Wrestling News

Hidden Gems: Virginia – The Open Mat

original photo courtesy of the Barnes family

Welcome to our new feature, “Hidden Gems”! With the country going through an unprecedented time and most national-level high school wrestling events canceled or postponed for the foreseeable future, it is difficult to be a rising senior. Typically, the spring and summer are places where overlooked wrestlers breakout and become household names heading into their senior seasons. This year, no such luck. At TOM’s we’ve tried to help out and shine the spotlight on some of those wrestlers that are currently unknown to many fans and college coaches. That’s where “Hidden Gems” comes in.

Each edition will focus on one particular state. We will highlight ten wrestlers that are not currently in the list of the top-150 wrestlers in the Class of 2021. Why, you ask? Most of the wrestlers in the top 150 are “out there”. Coaches/fans/observers know their names and are on the lookout for them. After those 150, there are plenty of hidden gems, wrestlers that could be successful on the next level. 

We’ll start with Virginia since it’s my home state. Virginia catches a lot of flack because they have gone to six classes for the public schools. At the same time, there’s another state tournament for private schools. With so many classes, college coaches aren’t sure exactly what a 3A champion means compared to a 5A winner. That’s ok, because we’ve looked at all seven levels to find Virginia’s “Hidden Gems”. 

These are the Virginia wrestlers in the top-150; therefore, they will not be featured below/

#123 Jesse Alvarado (Great Bridge) and #144 Erik Roggie (St. Christopher’s)

Virginia’s Hidden Gems

Brenden Barnes – Benedictine – Private

2019-20 Weight: 120 Projected Weight: 125/133

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