It was a seven-hour wait that would either spell the end of South Whidbey wrestler Chase Barthlett’s career or provide another glimmer of hope to be one of the top wrestlers in the state at 285 pounds.
Barthlett, only a second-year wrestler, was pinned by Port Townsend’s Jacob Massie in the first round of the class 1A state wrestling championships at around noon on Friday, Feb. 17 at the Tacoma Dome. His next match wouldn’t come until around 7 p.m., where he would face Castle Rock’s Wesley Hall in an elimination match.
Like many wrestlers before him, the possibility of losing and his career ending were present in his thoughts.
“I was nervous out of my mind,” Barthlett said.
But, he had set out to win at least one match at the state tournament. When Barthlett pinned Hall 36 seconds into the second period, Barthlett accomplished just that. He would go on to be pinned by eventual fourth-place finisher Sawyer Hughes of Colville in the blood round — where a win means a wrestler guarantees a top eight placing — but left the Tacoma Dome satisfied. Barthlett ended his career a two-time state qualifier and a winner of one match at the state tournament.
“Of course it sucks knowing that I didn’t place,” Barthlett said. “But, overall I’m still really proud of myself.”
Barthlett’s teammate, senior 138-pounder Hunter Newman, left with a different taste in his mouth. Wrestling with a broken hand, Newman lost 6-1 to the eventual runner-up, Brent Hodgson of Deer Park, in the first round. In his elimination match against Royal’s Regan Callahan, Newman led 3-1 with a minute remaining in the third period. Callahan escaped, earning one point, then took Newman down near the edge of the mat with under 10 seconds left in the match.
Newman lost 4-3.
“Heartbroken,” said Falcon head coach Jim Thompson of Newman’s reaction to the loss.
Thompson said Newman had an opportunity earlier in the match to cushion his 3-1 lead when he took Callahan down near the edge of the mat. But, the referee did not agree that it was a takedown. Thompson said the two points that never were would prove costly for Newman. Thompson said that while he didn’t agree with the referee’s decision, Newman would have been better off not letting his fate be decided on just two points.
“Don’t let it go into the referee’s hands,” Thompson said.
Newman qualified for the state tournament three out of his four years wrestling for the Falcons. Newman broke his right hand during a dual match on Jan. 11 and wrestled through the tail end of the season in pain. Thompson admired Newman for his toughness, as he just as easily could have thrown in the towel.
“It was great to see him gut it through,” Thompson said. “We have football players who sit on the sidelines who had nicks and bruises. This kid wrestled the state tournament with a broken hand. Obviously it hurt.”
Thompson, who has retired from head coach of the program after 13 years at the helm, is confident that had Newman not been injured, he would have had a strong chance at placing in the top four.
Thompson said it was also rare for Barthlett, as just a second-year wrestler, to qualify for one state championship, let alone two.
“It’s pretty cool that he went to state both years,” Thompson said. “It’s too bad we didn’t have him before ninth and tenth grade because who knows how good he could have been.”
“I’m very sad that they’re seniors. It’s bittersweet going to state with seniors because you know they’re going to be gone,” he added.