T-Birds claim first dual victory

By Konner Hancock - Staff Reporter

The Highline men's wrestling team's trip to the Spokane Open was ended a bit early.

The team competed in Spokane last Sunday to wrestle against 16 others squads from colleges in Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

"Highline is currently ranked 17th in the nation as a team.  However, we are definitely not wrestling at that level," said Scott Norton, the Highline men's wrestling head coach.

The tournament started at 9:30 a.m. and was put on by the Spokane Sasquatch, however the tournament wasn't run well, said Norton.

"Some guys would have byes on the brackets which meant they weren't supposed to wrestle, and they would get called to wrestle and would be completely unprepared. It was a frustrating," he said.

The tournament ran until 11:30 p.m. but Highline had to forfeit their spot early in the tournament to make it back home because of their classes the next morning.

Because of the abrupt departure, most of the wrestlers were not able to compete for the top four spots in their weight class.

"Mario Luevano wrestled well at 184, as did Justin Weiding at 174 who made it to the semifinals.  Those were really the guys that surprised me," said Norton.

Although majority of the Highline wrestlers were kept from having the chance to place some of the wrestlers still rank among the top competitors in the nation. Andrew Ramirez ranked No. 4 in the nation at 141, while Miguel Morales is the No. 5 heavyweight.

The squad has had a tough start to the season, starting 0-2 with duals and having yet to place top five in any of their tournaments they have attended.

"I think the problem is I expect our guys to win almost every time they step out there but they don't. That is something they are going to have to work through. I have several starters who are not making the transition from high school to college," said Norton.

The Highline wrestling squad is made up of 65 percent freshman.

"I think our team has a long way to go. I have some guys in the lineup that I expect to win every time but aren't. Thus far I feel our team has wrestled at about 25 percent of what we're capable of doing," he said.

The team's next dual is after Thanksgiving break on Dec. 2 in Clackamas Oregon. against the 1-1 Clackamas Cougars.

Highline and Clackamas match up well and the T-Birds wrestlers aim to be completely healthy before their time on the mat, said Norton.

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