For the first time since 1979, the El Dorado wrestling team finished with two different state champions in the same season. Braden Morgan, a junior at 195 lbs, and Cameron Hunt, a senior at 220 lbs were both able to bring first place medals back to El Dorado as they helped the Wildcats to a fifth-place finish at the 4A state wrestling tournament at Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina.
“It was like a dream come true,” said Morgan.
“I’ve wrestled since I was three years old. My brothers all grew up wrestling, and a lot of them have state titles. They’ve all told me how it feels, but there’s just no words to describe how I felt. I finally felt like everything I’ve ever done and all the work I put into it finally made something happen and it was just amazing.”
This championship meant a little more to Braden with everything he was able to overcome in a short mount of time. Halfway through El Dorado’s football season, Braden tore his Discoid meniscus. Doctors told him it would have to be surgically repaired, and that he would not be able to walk for six months. Three different doctors told him he would not be able to wrestle this season. Many people would give up on the season at this point, but not Braden.
“My mom is an X-Ray technician. She got me with one of the best doctors in Kansas,” said Morgan.
“He told me that he wanted to take a look at it first before making a decision. I woke up after the surgery and he told me that they didn’t have to repair it and that and they went in and cut everything out so I would be able to wrestle again this season, which is amazing because this is the year I thought I could do it.”
He was right. Morgan dominated the state tournament, capping it off with a win in the championship match that only lasted 31 seconds. Morgan defeated Gavin Ware of Clay Center Community, winning by fall for a quick victory. The two wrestlers had already faced off multiple times this season, with Morgan coming out victorious each time. Morgan finished the season with a record of 44 wins and one loss.
Just minutes later, the Wildcats had claimed another state title as Cameron Hunt won the 220-lb crown.
Hunt faced Caleb Willis of Bonner Springs in the championship match. Hunt entered the match with a record of 41-3, while Wills held a record of 42-2.
It took 6:17 to determine a winner as both athletes fought through a low-scoring match until Hunt was finally able to win by fall and come out as the state champion.
“I just knew that I had to control the match, be aggressive, and be smart,” said Hunt.
“It was the most amazing feeling in the world, it was like a huge weight had been moved off of my chest and everything that I had worked for my entire life finally paid off.”
Reynolds expected nothing less from Hunt in the championship match.
“Coming all the way down to the end of the match, getting the last takedown, that’s what he’s done every single time,” said Reynolds.
“He’s so reliable. You can see it in his eyes, it’s just amazing to watch him do it. There was no way he was not winning that match.”
El Dorado senior Payton Sadowski also earned a spot on the medal stand with a fifth-place finish in the 126-lb bracket. Sadowski fell in the quarterfinals and fought his way back through the consolation bracket. Sadowski defeated Parker Winder of Chanute 5-2 in the fifth-place match.
As a team, El Dorado scored 80.5 points, just 2.5 behind fourth-place Tonganoxie.
“It’s awesome. You can’t ask for anything more,” said Reynolds.
“We had low numbers, but the kids we had put out everything they had. They fought their tails off every single match.”