Wrestling team grapples with turnover

By Colin Phan - Staff Reporter

The wrestling team's starting line-up will feature many new faces as the team hopes for a championship next season.

Last season, the team finished 18th nationally with two all-Americans and a national finalist. However, those wrestlers will not be returning to Highline next season, along with a bevy of others.

Head Coach Scott Norton said we will be disappointed to see them leave, as the team's heart and soul will be moving on.

"I think there are three that we will lose and will be missed quite a bit," Norton said. "The first is Andrew Ramirez who was a national runner-up at 141 pounds.  It's tough to replace a kid who was second in the nation.  The next is Josh Wessels who was a national qualifier at 197 lbs.  The last is Cole Morrison.  Cole would be in practice 365 days a year if he we had practice every day."

Norton said he relishes the opportunity to retool the roster from the ground up.

"We don't have a lot of guys returning." Norton said. "I have to rebuild the entire team. We start nine freshman."

Despite the major overturn the team faces, Norton still said he expects good things from returning wrestlers – namely Miguel Morales.

"We do have a returning all-American at heavyweight in Miguel Morales," Norton said. "He has a ton of talent.  I'm expecting big things from him."

In addition to returning wrestlers, Norton said he expects to also see some contributions from this season's recruiting class. Atop of the list of hefty recruits for this season are San Francisco State's Mitchell Owen (184), and Clackamas' Austin Lister (133)who was a state champ.

Both will transfer to Highline respectively, with Lister being an in-division transfer.

"Almost all of these kids can make an immediate impact," Norton said. "Mitchell [Owens] will be a great addition."

With the new additions to the roster, and the expectations Norton has for the returning players, he said that he hopes the team can pin down a championship next season.

"The goal is to attain as many all-Americans as possible next year," Norton said. "Hopefully we can win nationals next year."

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An alert Highline staff member and local public safety officers helped stop a potential suicide on campus last week. While a staff member was working, he noticed a suspicious male wandering the East Lot around 6:25 a.m. May 25. The staff worker called Highline Public Safety who responded to find the individual running around with a rope in his hands, looking for a place to possibly hang himself. This prompted Public Safety to contact Des Moines Police and South King County Fire and Rescue. By the time first responders came to the scene, the distraught man climbed into a tree near Building 99, ready to use the rope on himself. First responders talked to the man, successfully convincing him to come down from the tree. After the turmoil settled the individual was transported to a nearby hospital for an evaluation. Sgt. George Curtis of Public Safety said this was the first time he has encountered someone attempting to endanger their own life on campus.

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