Ridgefield High School wrestling names tournament in honor of Wyatt Draper

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:

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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