Wildcats sending eight to regionals

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RENTON - Mount Si will be sending eight wrestlers to the Kingco regional meet to be held this weekend at Liberty High School.

Leading the group will be Matt Haas, who repeated a Kingco championship at 130 pounds at the league wrestling meet last week. Haas squeaked into the finals in a 7-6 double-overtime win against Cedarcrest's Dan Claussen. Claussen, having the advantage for the second overtime, locked his hands, giving Haas a technical point and the win. In the finals Haas faced Issaquah's Matt Sambrook, whom he pinned 1:08 into the second round.

"He did really well in the finals, bouncing back after the near loss to Claussen," said Mount Si coach Jeff Newcomer.

Mount Si had four second-place finishers. At 135 pounds, Ryan Magnussen fell to Issaquah's Aaron Cahoon in the finals 5-0. Magnussen had worked his way up through the bracket with a 12-0 decision and a pin to get to the finals.

"Magnussen really wrestled well," said Newcomer. "Cahoon is a very good wrestler, he did a great job of staying in the match and staying close."

"I got third in the league tournament last year after going through the JV qualifier," said Magnussen, who then went two and out at the regional tournament in 2003.

Ben Steel lost in the finals to Liberty's Brad Williams in one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. At the end of regulation time, the two wrestlers were tied 11-11. The first overtime resulted in neither wrestler gaining an advantage. In the second overtime Williams started from the top position and held Steel down for the full 30 seconds to secure the win. Steel had notched a pin and major decision on his way to the finals and will carry his momentum into the regional tournament.

Seth Merritt also lost in the finals at 171 pounds. He faced Mercer Island's John Dixon who turned him for the pin 1:03, into the second round. Merritt was nonchalant about his placing.

"It was hard to keep him down," said Merritt, speaking of Cedarcrests' Sean Ansell. "He wasn't too strong at neutral or on top. I get to go up against a senior who took Kingco last year and just beat [Ansell] a senior who was the second seed last year."

"Seth has the ability to beat a kid like that and made one little mistake and got caught," said Newcomer. "But he is OK with that. He knows he is getting experience and learning for the future. He is always positive and knows it. He has been the most improved wrestler on this team. Wrestling up when we needed him, being a team player, a sophomore and second in Kingco is pretty dang good."

Trevor Moore took second after dropping his finals match to the Islanders' Jesse Johnson 17-1. Moore had successfully notched a pin and 10-4 decision to get to the finals, his first appearance ever.

"It feels great," said Moore of his finals appearance. "I wanted it last year and think I could have been in the finals if I had wrestled harder, but I am glad I am in this year."

He did admit that his semi-final match was tougher than the 10-4 score would indicate.

"I was giving it everything and didn't have much left," he added.

Other Mount Si wrestlers heading to the regional tournament include Joe Taklo who took third at 112 pounds after defeating Jean Laschever from Mercer Island by injury default. Josh Magnussen took fourth after falling to Mercer Island's Kyle Agnew 4-3. Pano Dreves will also head to the regional tournament, taking fourth place in the 152-pound class. Dreves fell to Justin Studer in the semi-finals then had to work his way through a consolation match to get a shot at third. He lost to Matt Glenn of Issaquah 8-6 in overtime for the fourth-place finish. Studer had taken second in state last year.

Two other Mount Si wrestlers had impressive finishes. Mike Montgomery took fifth at 119 pounds, and Mac Donnell took fifth at 160 pounds.

"I pretty much kind of thought that Ben had a good shot at winning. It was a great match, heartbreaking to watch and him lose, I felt he deserved the match. Ben did an outstanding job," said Newcomer.

The Wildcats finished fourth in team standings with 181 points, behind third-place Liberty, 183 points; second place Issaquah, 189.5 points; and first place Mercer Island with 237.5 points.

Cedarcrest also will be sending five wrestlers to the regional meet. Leading the team will be David Howard, who won the championship at 125 pounds after wrestling a near flawless tournament. Connor Baker took second at 119 pounds, Dan Claussen took third at 130 pounds, Mitchell Luce took third at 160 pounds and Ansell took fourth at 171 pounds to get spots in the regional tournament.

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