Liberty wrestlers look to expand upon last season’s successes

December 7, 2009

By Tim Pfarr

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After sending eight wrestlers to the state tournament in the 2008-2009 season, Liberty’s wrestling team looks to continue to grow and be even more successful.

“We’re hoping to get our name on the board this year,” head coach Manny Brown said.This is Brown’s fourth year coaching the team. He previously coached Issaquah High School’s wrestling team for seven years.

Senior Dan Velasquez, senior Wright Noel Jr., sophomore Hamilton Noel, junior Jay Chakravarty, senior Brandon Studer and senior Chris Harlin each qualified for the state tournament in the 2008-2009 season, and each is eying a return this season.

“This year, we’re hoping to get out six placers at state,” Velasquez said. “Hopefully, we’ll make a strong showing.”

Studer agreed, and he said Velasquez and Wright Noel should help lead the team this year.

“Danny and Wright have done really well since the last time we wrestled,” Studer said. “They’re bigger, faster, stronger.”

Brown said he hopes two or three other wrestlers will qualify for the state tournament this year in addition to the six who previously qualified.

He said there may be as many as 10 wrestlers on the team this year who also played football. However, football players do not join the team until after the football season ends Dec. 4.

Football players are required to participate in six wrestling practices before they may participate in a match.

“We’ve got great support from our football coach,” he said. “I think wrestlers make good football players and football players make good wrestlers.”

Although the team officially began its season Dec. 1 against Eastlake and Issaquah, its first significant challenge will come the weekend of Dec. 11 at the 22-team Battle of the Border tournament in Blaine.

“It kind of gives you a feel for what you need to work on,” Brown said regarding the early season challenge.

Brown said he expects other highlights of the season to include the Henry Foss Team Tournament in Tacoma at 10 a.m. Dec. 22; the Liberty Invitational at home at 10 a.m. Jan. 9; the Jack Reynolds tournament at Mercer Island High School at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 16; and a dual meet with Issaquah, Mount Si and Skyline at home the evening of Jan. 28.

Also, for the first time, Liberty will face schools from the Metro division in tournament at the Nathan Hale Tournament at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle Dec. 19.

Brown also said he expects Bellevue and Mercer Island to present the greatest competition this year.

“Bellevue had a pretty strong team last year,” he said. “They lost some seniors last year, but you never know who’s coming back until you see them face to face.”

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