Robert Watkins signs to wrestle at Umpqua Community College

Scott Swanson

Robert Watkins signed a letter of intent Wednesday, April 17, to wrestle for Umpqua Community College.

Watkins, who placed fourth at the state high school championships this year, said he decided to pick UCC because he had connections there.

“I had a couple of opportunities that came up,” he said. “It was a goal of mine to wrestle in college.”

He said he’s known UCC Coach Kyle Temple, himself a Sweet Home wrestling alum, “for quite a while” and noted that he’s following in the footsteps of former Husky Kobe Olson, who is a sophomore at UCC.

He said he plans to study criminal justice “to become a cop.”

He will probably wrestle at 133 pounds in college, he said. He wrestled at 126 pounds at state this year.

Coach Steve Thorpe pointed out in his remarks to the crowd in the high school library for the signing ceremony that Watkins has overcome obstacles to reach this point, particularly during his junior year, which was marred by injury.

“He had a disappointing season, but he came off that to place fourth in folkstyle, fourth in freestyle and third in Greco. That was a good finish to his senior year.”

He said he thought UCC will be “a good fit” for Watkins.

“What’s nice about Robert going to UCC is the familiarity of the program.”

He said Watkins has made the effort necessary to get college coaches’ attention.

“He’s one of those I can say I have traveled all over the place with,” Thorpe said. “He’s taken advantage of freestyle and Greco. He’s done preseason wrestling and he’s gone to wrestling camps. He wanted to make himself better.”

He said the goal now is for Watkins to “do something” at UCC.

“I’m very excited for hm, proud of what he’s accomplished and what he’s going to accomplish. He has a little sister and a little brother he’s been an example for. He’s paved the way for them.”