For the first time ever, after spending most of her childhood and adolescent years on the mat with her older sister, Puyallup High senior Brooklyn Bartelson is finally on her own — and she couldn’t be happier.
For years, Brooklyn, along with older sister Jordyn, followed their father Bryan around the wrestling mat. Wherever he coached — be with the Puyallup Falcons, Orting High or his current stop as Puyallup’s girls wrestling coach, the Bartelson sisters were there.
“Wherever I was coaching, the girls were always right there with me,” Bryan recalled of his two daughters seemingly shadowing the wrestling lifer on a daily basis in their childhood. “They didn’t become serious until junior high. For Jordyn, I always felt it was more of a hobby for her, a way to keep in shape for soccer, as well as staying close with her sister and me, but mainly she wanted to keep that close connection to Brooklyn.”
For Brooklyn, wrestling has always been something more. Ever since she first stepped onto the mat, it has left this feeling of electricity running through her veins. It was a life calling.
“Wrestling was all those same things for Brooklyn, but she was always more into the sport than Jordyn,” Bryan said. “You could always tell that she was meant to be a wrestler.”
Brooklyn enters the season with a commitment to the women’s wrestling program at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, making her a wrestler for the foreseeable future.
Wrestling is an individual sport, and that’s one of the main reasons I love the sport, because it puts a lot on you. You’re in control.
With a future in the sport set, her first year alone begins this season as Jordyn is now a part of the Division II National Championship Western Washington women’s soccer team.
“Wrestling is an individual sport, and that’s one of the main reason I love the sport, because it puts a lot on you. You’re in control,” Brooklyn said. “But it’s definitely hard because I don’t have anybody on the same journey. It’s different because I don’t have that partner going along there with me.”
Yet the loss of her sister inside the Vikings’ wrestling room has not deterred Brooklyn. It has only motivated her now that she’s on her own.
“It’s a new challenge and it’s putting the responsibilities on me to find ways to push myself on my own,” she added.
It’s hard to duplicate the level of intensity only a four-time state champion can bring, and Jordyn — the first and only person to four-peat from the city of Puyallup — has been a major factor in Brooklyn’s progress.
It has made her better and stronger.
Entering the season as the second-ranked girls wrestler at 115 pounds — and with two second-place finishes (2014, 2016) and a third-place finish (2015) at Mat Classic, a heck of a career for most wrestlers — Brooklyn wants more. She expects more.
“I never envisioned myself winning a state championship when I first began wrestling,” Brooklyn admitted. “It was more about being there with my sister and dad. I wasn’t serious about winning one until high school.”
For four consecutive years, the only state title Brooklyn had one was one she shared with her sister as they helped the Puyallup softball team win the 4A state title her freshman year (2014).
And after watching Jordyn pull off the champion sweep over her high school wrestling career, only to move on to a national championship at Western Washington, has motivated Brooklyn.
It’s exciting to see what my athletic future can hold too. Not only have that stated title, but that national title, too.
Call it envy or simple desire to grab a taste of what she’s only watched from afar for years, it is Brooklyn’s time to ascend to the top.
“It’s exciting to see what my athletic future can hold, too,” Brooklyn said. “Not only have that state title, but that national title, too.”