HS Wrestling: Barnhardt ready to go the distance

Sometimes an athlete is blessed with good genes to be successful. Other times, athletes work extremely hard. For St. Mary's wrestler Reece Barnhardt, his success is a combination of both.

As a freshman, Reece Barnhardt is carrying on the family sport.

"Well," Barnhardt said, "my dad and my brother wrestler. My brother is at UMary."

And Reece is not afraid to challenge his older brother.

"We'd miss around growing up," Barnhardt said. "He would usually kick my butt. He teaches me a lot of things, too."

Now, Reece is the one kicking competitor's butts. And coach Jayden Richter says, there is no surprise the 113-pounder is ranked near the top of his class.

"He's a student of the sport," Richter said. "He's learning every day. He's one of the most technically sound wrestlers in our room, even though he's only a freshman."

As an eighth grader, Reece finished second in the state at the 106-weight class. So this year, the competition has a new strategy.

"Kids are backing up a lot," Barnhardt said. "So, I'm working on circling them in and keep them inbounds so I can wrestle with them."

While Reece's competition might be scared, Coach Richter says he is inspiring his teammates.

"He's learning to transfer that mentality and spirit to other wrestlers in the program," Richter said. "I'm seeing it infiltrate into our style as a team."

Because Reece believes wrestling's traits will transfer to life.

"If you can get through wrestling," Barnhardt said, "you can get through anything."

On Dec. 28 and 29, Reece and St. Mary's are at East-West Duals at the Fargodome.

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