Patterson's Barrett reaches national wrestling heights

Going 6-0 in Cleveland gives him 215-pound title

High Schools

April 04, 2005|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Being from a Baltimore public school district considered the weakest in a state whose national wrestling reputation scarcely registers, Patterson's Deshawn Barrett faced low expectations against a field stacked with big-time college recruits.

But in last night's 215-pound title bout in the National High School Coaches Association Wrestling Tournament in Cleveland, the little-known Barrett completed three days of shocking upsets.

Barrett's 6-2 decision over Ohio state champion Jason Marshall won the praise of fans who packed Public Hall, his effort matching that of Southwestern's 1991 national champion Walter Reed, the city's only other All-American.

The Ohio University-bound Marshall had pinned four opponents and decisioned a fifth to reach Barrett (42-0, 34 pins), who became the area's first national titlist since McDonogh's J.R. Plienis in 1996 and joined Curley's Gene Curran (1990) and Northeast's Marty Kusick (1995) as national champions from the area.

"The crowd was behind me and cheering for me. They were on my side," said Barrett, a state Class 4A-3A champion who was named The Sun's 2004-2005 All-Metro Wrestler of The Year. "This is the best I've ever felt in my life."

Barrett's two-year record rose to 73-2 with 62 pins, including a 44-bout winning streak dating to his junior season. This from a wrestler who was pinned in the first round of states as a freshman, and whose sophomore season ended prematurely because of academic ineligibility.

"Everytime someone said I wasn't this or that, I tried to prove them wrong," said Barrett, whose success has drawn attention from "about 20 schools," including Nebraska, Edinboro, Bloomsburg, Minnesota and West Virginia, said his coach, Chris Stalker.

A second-team All-Metro football tight end, Barrett is an honor roll student, but needs to raise his SAT score. "I know I have other things to work on," he said. "But it motivated me a lot to know that if I win this, I'd get a whole lot of college attention."

The rangy, 6-foot-3 Barrett pinned his first three tournament opponents - a Texas state runner-up, a third-place state finisher from Missouri and another Ohio place finisher - in 1:24, 1:20 and 50 seconds.

He then faced Oklahoma's Jared Rosholt, the nation's No. 1-ranked 215-pounder and winner of two state titles each in Idaho and Oklahoma. Barrett beat Rosholt, 6-4, on a double-leg takedown 10 seconds into overtime.

A similar effort - a reversal with two seconds left - lifted Barrett to a come-from-behind, 9-8 semifinal victory over Virginia state titlist Brent Jones. It was Barrett's second win over Jones, who was ranked No. 2 nationally when Barrett won by a 23-8 technical fall in the Virginia vs. Maryland All-Stars meet on March 13.

Jones edged Rosholt, 2-1, for third place. Rosholt and Jones are headed for NCAA champion Oklahoma State and Virginia, respectively, on wrestling scholarships.

"Being from the city, people said Deshawn didn't deserve to be [Wrestler of the Year,]" said Barrett's father, Steven. "But Deshawn came out here and he proved himself."

Two weeks ago, Barrett took 43 seconds to pin Howard High's 2A-1A state champ, Mingo Grant, and 4:34 to deck St. Vincent Pallotti's two-time private schools state titlist, Tim Jennings.

Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.

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