Highline Men's Wrestling 2008-09 Season
The regular season is over and everyone is now 0-0. In order for a wrestler to advance to the National tournament, they must place in the top 3, or be awarded a wildcard.
At 125, Justin Purves should be the #1 seed; however, he has lost a tight match to a wrestler from Southwestern Oregon. Purves is 15-6.
Aaron Smith (133) will look to prove why he is the #2 wrestler in the nation. I expect him to be seeded first. He will most likely face 3rd ranked Lester Brown from North Idaho for a third time at some point in the tournament. Smith is 19-6 and undefeated among Junior College competition.
Zach Burnett will compete in his second tournament at 157. Burnett has been at 165 all season, and should compete well at the Regional’s.
Highline will put Casey Park in at 174. Casey has done a good job most of the year, but he is going to have to step up if he wants his season to continue.
At 184, Caleb Padgett will have to fight his way through a loaded weight class. Most coaches feel this is the toughest weight in our Region. It will be no picnic getting through to nationals, but Caleb certainly has the ability to do it.
Mike Morales (197) will continue his recent winning ways. He’s been in the semis the last two tournaments, and he was a Region runner-up last season. He is wrestling really well right now.
Hwt. David Lopez has found himself in the semis the last two tournaments. He is an imposing figure with a lot of athleticism. Once he can execute his moves in matches he will do very well.
Drew Anderson will compete at 141, while Spencer Fisher will compete at 149, Colt Amborn will round out the team at 165. The Regional tournament will begin on Feb. 14. All questions will be answered then.
San Francisco State Championships Jan. 31,
The Thunderbirds finished the regular season with there toughest tournament yet. Highline has been getting a lot of early momentum in their lower weights in Justin Purves (125) and Aaron Smith (133). The two have amassed 33 wins between the two.
Purves opened the meet in control over Luis Mercado (Lassen C.C.)with an early takedown. Purves then had a double-arm bar and began to turn Mercado, when all of the sudden Mercado hit an explosive bridge and came out on top and caught Justin on his back for the fall.
Bad luck struck again when Purves was not awarded a takedown against Piere Bondas (San Francisco State). The referee also missed a figure 4 hold which was also a penalty point for Purves. The referee immediately apologized for the bad calls, but it cost Justin the match. Purves will still most likely be the #1 seed in the Region 18 Championships Feb. 14. He has only lost to 1 junior college opponent.
Aaron Smith (133), and ranked 2nd in the nation, lost his first match to Justin Durham from Cal-State Bakersfield, which is a Division 1 program. He then went on to real off 4 straight victories. Smith caught the attention of Sammy Hensen who was second in the World Championships, and was one of the top U.S. lightweights. Hensen was extremely excited about Smith, in the hopes of possibly bringing him to Cal Poly where he now coaches. “Smith is explosive, has excellent technique, and puts a lot of pressure on his opponents,” said Hensen. Smith was among the final 6, before he was beaten by Boise State’s Josh Strong. Aaron is undefeated in Junior College competition, and will be the #1 seed in the Regional Tournament.
Zach Burnett just recently made the cut to 157, and did a good job coming away with 2 wins for the first time being down at that weight.
Caleb Padgett (184) won 3 matches, and lost the final one in overtime. He still has some adjustments to make before the Region Tournamment.
For the second time in two tournaments, Highline finished strong putting Mike Morales (197) and David Lopez (HWT.) in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, it was the second time that Morales had to injury default out of the tournament due to his knee locking up. He has been wrestling extremely well lately. “We pulled him out to protect him for the national tournament,” said Coach Norton. Lopez was defeated in the semis, and then lost his next match to get into 3rd and 4th to Portalnd State’s HWt. David has turned a corner, and we are excited about the way he is wrestling.
The team has really come on as of late, even though they had so many injuries. The Thunderbirds have started tournaments out quickly with their lightweights, and kept momentum in the middle of the line up, all the way through their upper weights. “I feel very good about the way our team is wrestling right now. The goal is to improve each weekend, and peak at the National Tournament. Highline’s next meet will be the Region 18 Championships on Feb. 14 at Coeur De Lane, Idaho.
Clackamas Open Jan. 17, 2009
Highline seems to be a fairly decent tournament team as they put three in the semi-finals in 133 Aaron Smith, 197 Mike Morales, and Hwt. David Lopez. Unfortunately, Smith lost to an Oregon State wrestler, while Mike Morales had to injury default to his Simon Frasier nemesis.
Hwt. David Lopez had a strong showing as he placed 4th. Meanwhile, freshman Aaron Smith beat 3rd ranked Lester Brown for the second time in 3 days.
It has recently been decided that the Thunderbirds will pull freshman Justin Purves out of redshirt to provide some much needed help. Purves will breathe a breath of fresh air to a struggling line up that has been plagued by injuries all season. Highline also found out that #1 ranked Marshall Giovaninni has been granted a medical redshirt, and will return to Highline next season.
North Idaho vs. Highline Jan. 15, 2009
Highline ran into some difficult competition on Thursday as they took on 3rd ranked North Idaho College. Highline exploded right out of the gate at 125, as Justin Purves pinned his North Idaho opponent. Unfortunately, the match was only an exhibition due to Purves taking a redshirt.
Next, freshman Aaron Smith took on third ranked Lester Brown at 133. Brown scored first to open the period, however, the two seemed to trade takedowns over the next 6 minutes. In the end, in a barnburner, Aaron Smith upset Brown with a takedown with 15 seconds left in the match.
Unfortunately, the only points Highline tallied over the rest of the meet was a forfeit at 174. Highline’s next meet will be the Clackamas Open on Jan. 17.
Southwestern Oregon Dual Jan. 10, 2009
After a crazy winter of snow, rain, and wind which forced the Thunderbirds to miss 2 duals and 2 tournaments, Highline finally returned to the mats. Unfortunately, it was without 4 starters. The biggest blow was when #1 ranked Marshall Giovaninni 157 went down with a season ending injury to his shoulder. Giovaninni will pursue a medical redshirt. The second blow came when Derek Driscoll 149 got healthy for 2 meets, only to see his season end with a back injury. Logan Roadman will replace Giovaninni, while Spencer Kalebac will replace Driscoll. The Thunderbirds also lost Jared Sterling 141 due to issues and personal problems. Steven Sanchez 125 will for go the remaining part of the season, and may return next year. “Its been frustrating, but these things can happen,” said coach Norton.
Highline was only able to muster 3 wins against Southwestern Oregon. Fireplug Aaron Smith 133 destroyed his opponent. Mike Morales 197, dominated his opponent and won 6-0. David Lopez HWt. was out in front of his match, before his opponent injury defaulted. Highline’s next match will be Jan. 15 against North Idaho Thursday at 7.
Clackamas vs. Highline Dec. 6, 2008
The Thunderbirds were defeated soundly by Clackamas. “Their team looked very impressive, especially in the upper weights. They simply outwrestled us, period,” said Coach Norton.
Highline forfeited at 125. However, they had Aaron Smith at 133 who worked his way to a solid 15-6 major decision. Highline then forfeited again at 141. Derek Driscoll lost his first match 7-1 to Anthony Wearhaim. Derek has only had 4 practices in the last month and a half. He most certainly isn’t in shape yet. But I still believe he is one of the best wrestlers in the country in his weight.
The misery began at 157, due to Marshall Giovaninni sustaining an injury where Highline was forced to forfeit. It was all Clackamas after that with the exception of 197.
Mike Morales shoved Brett Sanchez around the mat for 7 min., but came up short a takedown.
The key to beating Clackamas is in the lower weights. They appear to be head and shoulders above most of the other teams in the upper weights.
Highline’s next match will be against Southwestern Oregon on Sunday at 12:00.
Highline vs. Pacific December 5, 2008
The Thunderbirds headed to Portland this weekend to take on Division 3 school Pacific University. Unfortunately, they were without the services of Jared Sterling 141 ,due to difficulty making weight, and were forfeiting at 125, due to a wrestler needing to study for a final.
Pacific got on the board first due to Highline’s forfeit at 125. However, Aaron Smith (133) demonstrated a dominating performance over Andy Wolfe posting a 18-5 major decision. Highline then gave up another forfeit at 141.
Highline then opted to bump up there line-up from 149 to 184 to help Derek Driscoll get a match. Driscoll posted a 8-4 decision at 157 over Kody Kramer. Driscoll has had limited time on the mat since his knee injury earlier this season.
Things got a little interesting as Marshall Giovaninni moved up to 165. After Marshall’s initial take-down, the referee stopped the match and said he had 1:30 seconds to shave. It was quite a spectacle to see Coach Norton and Luvaas both trying to shave Marshall’s face at the edge of the mat. Once action resumed, Marshall defeated Nathan Shay 10-6.
At 174, Zach Burnett posted 15-0 drumming of Lane Wiltshire. Casey Park followed that win up with a 10-1 decision over Micah Olivera at 184. Mike Morales added a 7-3 decision over Jordan Branson, and David Lopez collected a forfeit.
Overall, the meet went well. Highline lost no matches and sported 7 perfect wins. “The team wrestled well, however, it was clear that a 4 hour drive left several wrestlers very lethargic. That being said, I was pleased with their performance.”
Highline vs. Yakima Dec. 2, 2008
The Highline wrestling team has really struggled with several injuries to key wrestlers, which has made dual meets very difficult to win, and this meet was no different with 3 starters out.
At 125, it was a double forfeit with neither team weighing in a 125 pounder. The Thunderbirds got off to a very rocky start at 133, with Aaron Smith leading Gustavo Lopez with 20 seconds left, when he was caught on his back and pinned.
Jared Sterling got Highline on the board with a major decision over Phillip Ontiveros 18-7 at 141. Highline then forfeited at 149, where Derek Driscoll resides. Derek will be activated for his first match of the year against Pacific.
At 157, National Runner-Up Marshall Giovaninni posted an effortless victory over Adam Mcnaughten 17-4. This was Giovaninni’s first match since the Michigan State Open. He is currently 8-1, an undefeated amonst Junior College Competition.
At 165, Zach Burnett racked up 6:00 of riding time en-route to a dominant 6-2 decision over Josh Mathis. Burnett was working the whole match on top for the fall. However, the referee was content to let Mathis lay on his belly for 6 minutes without making a move to escape. It really looked like great gut-wrench defense, as Mathis relaxed comfortably in the par-tear position for all 6 minutes. Most referees probably would have disqualified Mathis for stalling.
At 174, Colt Amborn made his first appearance in a Highline singlet, but lost to Sam McNaughten 7-2. Colt did a great job, considering his limited wrestling experience. He is actually a walk on.
Casey Park continued to impress coaches as he jumped up to 184 from his normal 174 wt. class. Park shut down Brock Saxen 6-0. Saxen dropped from 197 to 184. He had beaten Highline’s 197 pounder earlier in the year.
At 197, Mike Morales got back on track after being plagued with the flu for the last 3 weeks. He posted a 14-4 victory over Barry Wise of Yakima. Morales constantly put pressure on Wise as he continuously backed up time after time, after time, after time. Constant pressure and moving forward is what is preached at Highline. We don’t back up, ever!
David Lopez sealed the victory for the Thunderbirds as he beat Dan Escamilla for the 2nd time 8-5.
The key performance of the meet was unquestionably Casey Park. He comes from an outstanding high-school program, Enumclaw, and he appears to be a late bloomer.
Pacific Open 11/16
Freshman Justin Purves at 125 lbs. led all Highline wrestlers, and placed a strong 4th. He won 5 matches en-route to his 4th place finish. Two other wrestlers also won 4 matches, but were eliminated to get into the consolation finals. They were Caleb Padgett (184) lost to the same wrestler twice in Klete Hanson from Simon Frasier. Jared Sterling at (141) also was eliminated to get into 3rd and 4th, but managed to come away with 4 wins. Zach Burnett also did a nice job, coming away with 3 victories as well. Highline will travel to Medford the weekend of Nov. 21&22 for the Best of the West Tournament.
By: Scott Norton Nov. 20, 2008
Auburn Duals: Yakima vs. Highline 11/15
After one week, Highline was without the services of their top 2 wrestlers in 157 lb. Marshall Giovaninni and 149 lb. Derek Driscoll, both were out due to injuries. Yakima received 12 pts in forfeits, but were only able to come away with two wins against Highline. Those came at 125 and 174.
Aaron Smith received a forfeit at 133, while Jared Sterling posted a 15-7 decision over Phillip Ontiveros at 141. Zach Burnett posted a 10-4 decision over Josh Mathis. Caleb Padgett beat Barry wise 10-2.
The turn around really came in the upper weights. Mike Morales was beaten the week before, but posted a 14-2 decision over Brock Saxen at 197. HWT David Lopez then beat Daniel Escamilla 8-6. The final score was 23-20 Highline.
125 – Gustavo Lopez(YVCC) 15-2 over Ryan Apperson (HCC)
133 – Aaron Smith(HCC) forfeit over (YVCC)
141 – Jared Sterling (HCC) 14-10 over Phillip Ontiveros (YVCC)
149 – Ricky Robbins(YVCC) forfeit over (HCC)
157 – Adam McNaghten (YVCC) forfeit over (HCC)
165 – Zach Burnett(HCC) 10-4 over Josh Mathis (YVCC)
174 – Sam McNaghten(YVCC) 11-2 over Casey Park (HCC)
184 - Caleb Padgett (HCC) 10-2 over Barry Wise (YVCC)
197 – Michael Morales(HCC) 14-2 over Brock Saxen (YVCC)
HVY - David Lopez(HCC) 8-6 over Daniel Escamilla (YVCC)
By: Scott Norton Nov. 20, 2008
Auburn Duals: Highline vs. Simon Frasier and Douglas C.C. Nov. 15, 2008
Highline defeated Douglas C.C., but was defeated by SFU. Against SFU, Casey Park at 174, led Highline against SFU with a fall. The thunderbirds also received decisions from Ryan Apparson 125, and Zach Burnett 165. Highline lost tight matches at 133 in Aaron Smith who was reversed with 10 seconds left in the match and lost 10-11. Jared Sterling 141, gave up a near fall in the third period to lose to Isaac Wing 11-9.
By: Scott Norton Nov. 20, 2008
Michigan State Open 11/9
We only brought two of our best wrestlers to this tournament because it is primarily a Division 1 wrestling tournament. It featured half of the Big -10 wrestling conference. The teams featured: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, etc.
Marshall Giovaninni (157) wasted no time establishing that he clearly belongs with that type of competition. He posted 5 wins and lost his opening match to two-time National Qualifier Daryl Corozz who is redshirting this season. It was a tight match, but Marshall lost 5-3. Marshall was amongst the top 6 in the tournament before bowing out with an injured shoulder.
Highline’s other competitor was Mike Morales at 197. Morales won 1 match and gained valuable experience that should pay off at the Nationals in February.
By: Scott Norton Nov. 13, 2008
Highline Stumbles Out of the Gate: Matches against Yakima CC and North Idaho College
Report by Coach Scott Norton Nov. 11, 2008
Highline vs. Yakima
The Thunderbirds began the season traveling to Yakima and North Idaho. Unfortunately, they also knew that they would be giving both opposing teams 12 pts. before any wrestlers stepped out on to the mat.
Earlier in the week, Freshman sensation Derek Driscoll 149, went down with a torn LCL ligament. However, doctors are optimistic that Driscoll will be able to come back after about 4 weeks. The other forfeit would come at 125, where transfer Steven Sanchez resides. The coaches were forced to hold Sanchez out because of a hold up in his transcripts from Dickenson State.
At 125, Highline forfeited, but sent out freshman Justin Purves who will be redshirting this season. He quickly pinned Yakima’s starter J.J. Garza.
Freshman Ryan Apparson then bumped up a weight and quickly pinned Gustavo Lopez at 133. The Thunderbirds had to leave freshman starter Aaron Smith at home because of a mid-term that was scheduled.
Another hiccup came at 141, where freshman Jared Sterling missed weight by four tenths of a pound.
At 157, Marshall Giovaninni had a forfeit.
Zach Burnett out of Lake Stevens then shoved Josh Mathis around the mat and came away with a dominant major decision.
Highline then dropped a decision from Casey Park.
At 184, Caleb Padgett took out his frustration on Sam McNaughton with a non stop take down clinic, and earned a dominant major decision.
After all the forfeits in the lower weights, Highline then began to have some major problems in the upper weights. Sophomore Mike Morales was arm-spun for 5 in the opening minute by Brock Saxen, and then was cradled for near fall several times throughout the opening period. He ended up losing 16-17. Morales needed to establish hand control before trying to stand up, that led to the cradles.
At Heavyweight, big man David Lopez was out in front 4-1 ahead of Daniel Escamilla. Unfortunately, Lopez tried a very low percentage dive roll and was pinned, which also sealed Highline’s fate. The final score was 28-19.
Highline vs. NIC
After 7 hours of driving for the day. Highline assembled to take on perennial powerhouse North Idaho. Redshirt Justin Purves continued his collegiate assault on competition by posting a second fall in two matches. However, Highline was unable to take the points because of Purves taking a redshirt year.
Ryan Apparson then dropped a decision at 133, as did Jared Sterling at 141.
The Thunderbirds then gave away another 6 points with a forfeit in the absence of Derek Driscoll.
In the feature match of the night, Marshall Giovanni lit up Cheshire from NIC 10-4 who was highly touted last season and placed 3rd in the Best of the West Tourney. Marshall was able to scramble out of several shots, as well as add multiple take downs of his own. That was a huge decisive win for Marshall.
At 165, Zach Burnett lost a decision, as did Casey Park at 174.
Caleb Padgett then fell behind early at 184. However, he came storming back, while his opponent opted for an injury time out as did several of the previous NIC wrestlers. At this point, it became abundantly clear that Highline was in far superior condition. Unfortunately, Caleb lost by 1 point, but clearly outwrestled Cameron Jackson.
The most controversial match came at 197. Mike Morales found himself down early, but closed the gap by round 3. Then for the the 5th time another NIC wrestler was asking for an injury time out. When the action resumed the riding time was screwed up as time wound down. The scorers then gave the riding time to the NIC wrestler, when Morales had erased the riding time advantage putting the match in overtime. “As a coach, I’m a firm believer that Morales shouldn’t have kept the match that close because it puts the match in the hands of the officials and sometimes they make mistakes,” said Coach Norton Morales fell in overtime, however, the Highline coaches received an apology for the riding time mistake. Unfortunately, the victory was given to the wrong wrestler.
At heavyweight, David Lopez won a decision over his opponent. North Idaho won the meet, but the score wasn’t a good indicator of how close the meet was. “I was very pleased the way our kids competed. We have a young team, and we didn’t have 3 starters. The national tournament is what we are preparing our wrestlers for, between now and then is really just a stepping stone,” said Coach Norton.
By: Scott Norton Nov. 11, 2008
Marshall Giovaninni has proven his durability last season by winning a season high 30 matches. His lone loss came in the finals when he lost a heartbreaking decision on 4 seconds of riding time. Most wrestlers would be ecstatic to come away with a 2nd Place Finish in the country; however, this was not the case for Giovaninni. He was extremely disappointed.
Since then, Giovaninni has had knee surgery in the spring which kept him off the mat for two months. However, upon being cleared by his doctor, Marshall has been working out all spring and summer. He has been open to suggestions, and fixed his areas of weakness. Next, up for the #1 ranked NJCAA wrestler is the National Title that narrowly eluded him. Giovaninni is back with a vengeance. Coach Norton believes that he will be the National Champion at 157 lbs. in February!
Season Outlook 2008-09
This wrestling season looks extremely promising, especially with the return of
National Runner-Up Marshall Giovaninni who will most likely be the #2 ranked wrestler
in the country behind the returning National Champion. Giovaninni has been working
diligently all summer, and has all the tools to win the nationals in February. However,
he may have some company with new comer Derek Driscoll at 149. Driscoll was a 2 time
State Prep Champion. Derek is extremely aggressive, strong, and a good technician.
Another horse in the stable, will be Mike Morales at 197. He has unparalleled
conditioning, and is developing good technical skills. He narrowly missed becoming an
All-American last season.
At 125 lbs, Highline also has some excellent talent in transfer Steve Sanchez.
Steven has some slick technique and should be a force to reckon with.
Highline will get another boost by freshman Caleb Padgett at 184. Caleb is brother
of former stand-out Brad Padgett, who was the #1 ranked NJCAA wrestler. Caleb is very
talented, and could do some big things at Nationals.
The Thunderbirds are also very solid at 133 lbs. with freshman Aaron Smith,
165 Zach Burnett, and HWt. David Lopez. All three could really surprise some people.
Highline will search for answers at 141 and 174, however, they have what looks l
ike a very solid team. “This is only on paper, we still have some major hurdles to get t
hrough such as: 1)Keeping all the wrestlers healthy; 2)Staying eligible at the break; and
3)having all our wrestlers wrestling to their full potential,” said Coach Scott Norton,
”We have to remember that this team is mostly freshman, and will only start 1 sophomore.”
By: Scott Norton Nov. 4, 2008
Ranked 3rd in the Nation
Brad Padgett is currently ranked #3 in the country for NCAA Division 2 powerhouse
St. Cloud Minnesota. Padgett finished 4th at the Nationals last year. Brad also became a
3 x All-American; Padgett was 5th for Highline, and finished 2nd in his sophomore year.
By: Scott Norton 10/15/08