Grapplers stay fresh at Brian Hill memorial tournament

January 4, 2011

By Christopher Huber

The Skyline Spartans wrestling team stayed fresh over the winter break by taking third place in the 2010 Brian Hill Invitational Wrestling Tournament Dec. 30 at Eastside Catholic High School.

Two Spartans finished second in their respective weight categories and others on the Skyline Green and Skyline Silver squads pulled their weight, too.

O’Dea took the team title with 178 points, but Skyline Green placed third (131) and Eastlake placed fourth (113). The Eastside Catholic Crusaders tied for eighth with Kennedy with 87.5 points. Skyline Silver placed 14th of 18 teams, scoring 54 points.

Eastlake’s Cole Neves’ second-round victory was among the highlights for Sammamish wrestlers. His most notable win was a 39-second pin of Bishop Blanchet’s Zach Weber.

“I’ve got it down to muscle memory,” Neves said after the speedy match. “It all comes natural.”

He ultimately earned the top spot of the 145-pounders when he pinned Lake Washington’s Joel Gonzales in 2:30 in the final round.

The winter-break tournament serves as an important conditioning event for grapplers like Neves. It keeps them fresh during the two-week hiatus before entering league competition.

“This is, like, the primest time to be in top physical condition,” Neves said.

Other tournament highlights from plateau wrestlers include top-two finishes in the 103, 112, 119, 125, 130, 135, 140 and 152 weight classes. O’Dea and Cedarcrest dominated the heavier weight brackets.

Eastlake’s Chris Dallas was the 103-pound champ after he pinned O’Dea’s Torre Eaton in 1:41 in the final. Dallas pinned three of four opponents and beat Skyline’s Griffin Howlett 8-0 in the second round.

Skyline’s Jo Tono made it to the championship bout in the 112-pound tournament, but lost to Curtis Chittenden, of Cedarcrest. Chittenden pinned Tono in 2:58.

In the 119-pound competition, Skyline’s Tristian Steciw pinned his way to the championship match, but ultimately fell to Blanchet’s Jesse Dunn in 3 minutes, 33 seconds.

Adam Nakanishi, the 125-pounder from Eastlake, tore it up through three rounds at Eastside Catholic. He made it to the final bout after beating Skyline’s Collin Ehret 9-7. Nakanishi lost, though, to O’Dea’s Zack Hamilton, who pinned him in just 1:48.

Another Sammamish grappler, Max Benjamin, of Eastlake, made his respective championship bout. He reached the 130-pound final round after winning close decisions in the second and third rounds. Benjamin ultimately fell to Jake Portes, of O’Dea, in 3:11.

Drew Beggs, of Eastside Catholic, advanced to the 140-pound final round after he pinned Roosevelt’s Joe Flynn in 3:12 in the second and beat Sammamish High School’s John Hernandez 19-4 in the third round. Beggs dropped the final bout to Dominic Nicacio, of O’Dea, in an 11-3 major decision.

Eastside Catholic’s Anthony Roy (152 pounds) fell in 4:41 to Cody Paxman, of Cedarcrest, in the third round and settled for a consolation.

In the girls competition, Skyline’s Morgan Alverson (130 pounds) placed third overall. She lost to Evergreen’s Taylor Jackson by pin in 1:12 in the first round. Alverson then pinned Cleveland’s Jacqueline Baunsgaurd in 1:47 and lost to Evergreen’s Ashley Snyder 8-0.

Eastside Catholic hosts West Seattle at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 6; Eastlake hosts Skyline, Garfield and Redmond at 6 p.m. Jan. 6.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or Comment at

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