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'Cats tarnish Knights' armor
In a meet that beforehand had the possibility of going either way, the Mount Si Wildcat wrestling team avenged its league loss to Liberty with a 60-18 pasting of Newport.
Ten Wildcat pins highlighted the meeting of the two teams, with Newport only mustering two pins and two decisions.
Leading off the effort in the 275-pound class for Mount Si was Cory Anderson. Anderson bore the weight of the Liberty loss personally as that meet came down to his match.
In his match against the Knights' Ben Leapai he had something to prove, and prove it he did, pinning Leapai in the second round with 54 seconds left on the clock. The pin set the tone for the rest of the matches.
"We have a pretty good team this year, and it was nice to give them a pin to start," said Anderson. "I just want the team to have faith in my abilities."
Despite being only a sophomore, Anderson is a key to the success of the Wildcat team.
"Cory was aggressive, and that is what counted," said coach Bruce Caldwell.
Jason Rothgeb followed Anderson's lead for the Wildcats by also pinning his opponent, Newport female wrestler Leilani Akiyama. Akiyama, a judo champion, was all over the young Wildcat wrestler to start the match. But eventually, patience and opportunity came through to earn him the pin near the end of the second round.
"She is a thrower but Jason had the last word," said Caldwell.
Alex Haas continued his reign of terror in the 112-pound class, pinning the Knights' David Rosen 12 seconds into the second round. Haas toyed with Rosen through the first round, scoring several takedowns.
Jordan Prior also took the team's cue and pinned Newport's Brian Yaeger with 34 seconds left in the second round. The pin gave the Wildcats a commanding 24-0 lead after four matches.
But Newport is typically stronger in the middle weights, and the current team is no exception. The first Wildcat loss came by way of the Knights' Josh Luttman facing Andy Lund.
Luttman, who appeared to have added muscle since last year, was a tough opponent, but Lund did well in allowing only six points to be scored against him, losing 6-0.
Newport's Jimmy Akiyama followed with a pin of the Wildcats' Jae Mandanas, who was wrestling up one weight class.
Mount Si's Jon Emerson faced a determined Conrad McCleary in the 135-pound class, but held his own. The match was tied until the final seconds, when McCleary pulled out a reversal for the win. The Wildcat loss put the score at 24-12.
Mount Si came back big, though, with the next four wrestlers scoring pins. Nick Martindale started the trend with a pin at the 1:10 mark of the first round. Sporting a pair of black-and-white striped knee socks, Martindale looked small against the Knights' muscular Michael Bradley, but skill and tenacity were more effective than brute force.
Eddie Roberts and Kyle Jacobsen also posted pins at 145 and 152 pounds, respectively. Roberts pinned Eric Gant 50 seconds into the first round, and Jacobsen kept everybody glued to their seat, pinning Charlie Wenger with four seconds left in the match.
The Wildcats' Tyler Austin was next on the mat and showed that his wrestling skills are improving. He manhandled the Knights' Karth Lindelef, eventually pinning him with 30 seconds left in the second round.
At 171-pounds, Nick Ippolito had his hands full against one of Newport's toughest wrestlers, Kasey Kilmer. Early in the match, Kilmer hoisted Ippolito in the air and slammed him to the mat on his head. The move gave a point to the Wildcat but eventually Kilmer would come back for a pin mid-way through the second round.
Young Trevor Moore continued Mount Si's dominance as he pinned Newport's Nick Reese midway through the second round. Reese was obviously into weightlifting, but his size and appearance did not deter Moore from the inevitable outcome.
"I don't think about muscle. It helps, but it's not the only thing," said Moore. "I'm a wrestler and he is a wrestler, and that's all that matters."
The final match of the night came with Dylan Seubert pinning Newport's Rob Drass with 1:27 left in the second round. The last pin put the Wildcat's ahead 60-18.
"I was pleasantly surprised," said Caldwell. "We came out to wrestle and had a great attitude." Mount Si takes on Issaquah at home Wednesday, Jan. 9, then travels to Sammamish Jan. 10.