OTTUMWA — Conner Mier and Nathan Cary both captured first-place honors when the Ottumwa wrestling team put on its home invitational Saturday at Evans Middle School gym.
For Cary, it was a reaffirmation of sorts; iron-clad proof that all that extra work on the mat had paid off.
Cary stuck his first four opponents at 126 pounds before he won an 8-4 decision over Des Moines North's Austin Claussen in the finals.
"I was glad it was over and I came out on top," Cary said. "All the hard work I put in the wrestling room helped me on the mat. I stayed in better shape than that kid and I managed to stay in better position because my technique was better."
For Mier, the meaning of the victory was magnified by the small sliver of time the senior has left to perform in the friendly confines of Evans Middle School gymnasium.
"It's great," Mier said. "I was so happy I finally got to be at the top of the podium here at home. It's an adrenaline rush, there's nothing like it.
"My days here competing in this gym are numbered, I just want to make the most of them."
Mier pinned all four of his opponents at 285, providing him with his second-straight first place in a tournament.
Not only did the senior wrestler create a memory that will remain lodged in his repository long after his high school career is over, he also accomplished this feat on his dad's birthday.
"Happy birthday dad, that's all I can say," Mier said.
"It was a nice birthday present," Conner's dad, Mike Mier added. "I'm very proud of that boy."
Meanwhile, Bryce Lunsford was at the forefront of Fairfield's success. Lunsford stuck his first three opponents before he registered his last pin of the day over Des Moines East's Prince York in the finals in 4:36 at 160 pounds.