WDC wrestler earns first trip to state tournament
During the 2012 and 2013 Section wrestling tournaments, Wadena-Deer Creek High School's Devin Barthel finished just short of advancing to the state tournament. Both years, the scrappy Barthel wrestled all the way back to earn a true second match, but both years he came up agonizingly short, losing close matches both years.
This year, Barthel, the third seed at 145 pounds, reversed the result of two matches he had lost earlier in the season to advance to the Class A State Tournament in St. Paul as a Section 6A Champion. In the Section final match, Barthel earned milestone win No. 75 when he avenged an earlier loss to Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale freshman Ethan Kimber, 4-1. The outstanding young freshman Kimber had beaten Barthel 3-2 just two weeks earlier in the final triangular of the year. Barthel trailed heading into the third period 1-0, but earned an escape, a clasping point and a take down to earn the victory in an outstanding match by both wrestlers.
In the semi-finals, Barthel avenged a 4-2 loss suffered to New York Mills’ Taylor Erickrud with an emphatic pin at the 3:38 mark. Barthel locked up a bar and half to turn a razor thin 7-6 lead into a match-ending pin. The victory was especially sweet since New York Mills’ Tyler Ehnert had kept Barthel out of the state tournament in both of the previous years.
“He’s definitely earned this,” said Norm Gallant, WDC head wrestling coach. “He's always had a lot of talent and potential, the difference this year has been his maturity. He’s had a bad temper and lost his cool at critical times when he was a younger wrestler. This year he has been outstanding. He’s been a leader and has been able to maintain his composure and deal with adversity. He is determined and positive. I couldn’t be prouder of the way he has handled himself and the success he’s had this year.”
Barthel enters the state tournament with a 24-8 record this season and is 75-57 for his career. This season, he has eight pins, two technical falls (including one in the Section quarter finals), and four major decisions.
Barthel will square off against Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sundberg’s Nicholas Meyer in the first round of the state tournament Friday morning at 9 a.m. Meyer is a sophomore with a 16-10 record. If Barthel can win his first match, he may square off with a familiar foe in Park Rapids’ super freshman Cody Dravis. Barthel and Dravis met the second week of the season with Barthel sneaking away with a 2-1 decision.
Other place winners for the Wolverines included Heavyweight Brandon Monson. The sophomore big man earned two pins on the weekend en route to a 4th-place finish. Older brother Caleb Monson finished his career with flair, throwing a desperation half nelson in and earning a pin with just 7 seconds left over New York Mills’ Cole Grabow. Grabow led the match at the time 10-4. Monson finished in 5th place in his final Section tournament. Freshman Lee Hotakainen also placed, finishing in 6th. After a hard-fought consolation semifinal match, Hotakainen was unable to wrestle in the 5th-place match, instead having to injury default. He finished the year with an 11-7 record.
A welcome home ceremony for Devin Barthel is planned for Sunday, March 2 at 1 p.m. in the Commons at WDC Middle/High School. Norm Gallant will serve as master of ceremonies. Public is welcome and encouraged to welcome Devin home from state!
Please congratulate Devin when you see him!