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Pinning down an upset

Tanner Krahel's pin in the 285-pound match lifts Aloha to a 37-34 victory
by: MILES VANCE, WRAPPED UP – Aloha’s Jared Dunivan (left) puts the squeeze on Sunset’s Joel Harrison en route to his second-round pin in their match at 171 pounds last Wednesday night at Sunset High School.

CEDAR MILL - Sunset's wrestling team entered the 2007 season with great expectations.

Aloha entered with high hopes.

Both teams left last week's Metro League-opening dual match at Sunset High School with their expectations and hopes intact, but Aloha also left with a win after beating the Apollos 37-34 thanks to Tanner Krahel's first-round pin at 285 pounds, the night's final weight class. The win lifted Aloha to 1-0 in the Metro League while Sunset dropped to 0-1.

'It's nice coming into the (New Year) with one Metro win. We fought hard for it and came out on top,' said Krahel, a sophomore. 'We were looking forward to this. It's a real momentum-builder for us.'

'We felt we had a chance to surprise them if we competed hard in every match,' said Aloha coach Stuart Kearsley. 'Our young wrestlers really came through and stole a few wins for us early on in the match.'

For Sunset, meanwhile, picked by league coaches as the 2007 Metro favorite, was left to ponder its loss, refocus and realize that its season goals were still within reach despite the loss.

'I'm absolutely disappointed because we were looking to winning the league title and we came out a little flat,' said Sunset senior Will Berrigan, who notched a pin at 140 pounds. 'We can still technically win the dual meet title and we can definitely win the district meet title. When we get all their guys at their weights, we'll bring the heat.'

'We're just going to use this as fuel to the fire,' said senior Jason McDonald, who won a major decision at 215 pounds. 'We just need to realize that what we're doing isn't working and we're not getting what we want out of what we're doing and that we need to work even harder.'

The match itself was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Warriors start fast and hold the lead until the 145-pound match.

But the Apollos won four straight matches to take a 30-22 lead before Aloha closed out the night with wins in three of the final four weight classes.

Zach McKena got things started for Aloha with a first-round pin of Quinn Haslett, and teammate Sean Murfin followed by pinning Apollo Paola Esteban in the third round to make it 12-0. Sunset's Dustin Hoffman answered with a 20-4 technical fall win at 119 and teammate Maynor Sandoval scored a 51-second pin at 125 pounds to cut the gap to 12-11.

The Warriors came back with consecutive wins by Michael Tyler (he posted a

13-4 major decision over Gustavo Tayun at 130) and Isaac Tillotson (he pinned Miguel Sandoval in 1:33 at 135) to provide Aloha's last big lead of the night at 22-11.

'I think I had a tough guy, but I think I came more mentally prepared than he was,' Tillotson said. 'I was thinking about getting the pin for my team because we really needed the team points. If I didn't, the outcome of this dual could have been different.'

But Sunset responded with its best stretch of the night, winning the next four matches to pull ahead 30-22. Berrigan got things started with a second-round pin over Taylor McVey (he led 12-1 in that second round before finally putting McVey away), Kyle Robinson came through with a second-round pin of Huitzili Rios at 145, Justin Jones notched a 12-1 major decision over Blake Wight at 152 and Derek Verhoest closed the stretch with a dramatic 11-9 decision over Derrick Barfus at 160.

In that match, Barfus scored two takedowns and two near falls in the first round to lead 8-2, then saw Verhoest cut the gap to 9-7 with a takedown and three-point near-fall in round two. And in round three, Verhoest scored a late takedown and was also awarded two near-fall points with one seconds remaining to beat Barfus 11-9.

Sunset added a 12-1 win by Jason McDonald over Ryan Johnson at 215 pounds

- a win that gave the Apollos their final lead of the night at 34-31, but that would be the end of the highlights for Sunset.

Aloha's Jared Dunivan pinned Joel Harrison at 2:27 in their 171-pound match, and then, Spencer Moe beat Sunset's Michael Verbeek 4-3 at 189 with a takedown with just 34 seconds left in their match.

And then, after McDonald's win, Krahel came through in fine fashion at heavyweight. Krahel took down Lacaden 55 seconds into the first round and kept him there until he pinned him a minute later.

'Everybody worked hard. We fought hard not to get pinned all the way through the match and just came through in the end,' Krahel said.

'Everybody came through. It's very nice.'

'I think we really needed it,' Tillotson added. 'I think we're going to come and take every team and win every match from now on.'

And the Apollos, despite the loss, remained confident of their team's strength.

'I think if anything, we'll just use this as inspiration in practice, even starting tomorrow,' McDonald said.