Ready for Action
Men’s Wrestling: NJCAA National Tournament
February 23-24, 2018 Council Bluffs, Iowa
Report from- Head Coach Scott Norton
The good news is we came away with 2 All-Americans: Emmanuel Daigbe 197 and Liam Corbett 157. In addition, our team won the National Academic Championship with a 3.34 overall grade point average based on our 10 starters and 2 extra wrestlers. This is the 4th time. It’s important because we encourage our kids to do well in school so they can transfer to a four-year college.Emmanuel Daigbe lost 8-6. It was heartbreaking loss because Emmanuel was given a stalling call which awarded Tyree Sutton an extra point. It was a barn burner. Tyree Sutton was a high school national champ two years ago. Really it was a battle of two of the best athletes in the tournament. It’s tough when you lose a close match like that. Emmanuel probably should have been on the other side of the bracket because no kid has challenged Tyree all year.
Emmanuel did come back and finish fourth but should have finished 3rd. He lost a point for locking hands, and that was the difference in the match.
Liam Corbett did a great job. He lost to a returning All-American from Ellsworth in the quarters. Liam then pinned his opponent from Thaddeus Stevens to earn All-American Honors. Liam ended up losing to Isaiah Diggs, but secured a victory over his fellow Hawaiian friend Thomas Stevenson from North Idaho.
On the other side of the coin, we had Austin Lister at 133 win his first match. But he injured his shoulder, and it changed the way he wrestled. Lister was caught in his next match by Baterdene from Mongolia who is a national champ in his homeland. Baterdene finished 2nd. In the wrestle backs, Austin lost to a wrestler from Spartan who went on to become an All-American.
Our 4th competitor was Jacob Mendoza at 125. Mendoza didn’t seem like himself as he lost his first two matches.
It’s a weird tournament and a lot of things can happen. I’m proud of what our guys accomplished this year.
On the mat, the Highline College Wrestling Team is very good. In the classroom, it is a juggernaut. The team, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.34, based on its 10 starters and two extra wrestlers, won the 2018 NJCAA National Academic Championship, the 4th time the program has won this award in nine years. This is more than any other NJCAA college wrestling program. The coaching staff, led by Head Coach Scott Norton and lead assistant coach Brad Luvaas, focus on academics so their student-athletes can successfully transfer and continue their athletic and educational pursuits at a four-year college or university.
Highline All-Americans Emmanuel Diagbe and Liam Corbett
The Highline Wrestling Team at the 2018 NJCAA National Championships
West Region Championships
February 11, 2018 Clackamas, OR
Report from Head Coach Scott Norton
We had the national qualifier this past weekend. Highline was led by Austin Lister at 133.
He was the only champion that we had. Lister was also joined by 3 other Highline wrestlers in the finals. We had Jacob Mendoza in at 125, Liam Corbett 157, and 197 Emmanuel Daigbe. We also had Tucker Wooding, Adrian Avena, and Ben Gore finish 3rd. Patrick Wheeler 165, Mitchell Owens 184, and Mario Luevano Hwt. placed 4th. Overall, our team placed 3rd behind North Idaho and Clackamas.
At 133, Austin Lister pinned Nick Hara of North Idaho in the semi-finals and then beat Christian Balagso of SWOOC in the finals. Austin will go into the National tournament without a loss to a junior college wrestler. We are excited to see how he finishes at the Nationals.
At 125, Jacob Mendoza received a medical forfeit from #3 Devaugh Sapien of Clackamas who Jacob had beat earlier. He then struggled a bit against #6 Esco Walker of NIC in the finals who he is yet to beat. Jacob didn’t follow the game plan and we got beat. I’m confident that we will make some adjustments over the next week and have him ready to go.
We had Liam Corbett knock of Thomas Stevenson from North Idaho at 157, who has been ranked #6 most of the year. He used some good riding to keep him down. Liam has really been coming on as of late. He is in a good place and training hard. Unfortunately, Liam lost to Isaiah Diggs in the finals.
Emmanuel Daigbe pinned North Idaho’s Christian Glover in the semi-finals. He then took on #3 ranked Gage Harrah of Clackamas in the finals. Daigbe slapped on an odd cradle and turned him. Ironically, Emmanuel was reversed and caught on his back. All of this happened in about 30 seconds. We need to make some adjustments to have Emmanuel ready for nationals.
Tucker Wooding did a good job for us at 141. He lost to the Clackamas kid in the championship side of the bracket, but came back to finish 3rd over the SWOOC opponent. Adrian Avena was pinned by Josiah Williams at 149, but came back with a pin of his own to finish 3rd. Ben Gore also finished 3rd at 174.
Overall, I think our guys wrestled pretty well. I would have liked to have seen more of our guys get into the finals because the tournament is set up to where the top 2 placers go. After that the coaches vote on the top 8 wild cards. I left this weekend puzzled. Our team has the smallest budget of all 4 teams, and we didn’t receive 1 of the 8 Wild Cards which seems completely ridiculous. The wildcards were given as follows:
125 3rd Francisco Barrera (Southwestern Oregon CC)
125 4th Devaughn Sapien (Clackamas CC)
157 3rd Cade Hite (Southwestern Oregon CC)
157 4th Thomas Stevenson (North Idaho College)
165 3rd Austin Howard (Southwestern Oregon CC)
184 3rd Nick Maximov (Clackamas CC)
197 Christian Glover (North Idaho College)
Hwt. JJ Perez (Southwestern Oregon CC)
The only thing left is the national tournament. The guys we are taking are capable of going deep into the tournament. It should be fun watching our wrestlers put the finishing touches on a good season.
Photos by Case Wagemans
The Open Mat just published an interview with Wrestling Head Coach Scott Norton, highlighting the Highline College Wrestling Program and his success in developing one of the top programs in the Pacific Northwest.
Read the interview here.
From the interview:
Your program won back to back Academic National Championships in 2014 and 2015 becoming the first program to accomplish that feat. How much of a sense of pride does that bring to you?
“I think it’s a pretty big deal. It shows that our college and program have a tremendous commitment towards education. We have actually canceled meets and pulled out of tournaments because we didn’t feel our team was where they were supposed to be academically. I am an educator myself. I have taught 5th grade since 2000 and the entire time I have been coaching at Highline. Technically, I have pretty much had two full-time jobs for 15 years. I’m sure my academic expectations have rubbed off on our teams. We also communicate to our team the importance of going to class daily and doing well in school. I am very proud of what our team has achieved academically.” Scott Norton
Dr. Coyte Cooper, an entrepreneur, author, former university professor, and NCAA All-American wrestler who competed under Scott Norton, has given a TEDx talk entitled Perspective Sparks Potential (link). In the video, Dr. Cooper encourages people to actively seek out the lesson in the adversity that they experience. Once we learn to shift our perspective, what we once thought of as a negative situation is actually a gift that propels life to an extraordinary level.
Highline College Wrestling Boosters
John Aiken – Former Auburn Head Coach
Brian Alphi – Edmonds Woodway Head Coach
Douglas Burnham – Tahoma High Assistant
Chris Chambers – Spanaway Lake Head Coach
Ricky Christian – 3 x Tahoma State Champ
Jody Coleman – Orting High Head Coach
Lou Ann Crook
Taylor and Nathan Curry
Chris Feist – Tahoma High Head Coach
Dave Gilbertson – Referee and Washington Wrestling Promoter
Steve Hadsel – Former Highline Assistant
Matt Iwicki – UW Wrestler
Brad Luvaas – Highline Assistant Coach
Elias Mason – Highline All-American
Rory McDonald – Hazen High Head Coach
Kevin McNulty – Head Coach ILWACO High
Taylor Meeks – Current Oregon State Assistant
Phred and Laurie Morin
Derek Norton – Former Highline Wrestler
Scott Norton – Highline Head Coach
Richard Rockwell – Head Coach in Oregon
Sonnen Family – Tri-Pak
Tahoma Junior Bears
Kirk White – Former Boise St. Assistant/Highline Assistant