'Cats add tourney title to honors

In early tournament rounds, Mount Si wrestling coach Jeff Newcomer confided he was a bit disappointed in how his wrestlers were wrestling. Mount Si had won the regular season crown, but after two rounds of the league tournament, they were in third place. He prodded his wrestlers to get every point they could and they came through as the Wildcats edged out Issaquah by four points to add the league tournament title to their season accolades.

In the process, coach Newcomer and assistant coach Kyle Jacobsen picked up coach of the year and assistant coach of the year honors. It was the third time in four years that Newcomer had won.

But the honors didn't stop there. Four Wildcat wrestlers won league titles in their respective weight classes. Kyle Heath, Mac Donnell, Seth Merritt and Dex Moetului all won their championship matches.

In addition, the Wildcats will send four other wrestlers to the district tournament along with four alternates.

Leading the list of champions for Mount Si was senior Seth Merritt, who dominated the 189-pound weight class. Merritt won his first two matches by pin to advance to the finals. Unfortunately, his first match was against teammate Jack Stinnett who had worked his way into the tournament through the JV qualifier the previous weekend. Stinnett went on to take fourth and will travel to the district tournament as an alternate. Merritt faced Mercer Island's Ben Porter in the finals, but sent the Islander packing with a 16-1 technical fall loss.

Heath won the 112-pound class for the Wildcats. His first match was quick, with a pin of Interlake's Dan Peltier in 15 seconds. The second match was almost as quick with a pin at the 1:08 mark of the first round. In the finals, Heath had to work but still pulled out a 13-8 win over Liberty's Luke Hansen.

Teammate Mac Donnell also dominated his 160-pound weight class. His first match was a 17-1 technical fall win over Issaquah's Kuris Krumins. His second match was a mid-second round pin over Mercer Island's Andreas Placki. In the finals, Donnell had his hands full but pulled out a 14-12 decision over Bellevue's Kurtis Santill for the championship.

Finally, the Wildcats' Moetului won the championship at 215 pounds. Moetului wrestled with a passion in every match. He pinned Issaquah's Cameron Alavi near the end of the first round in his first match of the day. From there he beat Mercer Island's Chris Pothoven by technical fall 22-7. In the finals, he absolutely handled Issaquah's Ben Johnson, pinning him at the 2:24 mark of the second round.

The big man Jeff Chapman made it to the championship round for Mount Si in the 275-pound weight class. In the finals he faced Newport's Doug Hollenbeck, who eventually took the championship 7-4, giving Chapman a second-place finish but still qualifying for the district meet.

In addition to the champions, three other wrestlers qualified for the district tournament. At 103 pounds, freshman Ryan Makala defeated the Totems' Nick Rostag 7-1 to take third. At 130 pounds, Jacob Lund defeated the Totems' Sreng Ngor by pin at the 4:37 mark of the third round. Kenny Morrison will also represent Mount Si at the district tournament after defeating Newport's Bob Swan 6-0 for third place in the 152-pound weight class.

In addition to Stinnett, three other Wildcat wrestlers will travel to the district tournament as alternates. Joe Taklo took fourth in the 125-pound weight class, Jordan Sypher took fourth in the 140-pound weight class and Jay Dochnahl took fourth in the 145-pound weight class.

Four other wrestlers placed in the tournament. In the 135-pound weight class, Dallas Liebe took fifth; at 171 pounds, Dereck Hanneman took fifth; at 215 pounds, Hunter Woldseth took fifth; and at 275 pounds, Ryan Ransavage took fifth.

The district tournament will be held at Liberty High School on Saturday, Feb. 11, with the first match at 10 a.m.

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