WRESTLING: Othello brothers in same weight class

Tri-City HeraldFebruary 15, 2013 

TACOMA — Anthony and Isaiah Barrera are brothers in arm bars.

The talented Othello wrestlers are 106-pounders on the Huskies squad, both sitting in the semifinals of the Class 2A portion of Mat Classic XXV at the Tacoma Dome.

But competing in the same weight class hasn’t created a heated sibling rivalry for the pair, who are just a year apart. Rather, it has formed a unique bond.

“It feels awesome,” said Anthony, a senior, “because he’s good as well.”

But therein lies the conundrum: They’re both good, they’re both at the same weight, and they both keep running into each other at state.

Last year, they both qualified for the Class 2A tournament, and their tourney experience took a cruel twist.

The pair were slated to face off at the end of the first day. The winner would go on to wrestle the following day and earn a state medal, but the loser would be out.

Rather than battle it out on the mat, Isaiah defaulted to his big brother.

“It was pretty tough,” Isaiah recalled Friday morning after cruising to a first-round win. “But I knew my brother could do better than me, and I wanted him to place.”

When the kids were young, Isaiah had the advantage despite giving up a year.

“He always put a pounding on me when we were young,” Anthony said, noting that the circumstances changed when they got into middle school and bigger brother put on a few pounds.

Since then, the two have avoided mat confrontations.

“I’m not going to put a pounding on him,” Anthony said. “He’s my brother.”

As fate would have it, the brothers are slated to wrestle each other in today’s semifinals.

Anthony, the favorite to win the title, scored a pin and a technical fall in his two matches Friday. Isaiah, ranked in the top five all season, had a 17-5 major decision and a pin.

So what’s the call this year?

“I’ll forfeit against him,” Isaiah said. “My goal is top three.”

“I’ll take first,” Anthony added, “and he’ll take third.”

w Nerves? What nerves: Twenty-four mats, wall-to-wall wrestlers and thousands of fans in the stands.

Little can prepare wrestlers for the cacophony of noise and electricity in the atmosphere for six simultaneous state tournaments.

One thing that helps, though, is having previously gone through the wringer.

“Last year was my first (state) tournament, and I had that little nervousness my first match,” said Chiawana senior Clayton Smith, who this year rolled into the 145-pound semifinals. “I was new to state. This year, I’m not nervous at all. I’m ready. I want that state championship.”

Smith, among the favorites to win his bracket, has come to the same understanding as Kamiakin senior two-time placer and fellow semifinalist Harley Kolp: Experience is key.

“My memories of the dome,” Kolp recalled of his first trip two years ago as a sophomore, “it was so big and so bright.”

Now, the 132-pounder said, it’s a business trip, not a sight-seeing tour.

One state rookie who didn’t seem to suffer from nerves too much was Richland junior 138-pounder Pryce Seely, who scored a 12-2 win in his first state match.

“I was nervous before,” said Seely, who lost in the quarters but .... “But when I got on the mat, no nerves.”

Seely lost in the quarterfinals, getting pinned after leading 5-2 to start the third period, but bounced back in the consolation to secure a state medal.

Smith, who didn’t place last year, said wrestling every day during the offseason along with storming through the postseason and coming in as a regional champion have translated into a boat-load of confidence.

“All I want to do is finish No. 1 in the state,” he said.

Remember when: Part of the celebration of Mat Classic turning 25 has been a look back at the first multi-class state event in 1989. Mid-Columbia fans had plenty to cheer about then, including a state title for Richland’s Thomas Yamamoto at 108 pounds. Additionally, Walla Walla’s Mark Echevarria took second at 141 pounds in the AAA (big-school) tournament.

In the AA brackets, Sunnyside’s Lupe Delgado was a runner-up at 148, and Connell’s Justin Jenks (108) and Warden’s Don Edson (141) finished second in the A tourney.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service