Liberty takes KingCo Crest title with wins over Issaquah, Skyline

February 2, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

Hamilton Noel, of Liberty (top), grimaces while pushing Issaquah’s Sean Novak down to the mat during their 145-pound bout, which Noel won by a pin. By Greg Farrar

Liberty, Issaquah and Skyline high school wrestling teams finished off the regular season Jan. 28 in a dual meet that featured the three schools as well as Mount Si.

Liberty defeated Issaquah 41-30, and also defeated Skyline 46-26. With these victories, the Patriots finished their regular season undefeated and took the 3A/4A KingCo Crest title.

“These guys have worked hard for it,” Liberty head coach Manny Brown said about Liberty’s seniors and their quest to win the division. “They’ve put the time in the last four years.”

Also at the meet, Skyline and Issaquah defeated Mount Si by scores of 45-33 and 48-33, respectively.

The match between Issaquah and Liberty kept those in attendance on the edges of their seats, as the Patriots had not beaten Issaquah in several years. Brown also used to be an assistant coach at Issaquah.In the 152-pound weight class, Liberty’s Josh Muttart defeated Issaquah’s Taylor Evans 12-10, and in the 171-pound weight class, Liberty’s Brandon Studer defeated Issaquah’s Tyler Volk 8-7. Both matches brought fans to their feet, cheering for their respective wrestlers.

Liberty’s Nick Bezanson’s win against Issaquah’s Alex Stevens also helped lead the team to victory, as did Liberty’s Wright Noel’s 12-0 victory against Issaquah’s David Wright and Liberty’s Danny Velasquez’s 10-2 victory against Issaquah’s Max Tickman.

For Liberty, the win was one to celebrate.

“Coach Brown came from Issaquah, so it was kind of a rivalry we had,” said Hamilton Noel, of Liberty. “It was good to finally get a win.”

Hamilton Noel pinned his opponent, Sean Novak, of Issaquah.

Brown said the feeling of defeating Issaquah was unbelievable. However, Issaquah head coach Kirk Hyatt said his team was close to success, as Issaquah’s Ty Morton, Andrew Ramirez and Jordan Tanner all pinned their opponents.

“They were on their games,” Hyatt said about Liberty’s wrestlers. “If we hadn’t made a few errors, we would have been right with them.”

Against Skyline, Liberty’s Hamilton Noel, Wright Noel and Danny Velasquez helped lead the Patriots to victory, as each won his match. Liberty’s Nathan Tinseth, in the 285-pound weight class, pinned his opponent, Damon Mantel, of Skyline, in just 36 seconds.

However, Brown gave much credit to Skyline’s team.

“They had a tough team, and they’re going to be tough for us next year,” Brown said, noting that Liberty will lose its seven seniors.

In an interview after both matches, Wright Noel — a Liberty co-captain — pointed to the athletic banners hanging in the gym above the bleachers, and said it had been the team’s goal to get a wrestling banner on the wall for winning its division.

“Tonight, we did it,” he said.

Next, the three schools will send wrestlers to league and regional tournaments, and possibly the state tournament. Liberty will host the 3A league and regional championships Feb. 6 and 13, respectively. The state tournaments will be held at the Tacoma Dome Feb. 19 and 20.

Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcas@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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