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With three grapplers back in the lineup off the injury list Dec. 28, Evanston’s wrestlers were as close to full strength as they have been all season.
The results proved that. Evanston captured four individual championships and overpowered the field at the Uplift Invitational tournament with a winning total of 254 points. The tournament was held at the ETHS fieldhouse this year because the Uplift facility was not available.
Evanston outclassed a 16-team field as runnerup Taft totaled 178 points. The Wildkits were led by individual champions Derek Hunter (106 pounds), David Rivera (113), Ben Morton (132) and Malik Pratt (145).
Also contributing top finishes for coach Rudy Salinas’ squad were Austin Klopfer, second at 138; Raven Ahrens, second at 170; Arrhian Monroe, second at 195; Courtney Scott, third at 152; Zoilt Resinedez, fourth at 126; and Cardrail Cannon, fourth at 182.
Morton, Pratt, and Cannon shook off the injury rust to score those finishes. Morton was especially dominant for the Kits, racking up three straight pins and nailing Eduardo Vega of Kelly in 3 minutes, 15 seconds in the title bout.
Pratt outscored Bowen’s Kendall Gibbs 10-4 in the finals at 145, while Hunter blanked Angelo Berardi of Taft 4-0 at 106 and Rivera stopped Calvin Stewart of Westinghouse due to injury default in the second period.
Klopfer lost a 5-3 decision in the finals to Derrick Young of Kenwood. Ahrens was pinned by Cody Ralston of Rich South in 4:47, and Monroe lost via pin to Bowen’s Brandyn Peacock in 4:58.
Scott earned a third place finish with a pin of Uplift’s Andre Davidson in 4:46.