DEXTER - Jeremiah Barkac is an All-American again - with a slight twist.
Barkac, a Parkman resident set to begin his junior year at Dexter Regional High School, placed fifth in the 105-pound Greco-Roman division at the recent ASICS/Vaughan Cadet and Junior Wrestling Championships held in Fargo, N.D. This marks the second straight year Barkac has earned All-American honors at the Fargo event, which is considered the premier amateur youth wrestling meet in the country.
Nearly 4,500 wrestlers from 49 states competed in this year's meet, which was staged on more than 20 mats at the Fargo Dome on the campus of North Dakota State University.
When Barkac first earned All-American status last summer, he was recognized for his fifth-place finish in the 98-pound Cadet (ages 15-16) freestyle division. This year, Barkac earned All-American honors in Junior Greco-Roman competition, which prohibits holds below the waist and the use of one's legs.
"I was pretty surprised," said the 17-year-old Barkac, who had not wrestled in national Greco-Roman competition before. "I've only been wrestling Greco for a year. I just wanted to win a couple of matches, but I did a lot better than I thought I would."
Barkac won six of his eight matches overall, including his first four before he was defeated by Connor McDonald of Delaware. Barkac won his next match before his championship run was ended in a 13-3 loss to Donte Butler of Missouri. He then defeated Jason Brill of Minnesota 13-3 in the fifth-place match.
The top eight wrestlers in each weight class earn All-American status.
After finishing the Greco-Roman tournament, Barkac competed in the 105-pound freestyle division but did not place as he split his four matches. Barkac, who spent a week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., shortly before heading to the nationals, had hoped to compete in the 98-pound divisions of both the Greco-Roman and freestyle competitions. But he was unable to get down to that weight, and two days before the nationals he switched to the 105-pound divisions.
"I was pretty tired from trying to make weight and wrestling Greco," said Barkac. "After my first freestyle match I knew it was going to be tough because I had no energy at all. I was pretty disappointed."
He said he plans to focus on freestyle competition at next year's nationals.
Barkac, whose older brother Chris last winter became just the seventh Maine schoolboy wrestler to win four straight individual state titles, is undefeated against in-state competition through his first two years of wrestling for coach David Gudroe's Dexter High squad. The two-time Class C state champion at 103 pounds went on to place fifth in his weight class last March at the 41st annual New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships at North Andover, Mass.
Rix wins third national title
Rix, the daughter of Marshwood wrestling coach Matt Rix, won six matches to claim the 128-pound freestyle national championship. She scored three falls and three technical falls in the tournament., including a 10-0 technical-fall victory over Bethany Harris of California in the championship match.
Rix was named outstanding wrestler of the championships.
The 18-year-old Rix last winter became the first Maine schoolgirl wrestler to amass 100 career victories. Rix went on to place second in the Class A meet at 130 pounds, losing to Shane Leadbetter of Sanford 2-1 on an escape with four seconds left in double overtime. The three-time high school All-American is headed to Northern Michigan University this fall on a full wrestling scholarship.
Ernie Clark can be reached at 990-8045, 1-800-310-8600 or email@example.com
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