Nate Barrett

Madison's Nate Barrett wrestles Wauseon's Jarrett Bischoff during last week's Division II Norwalk district tournament.

MADISON TOWNSHIP — A midseason injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Madison’s Nate Barrett.

The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Barrett stormed to the 160-pound championship over the weekend at the Division II Norwalk district wrestling meet. The junior was 4-0 with two pins and two tech falls, running his season record to 30-4.

Only a handful of Division II state qualifiers have less mat time this season than Barrett. A shoulder injury suffered shortly after the J.C. Gorman Invitational in early-January cost him four weeks.

“At first it sucked because you’re stressed out watching everyone else wrestle and thinking you are getting (behind),” Barrett said. “You’ve just got to get into that frame of mind where you consider it a blessing because you’re getting those couple of weeks off and you’re less tired.

“You don’t have to cut weight and you’re able to relax a little bit.”

Barrett’s last loss came against Jackson Weissinger of Fremont Ross in the Gorman semifinals. He injured his left shoulder the final week and didn’t return until just before the Ohio Cardinal Conference meet. He secured an OCC title with a 4-2 overtime win over West Holmes’ Walker Uhl, who also earned a spot at this week’s state meet with a second-place finish at the Claymont district.

Barrett won a sectional championship at Clyde, but three of his sectional matches went the distance. That wasn’t the case at Norwalk. His first two matches resulted in identical 18-3 tech falls. He pinned St. Marys Memorial’s Tommy Mabry in 1:47 in the semifinals and stuck Wauseon’s Jarrett Bischoff in 1:35 in the finals.

Barrett still wears a brace on his left shoulder.

“The first week was kind of hard, but then I got used to it and broke (the brace) in,” Barrett said. “I feel great now. I’ve adjusted to it.”

Barrett will be joined at state by teammate Trenton Osborne. The junior finished third at Norwalk, his only loss coming against projected state champ Ethan Hernandez of Norwalk in the quarterfinals.

“We’ve been drill partners all the way through elementary school and middle school,” said Barrett, who began wrestling in the fourth grade. “I’m the one who got Trenton into wrestling in the fifth grade.”

Both should be in contention for podium finishes this weekend in Columbus. Barrett opens state tournament action against Dover’s Brandon Kiser on Friday.

“My expectations are to go down there and compete,” Barrett said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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