Liberty winter athletes take to postseason
March 4, 2011
By Tim Pfarr
Liberty High School’s swimmers and wrestlers stole the spotlight this winter season, reaching the state championships.
Swimmer Logan Briggs took second place in the state 3A championships in the 200-yard freestyle, helping lead Liberty’s swim team to a tie for seventh place at the state championships.
Wrestler Hamilton Noel took second place in the state in 152-pound weight class.
Liberty’s basketball teams’ postseasons were cut short, with the girls falling in the Sea-King District Tournament, and the boys falling in the KingCo 3A Tournament.
Liberty High School took seventh place at the state swimming championship meet Feb. 19 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, thanks to strong performances by Briggs, Luke Duschl, Kevin Hays and Tyler Larson.
“We were seventh in 2006, and that was a really, really good year for us,” Liberty head coach Kris Daughters said. “To get seventh again is pretty cool.”
However, the Liberty crew was missing breaststroke specialist Raymond Ha, who was out with the flu. Ha was slated to be on Liberty’s relay teams.
Briggs, a junior, led the team at the meet, taking second in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 41.99 seconds. The only swimmer to clock in with a faster time was Eastside Catholic High School’s Ethan Hallowell, who set a new meet record in the event with an all-America time of 1:38.18.
Briggs later took third in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:37.88.
Duschl, also a junior, took sixth place in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 54.10, and eighth in the 100-yard individual medley with a time of 2:01.71. The former time was a new personal best.
Liberty’s relay teams also advanced to the finals in the 200-yard medley relay — taking fifth with a time of 1:41.59 — and the 400-yard freestyle relay — taking seventh with a time of 3:22.33.
Briggs, Duschl, junior Hays and senior Larson made up both relay teams.
Noel reached the finals at the Mat Classic for the second straight year. This time, the Liberty wrestler reached the 152-pound finals of the 3A state competition Feb. 19 in the Tacoma Dome.
But, once again, he came up a bit short.
Noel lost to Enumclaw’s Josh Musick 6-2, after opening the match with a 2-0 lead.
A disappointed Noel blamed himself for the loss.
“I knew it was going to be a good match — I came out, I scored on him, thought I had him, but I didn’t finish strong enough,” he said. “I’m just glad there’s next year.”
As it turned out, Noel was just one of two 3A KingCo Conference wrestlers to reach the finals.
Noel pledged to work on his conditioning for his senior season.
“I was a little gassed,” he said. “More than I should have been.”
Noel’s road to the finals began with a pin of Bishop Blanchet’s Myles Hollowed in the second period, a pin of Yelm’s Anthony Allred in the third, and a 4-2 decision over Mount Spokane’s Austin Pea.
Liberty coach Manny Brown praised his wrestler and the new champion.
“He gives us his all in practices and matches, everything,” Brown said of Noel. “Congratulations to Josh, who had a good match.”
As a sophomore, Noel placed second at 145 pounds.
At 160 pounds, Liberty’s Jay Chakravarty was eliminated in the second round of the consolation matches.
Chakravarty defeated Kennedy Catholic’s Nick Armitage 6-4, before losing by pin to Enumclaw’s Kario Wallin, who went on to win the title.
In the consolation bracket, Chakravarty lost 7-3 to Shadle Park’s Luke Miller, who finished seventh.
Liberty’s girls basketball team’s season came to an end Feb. 18 with a 53-41 loss to Juanita High School in the Sea-King district tournament. However, the Patriots started with success in the postseason, taking second place in the KingCo 3A tournament.
In the regional tournament, the team took down Bishop Blanchet High School, 41-30, thanks to strong performances from forwards Halie Ericksen and Aspen Winegar, who each posted 11 points.
The team lost its next game to Lakeside High School, 40-27. Senior forward Danni Sjolander led the team in scoring in the loss with 13 points. With the loss, Liberty entered a consolation bracket, battling for the fifth and final state playoff berth.
However, it was the loss in the next game that finished the season.
The Liberty boys basketball team’s season ended in the first round of the KingCo 3A tournament with a 53-47 loss to Mount Si High School Feb. 5. Although the loss marked an early end to the postseason, Liberty senior guard Chandler Jenkins racked up 19 points.