HAMMOND | One look at the intensity Morton displayed was enough to tell that the Governors were pumped up to defend their Great Lakes Athletic Conference title on their home floor.
The Governors received wins in eight weight classes, amassing 222 points to hold off second-place Gavit's 184. Hammond and Clark compiled 92 and 82 points, respectively.
"In the last 48 hours, we've been dying to get in this gym and wrestle to prove that trophy is ours," Morton coach Kevin Persley said. "This just keeps the ball rolling for us. The last two weeks, I feel like we're starting to peak at the right time."
Persley was most impressed by the beginning and end of his team's championship matches, with 106-pounder Rickie Rodriguez earning a technical fall over Clark's Chris Diaz while heavyweight Fabian Durant pinned Gavit's Mike Pajdzik 3:44 into their match.
Rodriguez, a freshman, wasn't on the team during Morton's previous two conference championships, but he wanted to make sure the Governors could make it a three-peat.
"I was confident I was going to win this," said Rodriguez, who can now look at the bigger picture. "All I want to do is win sectionals."
Morton took the first two matches before Gavit fought back with three wins in a row. The Governors then took the next four matches, putting some distance between them and the Gladiators.
Gavit won five of the weight classes while Clark's Eric Nelson took the 220-pound title, pinning Hammond's Antonio Reese halfway into the third period.
For Morton, the individual E.C. Central Sectional draws closer. Persley believes his program is at a point now where it can send multiple wrestlers far into the postseason.
"It's a tall order," he said. "We're going to have to wrestle above and beyond to compete with (Lake Central and Munster), but that's what we're looking for. We're looking to get a handful of guys into regionals."