Things learned, observed on Day 1 of Far East High School Wrestling Tournament
Published: February 13, 2012
The kid battled the veteran, and a returning Far East Wrestling Tournament gold medalist at that, for position in their 108-pound round-robin bout on Monday. Freshman Brandon Beaumont of Robert D. Edgren and reigning weight-class champion Steven Walter of Kubasaki fought for the advantage, then came crashing down together, side by side.
For full-field results of every last pool-play bout on Monday, plus KAIAC Division II basketball tournament and conference awards and photos of Monday's Kinnick vs. Zama boys basketball game at Atsugi, click here.
Opportunity knocked. And Beaumont simply did what any wrestler presented an opportunity would do – he covered his quarry, pinning Walter in 1 minute, 47 seconds.
Humble and unassuming, Beaumont himself seemed overwhelmed by what he’d done.
“Somewhat of a surprise,” he said. “I guess what happened, happened.”
“He’s a good kid,” coach Justin Edmonds said. “They’re all good kids.”
Granted, the victory occurred during pool-play, and didn’t relegate Walter in any way to a knockout round or diminish his chances at a repeat title in any way.
But Walter wasn’t the only one to rediscover that staying at the top can sometimes be harder than getting to the top.
Brett Hammontree of Osan American scored just as big an eyebrow raiser, a two-period decision over Thomas Cioppa of Kadena in which Hammontree started out slowly, but scored two three-point throws in the second period to finish him off.
It was a great way for Hammontree, a 122-pounder, to return to the Far East circuit; he missed most of last season with a knee injury and was hungry to get back on the mat.
“He’s a good wrestler,” Hammontree said of Cioppa. “He gave it his all; I just gave a little more.”
The lesson to be learned by both the reigning champions and those who would want to bring them down? “You have to bring the same attitude as you did the year before,” Hammontree said.
Those who figured to make deep runs at a first gold medal also found some roadblocks on Monday’s opening day of the 35th Far East High School Wrestling Tournament.
Nile C. Kinnick’s 180-pounder Aaron Stravers, who had gone a pedestrian 1-4 against Mitchell Harrison of Zama American, not only beat Harrison but pinned him for the first time.
“I think I have a chance now, definitely,” Stravers said.
Girls enjoyed their moment in the sun as well. Shaira Espino of reigning island champion Simon Sanchez won a pair of round-robin bouts, but refused to look too far ahead nor pronounce herself a contender for the 101-pound weight title.
“I wouldn’t want to say anything,” said Espino, who won silver at the Guam All-Island meet two months ago. “Each match, I pretend it’s my first match.”
Neophyte programs such as Matthew C. Perry of Japan, which brought just two wrestlers to Far East, also reveled in the spotlight when Connor Hadlock, a 158-pounder, recorded the first bout win in school history by pinning Steve Parotte of Daegu High in 1:19.
“It feels great,” Hadlock said. “Getting here and winning one just now, it’s awesome.”
Four years ago, Craig Bell, a student at Perry, won the 122-pound gold medal, but was technically listed as a member of E.J. King’s team and scored team points for the Cobras. In 2004, Adam Krievs, who divided his senior year between Kinnick and Perry High Schools and wrestled at Far East unattached, won a bronze at 180.