CHAMBERSBURG — Last season the 195-pound championship bout at Trojan Wars saw two local wrestlers face off.
Shippensburg’s Cole Forrester and Big Spring’s Blake Barrick squared off until Barrick came out victorious, nabbing a coveted Trojan helmet.
This year the script flipped.
Coming into this year’s tournament at Chambersburg High School on Saturday, Forrester clocked in at a new 220-pound weight class while Barrick stayed at 195, citing “not growing” as the reason he stayed put. Forrester defeated James W. Robinson’s Thomas Mukai in a 3-1 decision, earning himself his first helmet.
Barrick, on the other hand, battled a wrestler he knew quite well: Smyrna’s Tony Wuest. Things got heated as Barrick fell in a 3-0 hole. Both wrestlers began to throw more slaps to the head before an audible slap earned a whistle from the ref to break it up.
“We’ve wrestled three or four times since the beginning of high school and we go back and forth — we don’t like each other very much,” Barrick said. “He came out swinging and I sort of retaliated, then it got a little heated towards the end. It happens, it’s wrestling. It’s a rough sport and I may have taken it a little too far, but emotions run high and it’s fine. He’ll get over it, I’ll get over it.”
Barrick fell to Wuest in a 4-1 decision and at the end of the match as he stood on the podium, the loss of back-to-back helmets stings.
“I mean — that helmet’s pretty awesome, you know,” Barrick said, pausing to crack a smile. “It would have been nice to have another one, but this is all honestly building towards the postseason. As upset as I am now, I’ll get over it. I have some stuff I gotta work on to reach my goals for the end of the season.
“That’s what really matters. This is just a pit stop. [Those goals] are the end finish.”
As Barrick pushes towards his own goals and moves on, Forrester will take the time to appreciate his winnings.
“It’s pretty exciting to win. Getting the helmet’s cool, but getting the honors is pretty nice,” Forrester said, holding the helmet close. “Moving up [to 220] was part of it, but I still got it done.”
Moving up to 220 has been good to Forrester. A slower pace allows him to focus more and leads to more successes.
“I don’t have to rush around and try and keep up,” Forrester said. “I like it up here. It’s fun.”
Shippensburg ended the tournament as a team in ninth place with 134 points. Along with Forrester’s first-place win, Dylan Ramsey notched third at 120 with a 6-0 decision over Notre Dame-Green Pond’s Richie Markulics.
Big Spring settled for 21st with 85 points. Ryan Adams placed seventh at 160 and Kyle Brobst placed eighth at 182.
Myers wins again
For Kollin Myers, fluctuating between 138 and 145 seems to be suiting him well this season. Myers went with the lower weight in for the holiday tournament, flying through the field with ease.
Through five bouts, Myers pinned his opponents three times, recorded a technical fall once and defeated his final opponent, TT Elhajj of Lower Dauphin, in a major decision 15-2.
The win gave Myers back-to-back helmets at the tournament.
“It feels great,” Myers said. “I wrestled a tough match and I think I did pretty well. The cut from 145 to 140 was a little tough, but I felt good out there. Opponents weren’t as strong as [they are] in 145, which is a whole different ballgame, but I felt good, I wrestled good and got my lungs burned out. It was a good tournament.”
Myers was a little hesitant to say the same outcome may have happened if he had wrestled in the 145 bracket.
“I don’t know, there’s some tough kids in that bracket,” he said. “This tournament has grown a lot over the years and I’ve only been here two years, but I know it’s been a jump from last year to this year and there’s a lot more tough teams, especially from the outer state.
“It’s good to see kids like that, though. You get to see some different things and you just try and wrestle your hardest.”
Myers’ winning streak helped the Bubblers out as a team. They finished third overall in the standings with 174.5 points, behind Southern Columbia in first with 236.5 and Smyrna in second with 207.5.
Collin Nester finished eighth at 126, Kaiden Karper (152) finished fifth, Zach Martin (160) finished fifth, Austin Taylor (220) finished third and Damon James (285) finished fifth to round out the tournament.
Other notable finishers
Cumberland Valley finished 11th as a team with 129 points. Ruston Dzielak finished third at 106, Ben Monn (113) finished fifth, Cade Reichart (126) finished seventh, Jacob McKenzie (145) finished eighth and Jake Lucas (170) finished fifth.
Carlisle finished the tournament in 16th with 103.5 points. Noah Clawson finished seventh at 106, Rafael Portilla (120) finished sixth, Logan Huff (152) finished seventh and Dylan White (195) finished eighth.
East Pennsboro did not place as a team, but Robert Schnarrs finished fourth at 220 and Adam Jacob finished sixth at 113.