Liberty’s wrestlers go undefeated

February 4, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

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January wins over Garfield, Interlake and Skyline give Patriots KingCo Crest title

Liberty’s Wright Noel Jr. pounces on his opponent in the finals of the Liberty Invitational wrestling tournament Jan. 9. Noel took first place in the 140-pound weight class in the tournament. By Tim Pfarr

The Liberty Patriots wrestling team finished its 2009-2010 season undefeated, taking the KingCo Crest championship. Seven seniors — including captains Wright Noel Jr. and Danny Velasquez — helped carry the team to victory this year.

“These guys have worked hard for it,” Liberty Head Coach Manny Brown said about Liberty’s seniors and their quest to help guide the team to a division title. “They’ve put the time in the last four years.”

In January, the team defeated teams including Garfield 60-11, Interlake 40-28 and Skyline 46-26. It also hosted the Liberty Invitational Jan. 9 and traveled to the Jack Reynolds Tournament at Mercer Island and the River Ridge Varsity Tournament.

The last dual meet of the season Jan. 28 was perhaps the most anticipated, as the team wrestled Issaquah, which Liberty had not defeated in several years. Brown was an assistant coach for Issaquah before he joined Liberty. The match kept those in attendance on the edges of their seats, but Liberty came away with a 41-30 win.

“Coach Brown came from Issaquah, so it was kind of a rivalry we had,” Liberty wrestler Hamilton Noel said. “It was good to finally get a win.”

In an interview just after defeating Issaquah, Wright Noel pointed to the athletic banners hanging in the gym above the bleachers, and he said it had been the team’s goal to get a wrestling banner on the wall for winning its division.

“Tonight, we did it,” he said.

Liberty’s Danny Velasquez (right) grapples with his opponent at the Liberty Invitational Jan. 9. Velasquez took first in the 112-pound weight class in the tournament. By Tim Pfarr

In the 152-pound weight class, Liberty’s Josh Muttart defeated Issaquah’s Taylor Evans 12-10, and in the 171-pound weight class, Liberty’s Brandon Studer defeated Issaquah’s Tyler Volk 8-7. Both matches brought fans to their feet, cheering for their respective wrestlers.

Liberty’s Nick Bezanson’s win against Issaquah’s Alex Stevens also helped lead the team to victory, as did Wright Noel’s 12-0 victory against Issaquah’s David Wright and Velasquez’s 10-2 victory against Issaquah’s Max Tickman.

In the Liberty Invitational earlier in the month, the team hosted seven other schools, and it took third place, behind Kent Meridian and Union.

Brown said the invitational was more difficult this year than it was in previous years.

“We moved some things around and it was kind of fun,” Brown said. “We won it the last two years, and we decided to make it a little tougher, because these are our practice matches before our regionals. It’s nice to win the tournament, but it’s better to get that experience.”

At the Liberty Invitational, Velasquez took home the title for the 112-pound weight class and Wright Noel took home the title in the 140-pound weight class. Many others nearly won their weight classes as well.

Liberty will host the league and regional championships Feb. 6 and 13, respectively. The state championships will be held at the Tacoma Dome Feb. 19 and 20.

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