Collin Purinton and Travis Thompson are named the tourney's outstanding wrestlers

Banks sent two wrestlers to the top of the podium last Friday at the Cowapa League championships, setting the stage for this weekend’s Class 4A Special District 1 regional tournament.

Collin Purinton captured a league championship at 120 pounds and Travis Thompson added a 160-pound title to highlight the Braves’ performances on Friday, and those two were also selected as the outstanding wrestlers of the meet.

“You don’t see two wrestlers from the same team do that very often,” Banks coach Dan Herb said of sweeping the meet’s highest individual honors. “It’s nice for those guys. It’s sort of a recognition of the entire year, not just this one meet.”

Wrestling up a weight class to face better competition, Purinton was his usual dominant self. The junior improved his record to 30-1 this season with a semifinal victory over Yamhill-Carlton’s Orrin Ouska, followed by a 5-2 decision in the finals against Justin Coon of Tillamook.

“Collin will wrestle 113 (pounds) for regionals and state, but we wanted him to wrestle some better competition at the district meet,” Herb said. “(Coon) is tough and it was a good match, but Collin controlled pretty much every aspect of the match from my point of view.”

Thompson was equally dominant at 160, running his season record to 29-2 by pinning Clayton Dietz of Scappoose in the semifinals, then winning a 3-1 decision over Scappoose’s Ben Gadbois in the finals.

“Travis wrestled a decent match in the finals,” Herb said. “Even though it wound up being a close decision, I felt like he was in control from start to finish.”

Banks also had three runners-up at the district meet.

Freshman Trevor Thiessen took second place at 126 pounds, beating Zak Fletcher of Tillamook and Justin Hering of Scappoose in the first two rounds, but losing a major decision to Scappoose’s Tyler Walden in the finals.

Junior Clay Kemper finished second at 172, pinning Eli Pesterfield of Tillamook in the semifinals before dropping a 7-0 decision to Johnathan Tardiff of Scappoose in the finals.

Sophomore James Cook was the runner-up in the heavyweight division, pinning Colton Wheeler of Scappoose in the semifinals before falling to Astoria’s Manny Nelson in the finals.

Banks scored 223½ points to finish third as a team, coming in behind Tillamook (352) and Scappoose (350).

The district meet has no bearing on this weekend’s SD1 regional tournament, which will be held at Gladstone High School and will feature teams from both the Cowapa and Tri-Valley leagues.

Each team will be allowed two entries at each weight class, with the top four finishers advancing to the Class 4A state tournament, which begins Feb. 28 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

“It’s go time now,” Herb said. “This is the important one for them. One little slip-up can cost you a chance to wrestle at state.

“For the most part we’ve seen all these teams already this season, but you never know what can happen.”

Purinton and Thompson will be heavy favorites to not only advance to state, but to capture regional championships this weekend. Herb said that Thiessen, Kemper and Cook will also be hunting for state tournament berths, as well as a few other wrestlers in the upper weight classes.

The regional tournament begins with the first two rounds starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, and will resume with quarterfinals at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Championship finals are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

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