John Barrette and Brendan Casey wanted to wrestle each other one more time in the Tacoma Dome.
After Casey pinned Mount Baker’s Levi Wigg in the opening round, and Barrette beat Joel Trujillo of Burlington Edison 13-2, the two Washougal High School seniors were just a victory away from facing each other in the semifinals. If that happened, it guaranteed at least one of them would be wrestling for a state championship Saturday night and the other would still be going home with a medal.
But as the Panthers found out the hard way this past weekend, state is a different animal. Both Barrette and Casey got caught on their backs in the quarterfinals, but they refused to quit when they dropped into the consolation bracket. Casey pinned North Mason’s Andy Hicks in one minute, 40 seconds, and Barrette pinned Brennan Gulin of White River in 1:41.
This set up a showdown between Barrette and Casey Saturday morning, but it did not happen. A skin infection prevented Barrette from being cleared to wrestle. Although he had to forfeit his last two matches, Barrette still finished with his eighth-place medal intact.
“I’m glad I got up here,” he said. “I just wish it was higher than eighth.”
Casey rallied back a couple of times in his medal match, but Caden Pugmire of White River prevailed 11-7. Casey settled for sixth place.
“Out of all the 160-pounders in the state, I’m in the top-six,” he said. “I didn’t even win a match my first time up here last year. So, to come back this year and make it to the second day is a great accomplishment.”
Michael Huck grabbed a 2-0 lead out of the gate of his 140-pound opening match, but Seth Grable of Deer Park walked away with a 3-2 victory. Huck beat Andrew Symons of Port Angeles 6-2, but he could not win the match that would have guaranteed a medal.
Nerves got the best of Chism King in his first round loss to Steilacoom’s Luke Shell, and he never recovered. LaDawna Jurgens pinned Karistiona Carlile in 4:42 for her only win in the 152-pound girls bracket. An injury in the 285-pound bracket gave Trevor Johnson an opportunity to wrestle at state, but he lost to eventual two-time state champion Shawn Burton of Deer Park in the first round.