Issaquah Eagles wrestling head coach Kirk Hyatt was beaming with pride during the Mat Classic Class 4A state tournament on Feb. 15-16 in Tacoma.
The Eagles may have not had any state placers but they brought 15 wrestlers to the Tacoma Dome for the tournament. Cal Saper (160) earned three victories in his weight class. Kamil Solowiej (152) and Mitchell Barnes (285) nabbed two victories at the Mat Classic in their respective weight divisions.
“We have 15 wrestlers here, which is the highest amount we’ve ever had. We didn’t have regionals (regional tourney was canceled due to adverse weather) so we got a lot of young guys here who get to experience the real deal. We always want to come to the state tournament and represent our school the best we can. We got a lot of young guys on the squad who are a little shell-shocked. That is OK. We got guys finding ways through their brackets,” Hyatt said on the first day of the tournament on Feb. 15.
Barnes was glad to see a large contingent of Eagles grapplers have the opportunity to be on the grand stage at the dome.
“It is pretty cool because normally we only have a couple of guys here, so it’s great to have almost half of the team here. It is cool to see those underclassmen who usually don’t have a chance to be here, actually be here,” Barnes said.
Barnes credited Saper for organizing informal workouts over the course of the week-long snowstorm prior to the Mat Classic. The majority of the Eagles practice sessions were canceled due to the adverse roadways on the Eastside.
“Our captain Cal Saper had workouts at his house that a lot of the guys were going to. That proved to have been pretty beneficial,” Barnes said.