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East freshman Keagan Bartlett makes his own name with brother's aid
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East freshman Keagan Bartlett makes his own name with brother's aid

Semi Finals - 4a State Wrestling

Cheyenne East's Keagan Bartlett wrestles Green River's Kaden Lloyd in a Class 4A 195-pound semifinal match at the Wyoming State High School Wrestling Championships on Friday at the Casper Events Center.

In a way, living in the shadow of an older brother has shaped Keagan Bartlett into who he is today. And reaching out to that brother has definitely helped him get to where he is.

Keagan started wrestling when he was 4 years old. He spent his adolescent years coming to the Casper Events Center to watch older brother Tevis win four state championships. While Tevis went off to win national wrestling championships and then play football at the University of Washington, Keagan stayed behind to lay the groundwork for his own legacy. This year is when the work's began to show off.

A Cheyenne East freshman wrestling at 195 pounds, Bartlett made it to Friday night's semifinals before getting bumped out of the championship bracket. He came back on Saturday morning and wrestled for third place. His journey that far meant more than just being a younger sibling.

"I want to be a state champion. That's everybody's goal," Bartlett said after his quarterfinal match. "I really want to be top three, I think that's an achievable goal for me."

He started the season competing in junior varsity meets. He made the leap up to varsity during the Christmas break. That move didn't bring immediate results. So Tevis, who came back to Laramie to join the Wyoming wrestling team (before leaving), reached out. Through pointers and practice Keagan began to fulfill the potential that was always laid out in front of him.

"I’ve had my brother with me working the whole year. The only way I could put it is good," he said. "I started out rough but then he just started working with me, getting ready for this weekend."

He finally felt comfortable and confident at the Ron Thon Memorial in early February. He ultimately lost his last match to Cody's Charlie Beaudrie, 3-1 in overtime, but pushing a state champion gave Bartlett the confidence boost he needed going into the last month of the season.

Watching his older brother all those years didn't totally alleviate the nerves of the state tournament. Keagan said he was fine walking around until he stepped onto the mat for his first match. That's when he tensed. Still, he found success right up until a semifinal loss to Green River's Kaden Lloyd.

Four state championships went off the table. And that's fine. Keagan didn't want to duplicate his brother anyway.

"There’s not a ton of kids like Tevis so I’m not going to try and be him," Keagan said. "I’m just going to go out and be my own guy."

Photos: State wrestling championships

Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans


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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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