Simley's Barnes finishes strong.
The Simley senior strode purposefully through the crowd of well-wishers and back-slappers after his pin of Delano's Miles Hammerlund in the 170-pound final of the Class 2A wrestling state meet.
Barnes didn't stop until he reached the wall under the seats at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. He leaned against it, head down, breathing heavily, soaking in that he had just attained the biggest goal of his wrestling life.
"I dedicated myself to this all season," said Barnes after collecting his thoughts. "When I first started thinking about [winning a state championship], I thought that it might feel like a seven on a scale of one to 10. But it's actually off the scale. I know now what they mean when they say it's impossible to put into words."
His motivation started with a sophomore season in which he finished third in the state meet, followed by a disappointing state meet showing last year. He finished his senior season 44-0, helping the Spartans to the Class 2A team championship.
"It took me three times to do it, but I finally got one and that's all I need," Barnes said of winning the individual championship. "I finally did it."
Fair had four victories at the Class 1A state meet last weekend, and either set or helped set meet records in three of them: the 200 freestyle (1:40.75), the 100 butterfly (49.35) and anchoring the 200 freestyle relay (1:26.11)
As the only four-event winner at the Class 2A state meet (50- and 100-yard freestyles and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays), the junior sprint specialist led the Eagles to their first team championship since 2005.
January has focused on becoming a more complete player this season, and it has paid off in team results. Last week she led the Spartan to two Section 6, Class 3A victories, including a 26-point effort in a 72-61 semifinal victory over Waconia.
Kingsley became a four-time state champion Saturday when he beat Mitch Rechtzigel of Eastview 6-3 in the 160-pound final at the Class 3A state meet. Kingsley finished the season with a 45-1 record.
The senior guard lifted the Bluejackets to their seventh consecutive victory, scoring 31 points in a 70-64 victory over St. Francis in the Section 7, 4A quarterfinals. Olson has signed to play at Wayne State next season.
Zahrer scored a season-high 34 points to help the Eagles defeat crosstown rival Fridley 72-53 in the Section 3, Class 3A quarterfinals. It was the senior guard's first 30-point game this season.