When Jordyn Bartelson walked into the Puyallup High wrestling gym at the beginning of the season, it was like any other season for the Vikings senior.
No thoughts crossed her mind coming into that practice.
“I really didn’t have any thoughts other than it was just another practice,” Bartelson admitted. “It didn’t really feel special … it’s only been about completing the mission.”
That mission that began so many years ago has always been the focus of Jordyn’s career. It’s always been the desire to not just be good, but to be great. To leave her mark on school and program.
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“She’s one of those kind of kids that’s just wants it more,” Puyallup girls wrestling coach and Jordyn’s father Bryan Bartelson said. “She wants to wrestle the best talent she can, and she wants to beat them — it’s her makeup to want to be the best each match.”
That desire has led Jordyn on a historical run during her career.
Completing the mission
When junior Brooklyn Bartelson came into that first wrestling practice, she knew what it meant for her and sister Jordyn. It meant something for the entire Bartelson clan at Puyallup.
“I understood what it meant — that it meant it was the last time we can compete together on the same team,” Brooklyn said. “She’s going to be at college while I’ll be here without her. It’s going to be weird (though).”
With Bartelson committed to Western Washington University for soccer, her 12-year journey on the wrestling mat is coming to a close.
After winning three consecutive state wrestling titles (2013-2015) and help establish a growing girls division, Jordyn’s mission was never just about championship glory inside the Tacoma Dome. It was always about the moments along the journey to get to there.
“I think the time I spent here and just being able to travel to compete with my sister (Brooklyn) and my team ... I think those times were special,” Jordyn said. “I think I’m going to cry just thinking about what it will be like (moving on).”
For Bryan Bartelson, he cherishes these moments — moments when his daughters walked into practice at the start of the season.
For him, these are the moments he was always able to share with his daughters. Ever since they were young, Bryan always included both Jordyn and Brooklyn.
“Ever since they were little, they would come in with their little cheerleader outfits on with an O on their shirt,” Bryan remembered from his time coaching at Orting. “I once thought they would be cheerleaders because they would line up with the girls and cheer with them … they were always into supporting their family.”
But life lined up differently. Too much like their father, the girls took on a sporting life surrounded by soccer (Jordyn) and softball (Brooklyn). Any way both could compete is all that mattered.
But through it all, wrestling stayed at the heart of it all. This life was always about this road taken together, as a family.
“All I’ve known is being coached by my dad (and) working with my sister,” Jordyn said. “They’ve always been there … next year will be different.”
Ever since Bryan was coaching the Puyallup Falcons boys and girls teams — where Jordyn and Brooklyn were basically the girls team — 12 years ago, he’s seen them change. He’s seen how a season of wrestling has turned his girls into champion-caliber athletes. How the lessons he preached were embedded in his daughters’ minds.
It’s what a father, let alone a coach, would only want to pass on.
“They’ve taken the mindset from wrestling and applied it to other sports; Jordyn with soccer and Brooklyn with softball,” Bryan said. “They’re only seasonal wrestlers — they don’t compete all year-round. But because of wrestling, they’ve excelled at other sports because they have the mindset that no one is better than them, and they’ll prove it.”
Yet throughout all of their successes and titles, one underlying aspect stayed true to who both Jordyn and Brooklyn are as people: humility.
“We just like to go about our work — we know there’s another match to wrestle, so we just stay focus on the goal,” Brooklyn said.
Going in stride
Back on Jan. 8 at the 2016 Kelso Girls Invite, both Puyallup wrestlers faced some of the toughest competition in the northwest.
Brooklyn took third in the 120-pound bracket after facing stiff competition with eventual champion Jasel Perez of Grandview.
“I made a mistake and slipped into a pin,” Brooklyn admitted. “I’ve worked hard on not allowing that to happen again.”
“Brooklyn always wrestles before Jordyn, and if Brooklyn loses, I feel sorry for the opponent facing Jordyn next,” Bryan said. “Jordyn takes either sisters’ loss personally.”
Jordyn had a different experience on her way to her championship run in the 130-pound bracket. After picking up pins in each match leading up to the finals, Jordyn faced arguably her toughest challenge in her high school career: Post Falls’ (Idaho) Cierra Foster, a three-time girls national champion.
“She was tough, but we stuck to our game plan of staying low and not letting her throw me,” Jordyn recalled of her 5-1 decision win over Foster.
Before the match, as the girls were being announced, Foster picked Jordyn out of all the girls to talk to her before the tournament.
“What was funny at the Kelso tournament was as the girls lined up to be introduced, the girl from Idaho (Foster) picked Jordyn out of all the girls to come talk to her,” Bryan recalled. “She was talking about all her accomplishments, winning national titles and wrestling the boys. All Jordyn said to her was ‘My dad coached Whitney Conder.’”
After witnessing how Conder, USA women’s wrestling No. 1 wrestler at 116 pounds, went about her business while at Puyallup, both the Bartelson girls began to understand what it takes to win. Words never do enough.
It takes the action from hard work to achieve success.
“We believe we’ll work as hard, if not harder than everyone else,” Jordyn said. “I just outworked her as much as I could.”
It’s the hard work that’s paid off for both girls.
After sharing a 2014 Class 4A state championship with Puyallup softball, there’s still room for one more moment together.
“We want to make this year special, with both of us going out as champions,” Brooklyn hopes. “It’s been our mission this entire time.”
But for now, it’s just about the time together, as a family creating moments one final time.
Jordyn Bartelson: (130 pounds) 21-1 overall; No. 1 state ranking
Brooklyn Bartelson: (125 pounds) 20-3; No. 3 ranking