By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Tess Barnett has already showed that she’s not going out without a fight against the guy’s wrestlers she has faced so far this season.
The 113-pound freshman wrestler found herself down 11-3 to McNary’s Rigo Sanchez-Hernandez during the second period of the match and all of the momentum in favor of Sanchez-Hernandez.
For Barnett, she didn’t knew what the score was on the scoreboard above her read at this time; all she knew she had to keep fighting and find someway to get back into this match and win it.
“I didn’t really knew what the score was but I just wanted to keep fighting for my team to win,” Barnett.
Cue the Rocky music because Barnett slowly began to chip at the deficit entering the third period, and just like Rocky in the movies, the fans began to take notice.
11-5, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 Barnett was finding ways to score. McKay fans were going crazy for their wrestler and by the time Barnett got the score to 11-9, the home-crowd from the West Salem crowd began to cheer for the freshman wrestler.
The basketball gym, laced with the West Salem mats, were as booming as a tight basketball game between West Salem-Sprague or West Salem-McNary as Barnett was one good offensive move away from tying the match if not take the lead if she got a three-point near-fall.
For a moment it seemed, you didn’t realize that it was a girl wrestler versus a guy wrestler, the senses were trained on can the comeback be completed as the match entered it’s twilight late in the third period.
But, Sanchez-Hernandez found one last move to ice the win for him, and when the match was over the score was 13-9.
There was a brief moment where they shook hands after the match as Barnett walked back to her bench after shaking hands with the Celtics coach’s hand where she was met by fellow girl wrestler Norely Lara and the rest of her guy’s teammates following the match.
“It made me happy that I knew I could fight back because I’m a girl and I get intidmated by these guys,” said Barnett. “I don’t know what goes through my mind, I just go and fight as hard as I can to win.”
Her Head Coach Troy Thomas was proud of how his freshman wrestler battled back through adversity to get back into contention for a victory.
“I’m very, very, very proud of Tess and I love the way she went out there and competed,” said Thomas. “She was down on the scoreboard, but that didn’t stop her, she kept fighting all the way until the end.
“Also Tess is a very coach-able wrestler. All the technique that you saw her wrestle tonight was technique we shown and she listens to her coaches and believes in the process and she bought into our program and she’s going to excel at Girls State I believe.”
Barnett received a forfeit victory against West Salem in the next dual meet Wednesday night, an was not the only one who answered the bell Wednesday night as David Rubio bounced back from a tough defeat to McNary’s Brayden Ebbs to start the night.
“Brayden is a tough kid, he placed Top 3 in State I think his sophomore year, he’s a tough, well-rounded kid,” said Rubio on Ebbs. “I knew it was going to be a tough match, didn’t go my way, lost by two points but that drives me to get better because he’s a really tough kid.
“He’s been wrestling his whole life, I’ve been wrestling for three-years and I’m really motivated to get back in it and go for Districts.”
After watching film immediately after the match and working on technique real quick following one of his first matches at 160, the junior rallied back for a pin against the Titans Matt Manus to get back onto the winning track.
Rubio will be honored by the Salem Sports Breakfast Club Friday morning,
“I think it’s pretty cool, bittersweet because of today but I’ll take that because I’ve been working hard all season,” said Rubio. “It’s definitely an example, Andy (Rubio) got it his junior year, I was like, ‘Ah man I want do that too'”
Brother Andy won Districts that year as well. Who knows what will happen this year for the younger Rubio.
Speaking of being motivated, guys like Johnthan ‘Mickey’ Duff, Jayency Esetok and Anthony Alvarez along with others in the line-up continued to step up their game with Districts just two weeks away.
For Alvarez, who’s been wrestling 285 though he’ll be at 220 come Districts where he finished sixth at last year, points to wrestling up all year as something that’ll help him down the line.
“It helps me a lot being matched up with big kids and work on my own moves and push it down to 220 to see how it all works there,” said Alvarez.
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!
Photos By Jeremy McDonald