Liberty High School wrestlers adjust to home away from home

November 27, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Joanna Moreira, Liberty High School freshman (top) wrestles Garfield junior Amanda Triandafilou in the 132-pound women’s match in an exhibition match last January at Issaquah High School. By Greg Farrar

The uniform will say Liberty, but for the 2012-2013 wrestling season, the Patriot wrestlers will have to call Maywood Middle School home due to construction going on at Liberty High School.

It’s been an adjustment for the squad, Liberty coach Manny Brown said. The team practices at Maywood but must wait to use the wrestling mats until the middle school team is done.

“Since Liberty is in construction mode, we will have all of our home matches over at Maywood Middle School,” he said. “It’s worked out well for us, but we still miss being home at Liberty High School.”

Despite the inconvenience, Brown said the team is excited and eager to build upon its fourth-place finish at last year’s KingCo 3A Conference championships.

“I’m hoping to end up in the top three in KingCo,” he said. “Mercer Island is going to be pretty tough this year and so is Mount Si. So, hopefully we are up there competing with them.”

Last year, the team sent two wrestlers to state, where Hamilton Noel placed sixth in the 160-pound division and Joanna Moreira acquired valuable experience as a freshman in her first state tournament appearance.

Noel has since graduated, but Moreira is back for her sophomore campaign and ready to improve on last year’s performance, Brown said.

“She’s ranked about sixth or seventh this year in the state,” he said. “She’s working hard during the week in practice.”

Moreira became the first female wrestler in Liberty High School history last year.

“We’ve got to really work on getting her matches against other females, which is kind of difficult to do,” Brown said.

Noel will be a tough act to follow, after several strong finishes at the state tournament, but Brown said he expects captains Nate Sjoholm and Luke Oman to play key roles for the team.

The Patriots were a young team last year, but the expectation is that last year’s experience bodes well for the future.

“We’ve got some sophomores that were with us as freshman last year that are really coming along,” Brown said.

In particular, Brown said he is excited to see how sophomores Jimmy Andrus and Conner Small improve upon their freshman seasons.

“We’ve got about 28 people on the team and we’ve been working really hard,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to the season.”

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