BRIEF: Plateau wrestlers leading Highline

A number of Plateau graduates are continuing their wrestling careers at Highline Community College in Burien, Wash., including former White River High wrestler Justin Purves, who is a returning 2009 National All-American for the Thunderbirds, fellow White River graduate Caleb Padgett, Enumclaw High’s Casey Park and Jason Gray and Sumner High state-runnerup Tyler Wooding.

Earlier in the season, Purves was expected to be challenged for his spot on the roster by two-time state champion, freshman Steven Romero of Sunnyside, but the former Hornet is showing fans why he’s an All-American. Purves picked up a win at 125 pounds and Gray, 149, and Park, 174, pinned their opponents, in Highline’s opener Nov. 6, a 27-16 win over Cerritoes Community College.

At the Mike Clock Open in Forest Grove, Ore., Nov. 8, Purves suffered an early loss but battled back to place third and is currently ranked No. 4 nationally by Intermat.

Gray, one of the top recruits in Washington last year and a two-time state champion for EHS, earned the 149-pound title in Forest Grove, knocking off an NCAA Division I wrestler from Oregon State and two-time California state champion Scott Sakaguchi.

Gray also won a 2-1 decision in the Thunderbirds’ Nov. 6 loss to North Idaho.

Park has been performing well and one of the hardest workers on the mat, coach Scott Norton said.

Helping out with the program is EHS alumnus Ty Watterson, a high school champion for the Hornets and a NCAA Division 1 all-American for Oregon State University.

The Thunderbirds’ next home match is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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