Liberty High School wrestlers adjust to home away from home

November 27, 2012

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.

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Issaquah wrestling team sees return of 17 lettermen

November 27, 2012

Jonathan Norris, Issaquah High School junior, wrestles his opponent in the 285-pound class on the way to winning with a pin, during the Eagles’ match against Woodinville last January. By Greg Farrar

As another Issaquah High School wrestling campaign gets under way, there can be little doubt that if any group of mat men has a head start on the rest of the conference, it would have to be the guys in the purple-and-gold grappling gear.

The Eagles began the season with 32 young men vying for starting spots in the varsity lineup, 17 of which are returning lettermen. The Eagles swing back into wrestling filled with confidence, after forging a 9-1 league mark in 2011-12, as well as wrapping up the KingCo 4A title and taking a half-dozen wrestlers to state a year ago.

One of the six wrestlers representing the IHS banner at the state tourney was 285-pound heavyweight Jonathan Norris, who took sixth in state as a junior.

Eagle wrestling coach Kirk Hyatt said Norris provides an enthralling example of what can happen, if you keep your nose to the grindstone in your training endeavors and never leave anything out on the mat.

On the other end of the spectrum for Issaquah is featherweight freshman Steven Solusod, who has at least been penciled in as the 106-pound selection for the Eagles. The wrestlers have not been assessed or certified yet, though, so little else is certain, according to Hyatt, an Eagle alum in his 17th season as the main mat mentor at IHS.

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Skyline High School sophomore wrestles her way to state

June 5, 2012

Skyline High School sophomore Kara Alden wrestles Dec. 1, 2011, in a match against a wrestler from Issaquah High School. By Debbie Alden

For Skyline High School sophomore Kara Alden, it’s not that she’s a girl participating in a sport dominated by guys or that she’s the only female on a male wrestling team. Rather, it’s the fact that her desire to compete and her passion for the sport have allowed her to succeed despite a lack of experience and physical disadvantages.

“Wrestling guys is harder as a girl since we don’t have as much muscle mass as they do,” Kara said. “You have to have really perfected technique to do well against a guy.”

On a daily basis and throughout the season, she faces adversity in the form of her male opponents. At practice and during dual meets, her options are often limited to wrestling just guys, unless it’s the postseason.

But for Kara, the option to wrestle both guys and girls presents a unique catch-22. Facing girls means a higher probability of winning. Wrestling guys, however, is where she can gain the most experience and learn technical moves she wouldn’t otherwise be afforded.

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Liberty wrestler Hamilton Noel finishes sixth at Mat Classic

February 21, 2012

When the last chapter closed on the 2012 Mat Classic, all it said about Hamilton Noel’s performance was that the Liberty High School senior finished sixth in the 160-pound division at the Class 3A Tournament.

Not a word about his heart, of which he displayed plenty in the Tacoma Dome. Not a comma about his tears, of which there were also a few. Not a period about how he stepped on the mat weakened by an unspecified ailment that made him look almost nothing like the Noel that dominated at Regionals.

At the end, the fact that Mercer Island’s Blake Johnson, the wrestler who won 160-pound state title was the same Noel defeated at the regional finals seven days earlier, seemed to do nothing but add insult to an already injured warrior.

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Liberty’s Hamilton Noel wins regional crown

February 14, 2012

Hamilton Noel (right), Liberty High School senior, holds Mercer Island's Blake Johnson during their 3A Region 1 160-pound title match. Noel won an exciting 3-2 contest. By Sebastian Moraga

Hamilton Noel said he knows what is at stake.

The Liberty High School senior qualified for the state wrestling tournament again by winning the Class 3A Region 1 160-pound title Feb. 11 at Skyline High School.

On Feb. 17 and 18 in the Tacoma Dome, Noel will go for his third, and last, shot at a state crown. He will graduate in June and said he knows time is running out.

In 2010, then-145-pounder Noel lost to Olympic High School’s Brandon Yeik, 13-7, in the state finals.

In 2011, 152-pounder Noel lost to Enumclaw’s Josh Musick, 6-2, in the state finals.

Now at 160, he punched his ticket for the Mat Classic by beating No.2 Mercer Island’s Blake Johnson, in a 3-2 thriller.

“Blake is ranked No. 2,” Noel said. “I’ll probably see him again this year.”

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

February 7, 2012

 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.

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Forfeits hurt Patriots against Mount Si

January 31, 2012

Shane Small (top) wrestles Mount Si High School’s Tye Rodne at Bellevue Jan. 28. Small, a 152-pounder from Liberty High School, defeated Rodne, 8-4, but Mount Si overcame the Patriots, 51-21. By Sebastian Moraga

The Liberty High School wrestling team tried but could not overcome Mount Si, losing 54-21 Jan. 28 at Bellevue High School.

Both teams, along with Mercer Island and Sammamish, went to Bellevue to make up KingCo Conference 3A/2A matches the mid-January snowstorm had postponed.

“I don’t think it’s ever helpful,” Patriots assistant coach Wright Noel said of the time away from the mat. “It takes a while to get the kids back in it after they have done nothing for a week. But all the schools have had to deal with the same issues.”

The delay caused the Liberty upperclassmen to not have a Senior Night, he said.

“That’s always tough on our seniors,” he said.

The squad that showed up on Wolverine Way to grapple with Mount Si was not a full-force band of Patriots, as evidenced by the four forfeits that gave the Wildcats 24 points. Liberty forfeited at 285, 195, 113 and 106 pounds.

“And we have a couple of kids injured, so that hurt,” Noel said. “But Mount Si did a good job.”

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Unbeaten Issaquah wrestlers overwhelm Newport

January 27, 2012

NEW — 1 p.m. Jan. 27, 2012

The unbeaten Issaquah High School wrestling team had too much muscle for Newport on Tuesday as the Eagles produced a 64-15 KingCo Conference 4A victory.

Jordan Hamilton (113), Louden Ivey (120), Jerdon Helgeson (138), Joseph Tonnemaker (145), Taylor Evans (152), Andrew Ramirez (170), Matt Solusod (220) and Jonathan Norris (285) all had pins for Issaquah. David Tickman (106) won his match with a major decision.

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Issaquah High School wrestlers give alumni entertaining week

January 17, 2012

Almen Thorpe, Issaquah High School senior, has Dalton Mann of Woodinville in trouble on the way to a pin in his 132-pound match Jan. 11 on 50th anniversary Alumni Night. Thorpe also won matches by pin last week against Garfield and Bothell. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah High School wrestling program, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, gave its alumni plenty to cheer about last week. The Eagles won four matches and placed third in the Jack Reynolds Invitational.

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Liberty wrestlers take down two KingCo opponents

January 13, 2012

NEW — 4:45 p.m Jan. 13, 2012

The Liberty High School wrestling team posted two easy KingCo Conference 3A/2A victories Jan. 12 when the Patriots walloped Juanita 53-21 and crushed Sammamish 48-18.

In the Juanita match, Conner Small (138) and Austin Whitely (152) had pins for Liberty. Hamilton Noel (160) won his match with a technical fall.

In the Sammamish match, Small and Noel Brandon (195) had pins for the Patriots.

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