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Banks senior Collin Purinton doubles downwith his second career state championship

PORTLAND — Come up with pretty much any superlative you want and that description may well apply to Collin Purinton this winter.

The Banks senior has long been a player on the state level in wrestling, but after dropping down a spot on the state championships podium last year from first place to second, he entered this winter with a bit of unfinished business.Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Banks senior Collin Purinton wrestles against Gladstone's Blake McNall in the 132-pound final at Saturday's Class 4A state tournament.

That business wrapped up brilliantly on Saturday night, when Purinton capped a breezy jaunt through the Class 4A 132-pound bracket with a technical fall victory in the title match. The win, against Blake McNall of Gladstone, allowed Purinton to walk away from the Veterans Memorial Coliseum as a two-time state champion and with his senior season undefeated record firmly intact at 51-0.

“It’s kind of like a dream. I don’t know, it just hasn’t really clicked yet,” Purinton said Saturday while the rest of the state finals matches were playing out, trying to sum up his feelings. “Just exciting, I guess.”

Practically untouchable throughout the two-day tournament, Purinton scored pins against Henley’s Martin Sierra in the first round and Phoenix’s Cedar King in the semifinals, ending the latter match in barely more than a minute. In between, he recorded a technical fall against Cascade freshman Kade VanDeHey.Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Banks senior Collin Purinton wrestles against Gladstone's Blake McNall in the 132-pound final at Saturday's Class 4A state tournament.

After all of that, Purinton dominated McNall too, by the same 25-10 scored as he had VanDeHey, which sent him running into the embrace of his coaches to celebrate when the match ended almost a minute early.

“I knew he was really tough on top and bottom, so I really wanted just to work on my feet,” Purinton said. “That’s really where we’ve been working a lot this year ... so I felt pretty confident on my feet. He’s really tough top and bottom, so I didn’t want to stick around there too much.”

Purinton said the possibility of an undefeated season didn’t really cross his mind until the Braves went to a competition in Idaho in early January. There, he wrestled an opponent who had accomplished the feat, sparking the question of whether or not he could do so as well.

In the end he did, and while he may have made this season look easy, it came as a result of testing, trials and work.

“It just shows that I guess anything’s possible,” he said. “I’ve had to overcome a couple obstacles. Like my freshman year, I was only 90 pounds, and so it was kind of hard then. And then sophomore year I broke my hand and was out for most of the season. It felt like obstacles after obstacles for a while, but just keep pushing through, and it came out in the end.”

The obstacles didn’t end after that broken right hand healed and Purinton rebounded to win the 106-pound title two years ago. Last year, he had a shot at consecutive state titles but lost to Trayton Libolt of Crook County — the same opponent he had beaten in the 2013 state final — in the 113 championship match. Getting second last year “definitely” made coming back for another championship sweeter, he said.

Forged by fire, Purinton has once again staked his claim among the state’s best.

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