College Wrestling News

Oregon State wrestling: Barnes’ win a bright spot for OSU

Posted by Jeff Smith, The Oregonian (original here)

CORVALLIS — Heinrich Barnes left his home in South Africa four years ago without knowing what to expect.

After a dominant high school wrestling career — including a South African national title — all Barnes knew for sure was that he wanted to wrestle at a college in the United States.

“Sometimes you have to make some tough sacrifices if you want to reach your goals,” Barnes said. “I had to make a choice. Stay in South Africa or come to the States and get the workouts and training that I needed.”

Barnes couldn’t help but reflect on his long journey Sunday while competing for Oregon State in its final regular season dual meet against No. 10 Boise State at Gill Coliseum.

Even though the Beavers lost 25-9, Barnes provided one of the top highlights with a 7-4 win over No.17 Jason Chamberlain at 149 pounds. Barnes, ranked 16th in the nation, thrilled the 1,124 in attendance by recording a two-point takedown in each of the three periods.

As he held his honorary “senior day” flowers afterward, Barnes (32-4) remembered how hard he had worked to reach this point. After leaving his family and friends in South Africa, Barnes spent two years at North Idaho College, going 69-11 and winning a junior college national title.

He then came to Oregon State last season and went 22-7, but injured his right knee two weeks before the Pacific-10 Conference championships. After surgery, Barnes went 1-3 at the Pac-10 meet even though his knee was swollen and he didn’t have full range of motion.

So Barnes isn’t taking anything for granted this season as he prepares to win an individual title at the Pac-10 championships on March 1-2 in Fullerton, Calif.

“I’m going for it,” said Barnes, who competed for South Africa last summer at the Beijing Olympics. “I want to go in there for nothing less than to be the Pac-10 champ.”

Despite the frustrating 16-point loss to the Broncos (16-3, 7-0 Pac-10), Oregon State coach Jim Zalesky has a similar mindset for the Beavers (10-8, 6-3) at the Pac-10 meet. Zalesky, who coached the Beavers to the 2007 Pac-10 title during his first season at Oregon State, said he would use Sunday’s defeat as motivation.

“We’ve got to do some things better and find a way to win those close matches,” Zalesky said. “We know where we’re at, we know we’re still building. But you shoot for the top. We’re shooting to win the Pac-10s. We’ve got a couple of weeks to train and get better and then try to beat these guys again.”

Oregon State senior Kyle Bressler (17-5) is certainly looking forward to a potential rematch with Boise State’s Nate Lee in the 174-pound bracket at the Pac-10 meet. Bressler, ranked 13th in the nation, took the 12th-ranked Lee into overtime. With the score tied 3-3 following the ninth and final period, Lee was awarded a 4-3 victory because of more “riding time,” which is the amount of time a wrestler controls their opponent on the mat.

“This is going to drive me that much more,” Bressler said. “I had a couple opportunities where I had a chance to beat him and I felt like I should have come out with a victory. I’m just looking forward to the next couple weeks and hopefully seeing him again.”

Oregon State also received individual victories Sunday from freshmen Clayton Jack (21-8) and Kelly Kubec (18-7). Jack beat Boise State’s Sam Zylstra 5-0 at heavyweight and Kubec closed the match with a 3-1 victory over Allen Bartelli at 133 pounds.

But the reigning Pac-10 champion Broncos left with wins in seven of the 10 weight classes.
“Obviously we didn’t perform the way we wanted to as a team,” Bressler said. “We know how good we can be. And when we don’t show it, it’s just a disappointment. We’re going to start training hard and get ready to peak for the Pac-10 tournament.”

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