Eagles achieve goal of winning wrestling KingCo Conference 4A tournament title

February 7, 2012

By Bob Taylor

 Issaquah High School wrestlers, coaches and team managers howl as they pose for photos after winning the KingCo 4A Tournament team championship Feb. 4. Winning this title with these athletes during wrestling’s 50th anniversary at Issaquah ‘is something I’ll always remember,’ said coach Kirk Hyatt (kneeling second from left).By Greg Farrar

Issaquah High School wrestling coach Kirk Hyatt had a hunch entering this season that his team had championship talent.

The Eagles showed it Feb. 4 when they captured the KingCo Conference 4A Tournament title. Issaquah, the host team, racked up 238 points. Woodinville was second with 197.5 points and Inglemoor, the regular-season dual meet champion, was third with 189 points.

“After watching our kids progress the last two years, they had figured out a lot of things. They had learned how to win a tournament,” Hyatt said.

Not that the regular season isn’t important, but Hyatt always has his teams shooting for the KingCo Tournament.

“I always feel that the tournament is the one that really guarantees who is the league champion, because it takes the entire team to win it. It is not like the dual matches, where you can lose a match in the final seconds,” Hyatt said.

Actually, Issaquah had a strong dual meet season, losing just one match.

The tournament title was Issaquah’s first since 2008.

One of the first people to congratulate Hyatt, an Issaquah High graduate, was Roger Wilson, his high-school coach.

“Roger texted me and said ‘Good job. You made the old coach proud.’ To me, that was my recognition,” said Hyatt, who was also named the conference’s co-coach of the year.

In tournaments, the first-day competition often makes a big difference in the team standings. Issaquah won 22 of 24 matches Feb. 3.

“That pretty much sealed the deal,” Hyatt said.

The Eagles also had a tournament-high 24 pins.

“It’s kind of like baseball where you want to hit the home run. In wrestling, wrestlers like to get pins. We train for that,” Hyatt said.

Almen Thorpe accounted for four pins en route to winning the 132-pound division.

Thorpe pinned Woodinville’s Everett Bingisser in 4:27 in the title match. In the semifinals, Thorpe pinned Woodinville’s Garrett Foss in 48 seconds. However, his fastest pin came in the second round, when he got Ballard’s Austin Daffron in 28 seconds. Thorpe pinned Eastlake’s Jeremy Van Horn in 40 seconds in the first round.

“He is a pinner. When he first came out for the team it was usually a case of pin or be pinned,” Hyatt said of Thorpe. “He has really figured things out. He likes pinning guys. He is usually the smallest guy on the mat, but he uses his speed and agility to pin his opponents. He really had a good weekend.”

Issaquah had one other KingCo champion — Torre Eaton. He won the 106-pound class with a 6-3 decision against Skyline’s Griffin Howlett.

The Eagles had four second places.

Jerdon Helgeson was second at 137 after losing to Inglemoor’s Gabe Seward, 12-5.

Joseph Tonnemaker finished second at 145, losing a tough match to Roosevelt’s Willie Spurr, 6-5. Spurr, who competed at state last year, won the match in the final 15 seconds.

Matt Solusod was pinned by Woodinville’s Jake Hollister in the 220 finale. Jonathan Norris lost to Woodinville’s Jeff Burroughs, 5-2 in the 285 title match.

Norris, a junior, is one of the more improved wrestlers on the team.

“Last year, he did not win any matches at the tournament. He has worked hard. With a little more mat time, he will be real good,” Hyatt said.

Issaquah had three third-place finishers. Taylor Evans placed third at 152 with a 7-6 decision against Eastlake’s Ryan Wasserman. Jordan Hamilton took third in the 113-pound class when he defeated Matt Droker of Newport, 10-7. Andrew Ramirez was third at 170 by pinning Woodinville’s Lucas Blasdell in 1:56.

Louden Ivey (120), Spencer Tickman (106) and Max Tickman (126) had fourth places.

Issaquah will send 12 wrestlers in all, the most of any KingCo team, to the regionals Feb. 11 at Rogers High of Puyallup.

Skyline finished fourth in the team standings with 187 points.

Skyline teammates Justin Manipis and Joseph DeMatteo met in the championship round of the 113-pound weight class. Manipis defeated DeMatteo, 2-0, to win the title. DeMatteo defeated Hamilton, 8-3, in the semifinals.

Skyline’s Ian Crouch and Michael Mecham each finished second. Crouch took second at 152 when he lost to Bothell’s Brandon Davidson, 11-0. Michael Mecham was second at 160 after losing to Woodinville’s Ryan Christensen, 25-8.

Skyline’s Tristan Steciw was third at 120 pounds after pinning Ivey.

Joey Gurke (132) and Tyler White (138) both finished fourth.

Skyline’s Cyrus Sarkosh was fifth at 170 after pinning Inglemoor’s Blake Moody in 1:39.

Patriots fourth at KingCo 3A

Liberty placed fourth at the KingCo 3A Championships Feb. 4 at Liberty.

Mount Si won the team title with 214.5 points. Mercer Island, the regular-season champion, was second with 209 points. Bellevue was third with 203 points and Liberty was fourth with 151 points.

The Patriots had four champions.

Nate Sjoholm won the 132-pound title with a 6-3 decision against Lake Washington’s Benson Hull.

Conner Small took the 138-pound division when he pinned Mount Si’s Aaron Peterson in 4:47.

Shane Small scored a 7-2 decision against Bellevue’s Peter Ovens to win the 152-pound class. Romney Noel, of Liberty, finished third in the division when he pinned Mount Si’s David Glass in 2:24.

Hamilton Noel, who finished second at state last year, captured the 160-pound class when he pinned Mercer Island’s Blake Johnson in 47 seconds.

Luke Oman was third at 220 after he decisioned Mount Si’s Nate Whited, 9-5.

Jimmy Andrus placed fourth at 145 and Quinn Magendanz was fourth at 160.

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

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