Extra studying pays off on the mat

January 26, 2010

By Bob Taylor

Brandon Pearson, Issaquah senior, gets Carl Sangalang, of Newport, close to a pin Jan. 21 during their 140-pound match. Pearson won, 14-4. He also won his weight class Jan. 23 at the Renton Invitational. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah High School wrestling coach Kirk Hyatt wanted to make sure his team hit the books harder than the mats last week. So, Hyatt shortened practices to give his team extra time to study for final exams.

The time off actually benefited the team. Issaquah defeated Newport 44-28 Jan. 21 in a KingCo Conference match, and then placed second in the Jan. 23 Renton Invitational.

While Hyatt didn’t know how his wrestlers did on their final exams, he felt the team definitely made the grade on the mat.

Hyatt said he was especially pleased with the Eagles’ performance at the Renton Invitational. Issaquah went to the event with just 12 wrestlers and 10 of them placed. Jordan Tanner, a 135-pounder, and Brandon Pearson, a 140-pounder, both won their weight classes.

“It was the most fun tournament we’ve had in a long while,” Hyatt said. “The guys we took to the tournament made very few mistakes. It’s always a pleasure to watch guys do well with things you have taught them.”

Hyatt said just a couple of minor errors prevented some other Eagles from reaching the championship round.

“It was just a fun day,” he said. “We finished second against teams that brought full squads. It showed that our kids really wanted to perform well.”

Tanner captured his second title of the season. Earlier this winter, he took first at the Everett Invitational.

“He has been wrestling real well. He has been training hard. He is setting his sights on the KingCo tournament now,” Hyatt said. “At Renton, he beat a real good kid, who had lost just twice this season.”

Pearson, on the junior varsity squad, was a bit of a surprise at Renton. David White, Issaquah’s varsity 140-pounder, lost in the semifinals; otherwise, the Eagles would have had two wrestlers battling for the title.

“Brandon decided he would beat the guy who David lost to,” Hyatt said. “Brandon didn’t make too many mistakes, built up a five-point lead and kept on attacking to win the final.”

Tyler Volk, a 171-pounder, placed second, and six other Issaquah wrestlers had third places. Max Tickman (103), Ty Morton (112), Almen Thorpe (125), Sean Novak (135) and Alex Stevens (189) had third places. Taylor Evans (152) placed fifth.

“Our kids beat some wrestlers from some real tough squads. I was hoping we would finish among the top five going into the tournament. To get second was really great. It was nice leaving the tournament with some hardware,” Hyatt said of the trophy. “Our kids walked out of the tournament feeling pretty well about things.”

Kentridge, which brought a full squad, finished first in the tournament. By finishing second, Issaquah beat out such perennial powers as Auburn Riverside and Kelso.

Against Newport in a match that was held at Beaver Lake Middle School, the Eagles had pins from Tickman, Evans and Volk.

Tickman pinned Matthew Droker-Rapass in 3:45. Evans pinned Thom Mirante in 1:14, and Volk pinned Taylor Jorgesen in 1:20.

Thorpe, Tanner, Pearson and Stevens all won their matches.

“Newport is always one of the better teams with tough kids,” Hyatt said. “Our guys had to do certain things well for the dual meet to turn out the way it did.”

Issaquah also opened the week Jan. 18 with a 76-6 victory against Garfield. Morton had a pin, Evans and Garret Becker (160) scored major decisions, and Stevens had a technical fall.

Issaquah concludes its regular-season dual competition Jan. 28 at Liberty. The Eagles will wrestle the host Patriots and Mount Si.

“That will be a tough test,” Hyatt said. “Liberty has a full squad, but we’re going to give it a battle. Our team hasn’t peaked yet, but we’re starting to roll.”

After this week, Issaquah prepares for the 4A KingCo Tournament, Feb. 5-6 at Juanita High School.

How well Issaquah does at the KingCo tournament, time will tell. However, when it comes to academics, Hyatt’s teams have usually made their mark. He has coached seven state academic champions during his time as Issaquah head coach.

“Grades are important,” Hyatt said. “We’ve had a lot of smart guys on our teams. The nice thing about smart guys is they listen to you.”

Spartans win twice

Skyline won two matches Jan. 21 at Beaver Lake Middle School.

The Spartans defeated Newport 44-27 and Eastlake 48-30. Danny Christianson (152), Ryan Adamson (189) and Anthony DeMatteo (285) had pins for Skyline against Newport. DeMatteo, usually a 215-pounder, wrestled up a weight in the match.

Patriots overwhelm Sammamish

Liberty walloped Sammamish 74-6 Jan. 19 in a KingCo match. Dan Velasquez (119), Wright Noel (145), Jay Chakravarty (160), Brandon Studer (171) and Nick Bezanson (189) had pins for Liberty.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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