KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Saturday marked a full circle moment for the Elam family.
"I like to call it the Zach Elam Invite," said Dom Bradley, Mizzou assistant wrestling coach.
Hometown hero Zach Elam was looking to earn back-to-back invite titles in his hometown and on his home floor.
"Kids started here when they were youth and wrestled here for Team Central Wrestling Club and then obviously went to high school, wrestled for Staley High School and then ended up both of them being at Mizzou, so just kind of a nice thing, nice tie," said Staley High School wrestling coach Bryan Elam, who is also the father of Zach and Rocky.
Zach and Rocky Elam both attended Staley, winning titles for the Falcons under their dad's direction.
Competing on that same floor they once did, the invitational is shedding a light on more than a top tier Mizzou wrestling program.
"I want kids to wrestle anywhere, if it's a DII, DIII, NAIA, JUCO, whatever," said Bradley.
Drawing in young wrestling fans from around the Kansas City area, the Staley gymnasium was packed Saturday.
"We have kids in our program right now that are being recruited, and even a couple of guys have taken some visits to Mizzou. So, I mean, I think when they see like hey, these guys have come through this program and they've been able to do this and that's a path that I want to try to follow," said Bryan Elam.
The Tigers are starting their season in Kansas City, and will finish it here, too. The 2024 NCAA Wrestling Championships will be held at the T-Mobile Center in downtown Kansas City in March.