A 5-year-old who inspired a region will be honored in a sport the family loves
The Ridgefield Spudders have changed their first-week-of-the-year wrestling event to the Wyatt Draper Memorial Wrestling Tournament.
Wyatt inspired a community and a region prior to his death last March. Diagnosed with brain cancer, he passed at the age of 5.
The Draper family has been a huge part of Ridgefield athletics, particularly wrestling, for years.
“As tight-knit as the wrestling community is, it only felt right to pay honor to him and the family,” said Sean Schulz, an assistant coach at Ridgefield who is running the tournament.
“Very few years in the 20 years I’ve been coaching has there not been a Draper somewhere, somehow, involved in the sport,” Schulz said.
A cousin, Dylan, wrestled for Ridgefield last year before graduating.
Wyatt was around wrestling mats his whole life, Schulz said.
In all, 12 teams from the Northwest are expected to compete Saturday, including seven from Clark County: Ridgefield, Hockinson, Fort Vancouver, Battle Ground, Evergreen, Skyview, and Prairie.
The wrestling starts at 10 a.m., but a presentation by Wyatt’s dad, Tyler Draper, will begin at 9:45 a.m. Schulz said Tyler will say a few words about Wyatt and talk about a fundraiser for a family in Camas who has a child diagnosed with the same form of cancer: Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). Donations made at the tournament will go to that family in Camas.
The Draper family will also be there at the end of Saturday’s tournament to present the medals to the winning wrestlers.
For a look at Wyatt inspiring kindness, here is a link to a story and video from 2018: