Banks sophomore Colin Purinton shakes off an injury to capture a state wrestling championship

Winning a state title is always an impressive accomplishment.

The backstory to Banks sophomore Colin Purinton’s Class 4A state wrestling championship at 106 pounds makes his even more special.

A broken hand forced Purinton to miss two months of the wrestling season. When he finally returned to the mat for the Cowapa League district tournament, he lost to a wrestler whom he had defeated on two occasions earlier in the season.

Still, Purinton managed to qualify for February’s state tournament in Portland, and once he was there, he was unstoppable.

After defeating South Umpqua’s Derrick Hargraves by technical fall in the first round, Purinton proceeded to knock off the top three seeds in the bracket to win his title. He cruised past second-seeded Tyler Schilling of Sweet Home 15-2 in the quarterfinals before scoring a technical fall 53 seconds into his semifinal match against South Umpqua’s Chris Bowers, the No. 3 seed.

Continuing to demonstrate his flair for the dramatic, in the championship final, Puriton spotted top-seeded Trayton Libolt of Crook County a 5-2 lead through two periods before storming back in the final stanza to take a 6-5 victory. With 38 seconds remaining, he scored a reversal on Libolt for two points, and then he got two more points on a nearfall with 15 seconds left to cap the improbable comeback.

“We always preach, ‘Wrestle for six minutes,’ and Colin did just that. He never quit,” Banks wrestling coach Dan Herb said. “There was a lot of emotion going through him afterward. Colin is probably the hardest working kid on the team. He’s earned it.”

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