Recent Independence graduate Adam Barnette, seated center, flanked by his mother Rochelle and father Allen, is headed to University of Oklahoma, where he was invited to walk-on with the Sooners’ wrestling program. Looking on are, back from left, Independence coaches Ed Gilson, Jamie Bolen, Cliff Warden and principal Bobby Meadows.

Adam Barnette has never been afraid of a challenge.

After winning the Class AA-A 275-pound wrestling title as a freshman, Barnette spent two years wrestling at a prep school in Pennsylvania before returning for his senior season. He finished his prep career with a second place finish at the state meet at 285-pounds in Class AA-A.

Now, the recent Independence graduate will head to University of Oklahoma, where he is an invited walk-on with the Sooners’ wrestling program.

“It’s definitely something that I never really expected to happen but this is one of those times that you can’t pass up,” Barnette said. “It’s an opportunity to wrestle for a school that puts that much attention into their athletes. There is a lot of history behind their athletics.”

Barnette will red-shirt his first year in Norman and work on his conditioning.

He first was approached by Oklahoma at the Senior Nationals.

“I was wrestling in Virginia Beach for the Senior Nationals wrestling tournament,” Barnette said. “I was a couple of matches from placing and afterwards, there was a coaches convention, where you can go and meet the coaches. I went over to (Oklahoma’s) booth and they said that they had watched me a couple of times. They said they liked what they saw and could I send them a tape.”

After going through the process and filling out questionnaires and introductory information, Barnette and the Oklahoma coaching staff came to an agreement.

“They called me back a week later and it just went on from there,” he said.

Traveling halfway across the country to continue his education hasn’t phased Barnette at all.

“I’ve always been one of those guys where it’s not so much where I’m at, it’s what I’m doing while I’m there,” he said. “The distance and everything, you know, if my parents make it out there, it’s fine. If they don’t, it’s no big deal. That’s fine too.”

Instead, he is looking at it as the next challenge in his growth to manhood.

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