Pirates battle at Hagerty Invite

The Neah-Kah-Nie Pirates had a strong showing at the Hagerty Invitational Dec. 15 as the wrestlers placed tenth as a team and had two individual champions. – Citizen Photo by Max Kirkendall

What was once a small coastal wrestling tournament, turned into a major event when Nestucca High School hosted its annual Bill Hagerty Invitational this past weekend.
By Max Kirkendall
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The tournament featured 14 teams ranging from 1A to 4A classifications. Among the competitive crowd of teams were the host Bobcats and the Neah-Kah-Nie Pirates, who both had strong showings over the weekend.
The Pirates, claimed tenth place out of the 14 teams with 74 team points and a pair of first place finishers. Even though the Pirate team may be lacking the numbers of some of the other teams competing, they certainly are not lacking the talent and effort according to head coach Chris Bennett.
“I was very pleased with the boys effort last weekend,” Bennett said. “We are improving each week on our mat awareness and scoring on our opponents.”
Like their fellow 2A counterpart Nestucca, the Pirates also had four top five finishers with Travis Bennett and Travis Jonsson leading the way as both took home first place titles.
“It was nice to have Jonsson back in the lineup for us,” Bennett said. “He wrestled very well in all of his matches and he stayed in control and never got out of position throughout the day.”
While Jonsson was busy in the 285 weight class, Travis Bennett was tearing through the 220 weight division.
“Travis (Bennett) had a great day winning the 220 weight class,” coach Bennett said. “He will probably wrestle at 195 the remainder of the season though, as we work on getting Tristan (Bennett) back into the line-up. He is giving up quite a bit of weight at 220 and should really be a force at 195.”
Also placing well at the tournament for Neah-Kah-Nie was Jett Johnston who was second at the 182 weight class and Ecca Fry who was fifth at the 138 weight class. The solid performance for the Pirates was encouraging to see for Bennett.
“I think the biggest thing we need to improve on is chain wrestling,” Bennett said. “We need to put together three or four moves at a time and understand our body position a little better and stop trying to force moves that aren’t there. I am excited to see how we progress through the season. I feel like we are far ahead of where we were at this time last year.”

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