie and Ulysses for the second straight week.
The Beavers won the Scott City Classic with 176.5 points, while Hoxie finished second with 154 and Ulysses third with 133.5 in the 10-team field.
The host team placed 12 wrestlers out of 14 spots, while the other two contenders had 9 wrestlers each in medal matches.
Hoxie walked away with four individual titles, Scott City three and Ulysses two in dominating the field.
Ellis won two golds while Holcomb, Leoti and Cimarron each captured one.
Scott City, which had six wrestlers going for gold, got wins at two of the lighter weights. James Jurgens, ranked first in Class 3A, upped his record to 11-1 with a fall over Andy Davis of Sublette, while Alex Kough, ranked second at 126, recorded three pins to improve to 10-2.
The Beavers' Michael McEachern, third-ranked at 285, got a second-period pin over Zach Crick of Cimarron to raise his record to 16-2 and get Scott City's third win.
All the action took place in the second, he said, because the first is for gauging his opponent. McEachern said it was a combination of strength and speed that figured into the relative ease of his final win.
Last year McEachern wrestled 220 and cut a lot of weight to get there, so this year he is more comfortable with weighing 260 to wrestle the top weight, a fit he's liking for now.
"I figured (the transition) would be a little more difficult," he said. "But there's a lot of good guys I haven't met yet."
Scott City coach Jon Lippelman felt good about his team's win for the home crowd, especially because a number of his younger wrestlers stepped up.
"We've been putting five in the finals consistently all season long. But it's time to start winning some more of those," he said. "It's nice to get a win in the home gym, but it was our backside kids, our beginners, our B-teamers who came up from last year that were really needing this shot. Without their help, we're not going to get anything done."
Lots of teams have four or five good wrestlers, Lippelman said. But he indicated it's the ones with lots of kids to fill a team that are going to be contenders, and Scott City demonstrated that.
One such youngster, he said, is Wyatt Kropp, who finished second to Holcomb's Keegan Amos at 132.
"He seems to have really good technique. He might not be the most powerful kid in the fight, but he pushed himself up there," Lippelman said. "I was really happy with his finals match."
Ulysses had six wrestlers in gold medal contention but got only two. Zach Miller (13-5) went 4-0 in the 113-pound round robin, and JoAngel Cortez (18-5) won his 138-pound round robin with a 4-0 record.
The Tigers were wrestling short-handed and left four weights open, and coach Joe Gonzales is looking forward to getting back to full strength.
Instead, they settled for just two wins in six championship opportunities.
"That's pretty disappointing," he said. "But we had some pretty good matches (with the two wins), and we got a lot matches in, which is always good for the kids."
Cimarron's lone win came dramatically at 170, where Aiden Shaughnessy turned the tables late on Scott City's Raleigh Wishon.
Wishon led 4-0 after the first period and 6-2 early in the third. But with just half a minute left in the match, Shaughnessy turned Wishon and got the pin with just 11 seconds remaining.
Not that unexpected, Shaughnessy said, given how he plans a match.
"I always just wrestle my matches, just taking it how it goes, and take what they give me. It worked out," he said. "It was just a flurry. They have a little mess up, and you capitalize on it."
Holcomb's sole win came from Amos at 132, who won the 113 class a year ago.
Tied 2-2 early in the second period, Amos used a couple of takedowns to get a 6-2 lead early in the third. Kropp closed to 6-4 late, before Amos got one more takedown to seal the win.
Leoti's Jacob Clark took the title at 145 with a 6-1 decision over Landon Younger of Ellis.
Quickest pin went to Gage Younger of Ellis (14 seconds), and Hoxie's Calvin Ochs (160-pound winner) was voted the tournament's outstanding wrestler.
Scott City will make its annual trip to Nebraska on Friday, while Ulysses heads to Hays. Both, as well as a number of other teams in this meet, will compete in the Rocky Welton Invitational in Garden City on Jan. 25 and 26.
"A grind the next two weeks," Gonzales described, "but it's good to get beat up a little bit heading towards regionals."
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.