Warriors Athlete of Week: Long absence from action doesn’t hurt Brainerd’s Barrett
Brainerd Warriors senior wrestler Dalton Barrett won his weight class at the Dennis Kaatz Memorial Tournament.
When asked if there was any sibling rivalry between himself and his older brother, Dalton Barrett didn’t hesitate.
“He pushes me a lot,” Barrett said. “I talk to him almost every single day and he’s super good about giving advice. I’ll go down to this college and work out with him. He’s been there so he knows what I need to hear. He’s a huge asset that I’m able to use.”
Cade Barrett was a Class 3A State runner-up at 220-pounds his senior season in 2020 for the Brainerd Warriors wrestling team. Dalton Barrett hasn’t wrestled in almost two years because of injuries, but Dalton has a bit of an advantage -- a big advantage. When Cade graduated he stood 6-foot-3 and about 215 pounds. Dalton Barrett, now a senior, is a 6-8, 250-pound heavyweight who just won the Dennis Kaats Memorial Tournament Saturday, Dec. 4, in Wadena.
“I knew going in since I was hurt all of last year, that I didn’t really have much to my name so I had a chip on my shoulder to go out and perform well,” Barrett said. “I knew I had the No. 1 seed right away so my focus was on that match and I took it to him pretty well I thought. My confidence was sky-high after that.”
Barrett’s weekend began with a 2:22 pin of Thief River Falls’ Jackson Ingram to get into the eight-person quarterfinal bracket.
That’s where Barrett opened up against the No. 1 seeded Trey Lancaster of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Lancaster, ranked No. 8 in the Class 1A polls by The Guillotine, fell to Barrett 5-1.
“(Dalton) just surprised a lot of people and he’s just so big and so long and he can still move for that size and it was just hard for all four of the guys he wrestled,” Brainerd head coach Mikkey White said. “For that size, he moves really well. To be 6-8, it’s hard for guys. They can shoot in on his legs and they can get to him, but when he sprawls there is just so much person coming down on them it’s hard for them to manage that. That’s been beneficial and he’s wrestled his whole life so he understands all the positions and he knows what he needs to do. He has natural reactions, but he’s still a 6-8, 250-pound guy.”
" I knew I had him. I had the knee in his side and I knew that was going to be it. I had a good grip and I couldn’t help but smile."
— Dalton Barrett
Barrett said things started to flow for him after the first period. He said a late first-period takedown, while out of bounds, changed the complexity of his whole tournament and boosted his confidence.
“I was able to get away from him in the third period after riding him the entire second period,” Barrett said. “Then I really felt good and I took it to him in that third period. I ended up taking him down and turning him.”
That pushed Barrett into the semifinals where he faced Nathan Waage of Badger-Greenbush/Middle River. Barrett pinned Waage in 5:17.
“I will say the easiest thing we’re going to improve on his stamina,” White said. “He was getting tired. Not too tired. He was still a good wrestler. He was functional in the third period, which honestly is really good to see. The last time we really saw him wrestle was when he was a sophomore before he got injured. His endurance was an issue then and it’s significantly better now and it’s only going to get better from now on.
“It was his first tournament and his first four real matches that he’s had in a really long time.”
What surprised Barrett was his determination. He trailed 4-0 going into the third period, but didn’t stop wrestling.
“For me, giving up wasn’t really an option,” Barrett said. “I needed to get aggressive and get into my offense. I just ended up taking him down to flipping him to his back and I knew I had to finish him there.”
After two long grueling matches, Barrett decided to end things quickly in the championship match where he matched up against the No. 2 seeded Marcus Peterson of United North Central. With a smile on his face, Barrett pinned Peterson in 45 seconds.
“I think he surprised the kid just in the sense that he came out and was really aggressive,” White said. “He did this little slide by and lifted the kid in the air and put him down and put him in a cradle and pinned him and was smiling during his pin. It was an awesome experience. For me, the best part of it was being seeded eighth basically because he hasn’t been able to prove himself over the last few years.”
Peterson is ranked No. 7 in the Class 1A polls giving Barrett wins over two ranked opponents and the No. 1, No. 4 and No. 2 seeds in the heavyweight bracket in his first varsity action since his sophomore season.
“I knew if I wanted to win I just had to focus on what I do well,” Barrett said. “There was about an hour and a half between my semifinal match and the championship match and I was just super focused. I didn’t really talk to anyone. When I went out for that finals match, I was more nervous than anything. Once I got out there and hand fought a little bit I just decided well let’s make a move. I took him down and put him in a cradle and that was it. I knew I had him. I had the knee in his side and I knew that was going to be it. I had a good grip and I couldn’t help but smile.”
And Barrett hopes to be smiling at the end of the season as he hopes to come close to what his older brother did two years ago.
“After last year, I knew this weight class was going to be wide open and so this first tournament was all about making a statement to prove I’m back and I don’t want to be messed with,” Barrett said. “My whole goal going forward is I want to get on the podium at the state tournament. If I win it great, but I want to get on the podium.”
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Career highlight: Winning the Dennis Kaatz Memorial Tournament in Wadena
Other sports: Football
Grade-point average: 3.0
Favorite class: American Government
Favorite food: French toast
Favorite movie: “Moneyball”
Favorite TV show: “Last Chance U”
Favorite website or app: Twitter
Favorite restaurant: Texas Roadhouse
Future plans: Attend college and play football
Favorite athlete: Gable Steveson
Parents: Jeff and Amber Barrett
Other notable performances
Easton Dircks, wrestling, finished 3-0 and placed first in the 113-pound division of the Dennis Kaatz Memorial Tournament in Wadena.
Molly Hagelie, girls hockey, finished with two goals against River Lakes and another against Duluth Marshall.
Olivia Tautges, girls basketball, finished with 17 points and six rebounds against Buffalo.
Lily Schaeffer and Annelise Baird, Nordic skiing, teamed up to win the Moorhead Sprints Invite in 19:51.0.
John Pecarich, boys basketball, finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists against Rogers.
Molly Pohlkamp, girls hockey, finished with two goals against Duluth and added assists against River Lakes and Duluth Marshall.