By Jeremy McDonald
SPRINGFIELD, Ore.– “She’s fighting, she’s going to take this away from you. She wants to take this opportunity away from you, you won’t let her. Be stingy!”
Those words echoed in Tess Barnett’s mind from 2016 District Champion and State Qualifier Andy Rubio who was ringside coaching along with 2017 District Placer and State Qualifier Chava Camargo as she found herself down 2-0 to Vernonia’s Ashley Jackson.
Barnett was fighting for third-place in the Women’s State Qualifier at Thurston High School, a win will guarantee a place in the State Tournament three weeks from now in Portland. A loss, would most likely be an uneventful qualifying for State as a rule would hand-over fourth-place to Barnett for having already faced Silverton’s Madison Shockley a match before in the consolation bracket.
“I kept saying that in my mind, that I deserved that spot and that’s mine, because I worked hard for it,” said Barnett on repeating what Coach Rubio said to her.
Barnett roared back, tying the score at four entering the second period before getting the referee to hand the freshman a three near-fall as Jackson fought in trying to mount a comeback herself in the third-place bout entering the third period with Barnett leading 7-4.
The plan was to qualify for State this year and win Districts next year as Barnett brings Jackson down to the ground as she didn’t look back, defeating the Logger wrestler 12-4 to qualify for the State Meet here in three weeks in Portland.
For Barnett, as Camargo came back confirming that she is done for the day, became the first Royal Scot Girl Wrestler to qualify for the State Wrestling tournament. Creating a new banner to be posted on the walls of the upper gym of accolades by the program and joining wrestlers like the two coaching her this faithful Saturday as State qualifiers.
“It feels pretty good yeah,” smiled the shy and quiet Barnett as she walked off the mat embracing her coaches and teammate Norely Lara as they made the trek around the mats back to the stands. “I can’t believe it, it’s crazy to think. It’s awesome.”
Camargo and Rubio, both first-year coaches who helped guide Barnett and Lara during the two-day event, were excited to have witnessed history.
“It’s pretty amazing to come out here and coach Tess and Norely,” “Norely did really good, but Tess did really good also. So for her to be going to State as a woman for McKay, it’s phoenomal. Espically for her being a freshman too, it’s pretty crazy.”
Rubio, who saw his name join the list of Royal Scots District Winners earlier this season, was vocal about seeing a new banner go up the moment that it became official. Knowing that Barnett just laid the foundation of Girl Wrestlers at McKay and is a part of the growth of the sport of Girls Wrestling in Oregon.
“It shows that girl wrestling is growing every year, which is good,” starts Rubio. “And (Barnett) is right on top of there. I told her before this…she got upset because she didn’t make it to the finals, but right now, our goal is to make it to State. Next year, we’ll train and build on to be like a District Champion, a State Champion,”
“Didn’t I tell you that?” Rubio turned and looked at Barnett.
“Yes,” Barnett said blush-fully.
Other Greater Valley Conference Notables include Nicolette Parra (135), who’s also going to State after finishing second in her weight class after losing a tough match to Central Linn’s and a National Wrestling Champion in Sarah Conner. Ariel Buik went 0-2 on the day, losing by fall to Barnett and losing a tight decision to Shayla McNully 7-3.