T-Bird prepares to take down a title

By Konner Hancock - Staff Reporter

A T-Bird All-American and 133-pound state champ will make a run at the National Junior College Athletic Association's Regional and National tournaments with the Highline men's wrestling team.

Sophomore Andrew Ramirez has been wrestling since the age of 5.

 "I started wrestling because of my dad, William Ramirez. He took me to a club team, the Puyallup Falcons, then switched [its name] quickly to Reality Sports. I stayed with them until college," Ramirez said. 

"My favorite part as a kid was having something to do with my dad and staying up all night learning new moves," Ramirez said. "As I got older it changed to meeting new people and seeing how far I can push myself."

During his freshman year at Highline, Ramirez almost didn't wrestle at all for the T-Birds. "Coach [Scott] Norton and [Bradley] Luvaas were constantly hounding my parents and me that I had to wrestle for them. I didn't even sign up for my own classes. My mom coordinated with the coaches and directors then handed me a schedule the day before school started," he said.

 "I'm glad they did this or it would have been one of my biggest regrets. I love my team and coaches, I can't and don't want to imagine of what my life would have been if my parents have never handed me a schedule," Ramirez said.

He's now in the final month of his wrestling career at Highline. With the regional and national tournament, that's all that's left to finish this season.

He is one of the top wrestlers in the NJCAA 141-pound weight class. Though ranked No. 3 by the NJCAA, "I believe I can win both the [regional and national tournament]," Ramirez said.

Most of the year Ramirez has been wrestling at the 133-weight class.

 But the team and coaches are still not sure if he will wrestle at 141 or 133 for the regional and national tournaments.  

Highline started the year ranked at the No. 8 spot, but now the squad is currently ranked at No. 19 in the NJCAA. 

However "we can place top 10," said Ramirez. 

"I love my team. We're are a family and have created some of the best memories. Coach Norton and Luvaas are some of the best coaches I've had in my 15 years," he said.

After his time at Highline, Ramirez plans to persu wrestling at other universities, "Maybe even Division 1, if I get a good offer. I'm only young for so long and I would regret it later down the road if I didn't take this opportunity," he said.

The NJCAA Regional Tournament is in Coos Bay, Ore. starting at 10 a.m. on Feb. 12. The NJCAA National Tournament is in Council Bluffs, Iowa starting at 9 a.m. on Feb. 24 and the championship matches will begin at 7 p.m. the next day.

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