Duo fuels Liberty’s big dreams

February 8, 2011

By Sebastian Moraga

Jay Chakravarty (left) has a leghold on Shane Small during the second period of their all-Liberty championship bout at 160 pounds during the KingCo 3A championships Feb. 5. Chakravarty won the title with a 3-2 win. Photos by Greg Farrar

It was Liberty against Liberty at Liberty.

The KingCo Conference finals, housed at the Renton school Feb. 5, had a duel of Patriots at 160 pounds: Jay Chakravarty against Shane Small.

Chakravarty prevailed, but it was Small who called the matchup a win-win.

“Jay’s been my partner all year, so it feels good to see our hard work pay off,” said Small whose runner-up finish exceeded his expectations.

“I didn’t even win the JV qualifiers. I came in second,” he said. “So, to be in the finals with my own teammate is extraordinary. I love it.”

The final score, 3-2 for Chakravarty, is what the winner expected.

“Shane’s such a tough, physical wrestler,” Chakravarty said, “you know it’s going to be a low-scoring match.”

It’s comforting to wrestle against a familiar face, Chakravarty added, but when that face belongs to Small, the comfort won’t last long.

At the end of the match, Chakravarty looked upset about stalling calls that cost him two points instead of happy about his repeat as conference champ.

“I was frustrated by the stalling calls but, whatever, I did what I had to do to win,” he said.

Another Liberty grappler who starred at the conference finals was Hamilton Noel, who reached the finals for the third consecutive year.

Wrestling at 152 pounds, Noel won by pin with 54 seconds left in the third round. It’s the second year in a row Noel won the conference championship.

“This is a stepping stone to state,” he said. “That’s my goal: to win state.”

Noel won regionals last year and finished second in state.

Repeating as KingCo champ was hard, he said.

“There’s extra pressure,” he said. “Everyone wants to get your title.”

Noel, a junior, said having his young squad place three wrestlers in the finals is a sign of progress.

“It’s good to get the experience for next year,” he said.

The Patriots finished next-to-last overall, but Noel has reason to feel optimistic. With the top three wrestlers in each category advancing to regionals, one who fell just short was freshman 103-pounder Neil Chakravarty, who finished fourth.

“I knew it would be a close match,” he said. “I was tired and I guess he wanted it more than I did.”

Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or smoraga@snovalleystar.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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