HAMMOND | It's safe to say, at this point, that Morton controls the Great Lake Athletic Conference in wrestling.
The Governors cruised to a conference meet victory on Thursday, winning seven weight classes for 209 points.
"Our main focus (this season) was to win the GLAC as a team," senior Ryan Johnston said. "We did a pretty good job here today."
Johnston did his part in the 170-pound class, pinning Hammond's Jordan Hollin at 3:28 to earn his third career conference title. Johnston felt like he should've gotten the pin earlier.
"I was aiming for (a pin in) the first minute, but (Hollin) fought pretty good," he said. "I took him down and I was trying to work a tilt in, but he was squirmy."
Rickie Rodriguez got a 2-1 decision over Clark's Chris Diaz at 113. Frustrated, he threw his headgear into the wall after the match. It was still early in the championship round and Rodriguez thought the Govs would need the team points.
"I was able to ride him, but when I was down I just had trouble getting out," Rodriguez said. "It was a tough match. I could've done better."
The Pioneers Ismael Quintanilla pinned Gavit's Fredrick Taylor at 1:10 in the 132-pound title match.
"It feels amazing (to be conference champ). I feel like I could do anything," Quintanilla said. "I'm on top of the world right now."
The Gladiators finished second as a team with 176 points. Ramiro Cazarez won an 11-3 decision over Elijah Knight of Morton in a match that was closer than the score made it seem.
"I felt like I could pin, but Elijah Knight is a respectable athlete," Cazarez said. "I give him kudos for trying and not giving me his back. He's a tough kid."
Hammond's 138-pounder Markis Smith displayed his own brand of toughness. The Wildcats senior injured his wrist in his first match of the day against Francisco Hernandez of Morton.
Smith had the wrist taped and won a 9-3 championship match over Gavit's Vinny Valdez, as he described it, "one-handed."
"It was stiff and it went numb for a second," Smith said. "But it doesn't hurt when you win."