Patriots wrestler takes second place at state

March 4, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

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Liberty’s Chris Harlin wrestles Mercer Island’s TJ Blackburn at the state tournament. Harlin won the match and eventually took sixth place in the 3A 215-pound weight class. By Tim Pfarr

Wrestler Hamilton Noel, of Liberty High School, took second place in his division at the Mat Classic XXII state tournament Feb. 20 in the Tacoma Dome.

Noel, a sophomore, wrestled in the 3A 145-pound weight class. He qualified last year, but did not place in the top eight.

“I’m really happy with it,” Noel said about his finish. “It was a great year.”

In his final match, Noel faced Brandon Yeik, a senior from Olympic High School. Yeik won the state championship two years ago and took second place in the tournament last year. Yeik defeated Noel 13-7 in the match.

“I knew he was going to be tough,” Noel said.

Liberty head coach Manny Brown said Noel had his work cut out for him to get to the championships.

“It was a very tough weight class,” Brown said. “None of them were easy matches.”

Noel reached the finals with a 5-3 overtime decision of Adam Raemer, of Port Angeles. The Liberty wrestler pinned Travis Addy, of Prairie, in the first round and defeated Derek VanWyhe, of Glacier Park, 9-4 in the quarterfinals.

Liberty wrestlers Chris Harlin and Jay Chakravarty also placed in the 3A tournament. Harlin finished sixth in the 215-pound weight class and Chakravarty was eighth in the 160-pound weight class.

Harlin lost his first match of the tournament and dropped to the consolation bracket, where he won four of his final five matches to take sixth place. One of his victories was a 10-6 decision of Mercer Island’s TJ Blackburn, the 3A KingCo Conference champion.

“Losing your first battle and coming through the back door is a lot of work,” he said.

He said some of his opponents were a bit bigger and stronger, which made the tournament particularly tough.

Chakravarty, a junior, said he was happy to place at state this year, and he said he hopes to finish in the top four next year in his weight class.

Hazen’s Jordan Hjelmaa and Roxanne Paz both qualified for the state tournament as well, wrestling in the 3A 189-pound weight class and the girls 135-pound weight class, respectively.

Hjelmaa lost his first match to Clint Coulter, of Union, and was sent to the consolation bracket, where he defeated David Dempsey, of O’Dea, before falling to Nathan Criston, of Port Angeles.

Paz fell to Anna Stauffer, of Skyview, in her first match and was sent to the consolation bracket as well. In her second match, she lost to Juliana Trujillo, of Lakes.

“Hazen hasn’t had a great history of wrestling,” said Roy Magana, Hazen head coach.

This was his first season coaching the team. He said he did not believe a Hazen wrestler had qualified for the state tournament in five or six years.

“In the next few years, we’re hoping to qualify a lot more wrestlers to state, and I think we started off on the right foot this year,” he said.

Liberty’s Dan Velasquez, Wright Noel and Brandon Studer all qualified for the state tournament as well, but none made it to the final rounds. Liberty finished 16th as a team in the 3A tournament with 39 points.

“We were really glad that we were able to place three guys out of six,” Brown said, adding that he was hoping the team would finish in the top 10.

“We’ll be back,” he said.

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