FRUITLAND — The last of the Eckhart boys is headed to compete in college, as Corey Eckhart signed his letter of intent to join the wrestling team at Eastern Oregon University on Wednesday afternoon.

In four years of varsity wrestling, Eckhart was a four-time state placer. In 2019, he lifted the 3A state championship at 145 pounds. According to Fruitland wrestling coach Isaac Mackenzie, Eckhart didn’t miss a wrestling practice in all four years.

Eckhart said he was sold on Eastern Oregon after a campus trip over Christmas break.

“It’s really close to home,” Eckhart said. “If there’s a long weekend, I can come back and see my family.”

Eckhart said it’s exciting to continue his wrestling career, also considering his family’s history in the sport. Both Eckhart’s dad, Sam, and brother, Sammy, were state champion wrestlers who competed in college. Sammy Eckhart was Fruitland High School’s first four-time state champion.

“Maybe I didn’t win as much as them, but it feels really good to keep wrestling,” Eckhart said. “And college is going to be a whole new level.”

Eastern Oregon is also one of the schools that Sammy Eckhart is looking at to finish his education and wrestling career. Eckhart has spent the last two years wrestling at Northeastern Junior College.

Corey Eckhart said it would be special to get to be on the same team with his brother again.

“It would be nice to get another two years with Sammy, we’ve been wrestling together since we were yea tall,” Eckhart said as he put his hand to about knee height.

Eckhart said he wants to study wildlife biology.

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Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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