Little brother may be even better.
Last year, Edison’s Brady Barnett finally reached the apex of his high school career, earning his elusive state title in his third try on Saturday’s championship stage. Now, younger brother Casey Barnett is trying to one-up him.
The freshman got a takedown in the first 20 seconds of his Division III 106-pound semifinal match and built a five-point lead after one period en route to a dominating 9-2 victory over Covington freshman Kellan Anderson (46-8). Edison qualified two wrestlers — Sam Stoll at 182 the other — to the championship finals on the second day of the state individual tournament at Ohio State’s Jerome Schottenstein Center.
A win in Saturday’s state finals would give the younger Barnett (58-2) the first-ever state crown by a Charger freshman and tie for a school-record 59 wins in one season to boot. He’ll face undefeated sophomore Lucian Brink (46-0) of Coshocton — a 10-3 winner over Antwerp’s Aidan McAlexander in the other semifinal.
“It’s crazy,” Casey Barnett said. “I watched my brother (Brady Barnett) on that big stage the last three years, and to be able to wrestle out there tomorrow is going to be really cool.”
The older Barnett brother was sixth at state as a freshman prior to finishing twice as a sophomore and junior. He and Evan Cheek — both previous state champions wrestling at Cleveland State now — own the single-season school mark for victories at 59.
“Oh yeah, it felt nice to get a little bit of the nerves out and get that first takedown,” said Barnett, asked if scoring early gave him a momentum boost. “Then I just kept attacking.”
In three state victories, Casey Barnett has outscored his opponents 29-3. He topped Nelsonville-York’s Collin Yinger 4-0 in the morning quarterfinals after 16-1 tech fall win on Thursday.
“Casey has been Casey,” Chargers coach Davey Hermes said. “You look at him, he looks like he’s nothing special, warming up in his pajama pants like he’s half asleep. But he just goes out there and rolls guys up. He’s got a good one tomorrow night. We don’t know much about (Brink) but he’s put himself in position as a freshman to do something really special.”
For Stoll (55-3), a senior, his 4-3 semifinal win over Rootstown’s Chris Langguth was his second straight over the junior who beat him twice in Brecksville in Dec. before Stoll got him at the Div. II duals in Sandusky.
“I just had to wrestle my match and take him where I wanted to go,” Stoll said. “But I kept the pace up early knowing (Langguth) was probably gonna get based and that’s what happened. Only thing I see is that I need to finish up my matches a little stronger, getting a takedown to secure wins in the third period instead of making it close and not putting them away.”
Stoll get a first-period takedown for an early 2-0 cushion. It was 2-1 heading into the third period when Stoll got an escape, before Langguth countered with a single-leg takedown in the final minute. But Stoll was able to quickly escape the takedown for the go-ahead point with around 30 seconds left.
Stoll, fourth as a sophomore and seventh a year ago, faces Ottawa-Glandorf senior Daniel Beemer (40-0) in the finals.
“Thirteen years of wrestling has paid off at the big show,” Stoll said. “I finally get one last shot. It’ll be my last-match ever, just have to give it all I got. I feel like my mindset is there and that I can beat anyone I face right now.”
“I’m ready to go get it tomorrow,” he added.
Edison sits third in the overall team points with 56.5, only trailing Genoa (87.5) and Ashtabula St. John (70.5). All four Chargers are guaranteed a sixth-place or better finish.
Ray Adams (51-9) dropped his 113-pound semifinal, losing by a first-period pinfall at the the hands of Troy Christian’s Ethan Turner. But he’ll have a chance to wrestle for third in the morning.
“I got give him all the credit, he got great position, caught me and I just couldn’t fight out of it,” Adams said. “I just got to keep my head tonight and wrestle back strong for third tomorrow.”
Turner lost to Adams in the summer, but got to his go-to move with 13 seconds left in the period.
“We knew the cradle was coming and we still couldn’t stop it,” Hermes said.
At 138, Jordan Keegan earned a 3-2 win over Massillon Tuslaw’s Brier Marthey in round two of the consolations, then earned himself a podium spot with a last-period pin over Zanesville West Muskigum’s Carter Winegardner.
“Definitely, this exceeds the expectation,” Keegan said. “Obviously, I’d of loved to wrestle for first, but to be in the top six is pretty cool. It feels great to bounce back after dropping that opener.”
Monroeville’s Leroux drops both matches
Monroeville’s Trey Leroux dropped a 5-1 decision in his championship quarterfinal match against Ashtabula St. John’s Derek Elrod, then saw his tournament come to an abrupt end in the consolation bracket.
Leroux was pinned in 3:40 by Versailles’ Jeffrey Ware.
Norwalk’s Phillips and Hernandez; Bellevue duo still alive
Gabe Phillips (38-7) fared about as best as he could’ve against Canfield’s David Crawford — the defending Div. II 170-pound champion.
He dropped a 12-9 decision in the semifinals and will wrestle back today for a chance at third place, as will Ethan Hernandez.
Hernandez (47-2), earned his third consecutive win Friday night, topping McConnelsville Morgan’s Wesley Pauley in the consolation quarterfinals. He earned an 8-0 in the morning over Kettering Alter’s Jack Forschner.
“I got a bad luck of the draw with my first match, which happens,” Hernandez said. “But I’m just proud of myself that I can fight back and not give up. To wrestle back for a possible third after dropping that first match is the longest road you can take.”
Norwalk’s third sophomore, Alec Maloney, dropped a 7-2 decision in the morning consolations at 195, falling to Norton’s C.J. Williams. He finished with a 43-7 record this season.
Bellevue’s Nick Smythe (45-10), a senior who wasn’t projected to win a match at state, will wrestle for seventh Saturday. He a 6-2 win before dropping a 3-2 decision in the consolation quarterfinals.
“I’m going to be wrestling at Tiffin University next year, so this is a great way to boost my confidence going into college next year,” Smythe said. “I know what it takes to get on the podium. I just have to keep working and working, so I can do that in college next year.”
Justin Mayes (46-9) is another Redmen grappler that’ll wrestle for seventh. He lost an 11-4 decision after earning an 8-6 win in Friday’s opening session.
“It’s a good accomplishment to place and all, but there’s always next year, too,” Mayes said. “I’m just going to keep working in the offseason to get better.”