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Time to step it up for Gent.
Adam Gent represents Bremerton this weekend at the
Region I Class 4A Wrestling Tournament. Thats Gent,
as in polite, thoughtful, unassuming gentleman.
The Knights 171-pound senior, who wants to be a
special education teacher, radiates laid-back decency.
Gent is a Bremerton native, yet his voice projects an
easy-going lilt, a hint of a twang that could mark him
a refugee from a Garrison Keillor prairie yarn. When
he answers a question, he speaks slowly, choosing his
words carefully and pausing now and then to allow his
scribbling interrogator to catch up.
Jeff Barton, who has been head wrestling coach at
Bremerton since 1989, said Gents laid-back restraint
is the one weakness that could deprive him of a trip
to Mat Classic XIV.
Sometimes his approach to matches has been a little
lackadaisical, Barton said of Gent, who took a 21-5
record into regionals, which began last night at
Snohomish High. Sometimes Id like to see him a
little more intense.
Case in point, Barton said, is last Saturdays
sub-regional final against Olympics Clyde Switzer, an
opponent Gent already had handled twice. From Bartons
perspective, Gent wasnt much into the fray until the
final period, when he rose up and pinned Switzer with
48 seconds remaining.
An inside linebacker and fullback on the Knights 5-4
football team, the sport Gent intends to play at Snow
College, a jaycee in Ephraim, Utah.
I always saw myself as like a football player, Gent
said. Wrestling was always something I did because I
looked up to all my brothers. Theres not a harder
thing in the world for me physically.
Gent and senior 135-pounder Eric Smith (23-5)
represent Bremertons best hopes for a berth in Mat
Classic. At 18, Gent is the youngest of B.J. and
Louise Gents nine children, seven of them boys. Two
of his brothers, David (1988) and Mike (1993),
represented Bremerton at the state wrestling tourney.
At Snohomish, where the top four placers qualify for
state, Gent may get a rematch with Mariners Victor
Martinez, the No. 1 seed from WesCo South. Martinez
pinned Gent last month, but Barton said the Bremerton
grappler can prevail should they meet again.
Adam was ahead 5-4, made a dumb move, got put on his
back and got stuck, Barton said. Its one of those
matches Adam would like to have back.
Gent has been something of a vexing conundrum for
Barton, whom he informed last November that he planned
to turn out for basketball instead of wrestling.
Barton remains uncertain if Gent, who recently broke a
rim while playing hoops in the school gym, was not a
Gent did not wrestle as a sophomore, then endured a
disappointing junior year that ended at sub-regionals
with an ankle injury. Barton was plain-spoken in his
analysis of Gents junior year.
I was really disappointed in him, Barton said. He
wasnt in shape the whole year. Hes not what I call a
very good practice wrestler, and he was really bad
This year, Gent rolled out of an upbeat football
season and into wrestling at seasoned 190 pounds. As
the schedule progressed, 12 pounds fell from his
frame. After taking a thumping against Central
Kitsaps Tyler Moyer, wrestler and coach agreed that a
move to 171 would be best for Gents postseason
Ability-wise and potential-wise hes there, but
Adams got to step up and make the move, Barton said.
Ive been working on him for four weeks on his mental
approach. Thats his biggest roadblock. The kid is
strong, hes quick and he can be tenacious, but
sometimes he can be his own worst enemy.
Gent, an Eagle Scout with a passion for his 13 nieces
and nephews, has wrestled on and off since age 6. In
the boys locker room earlier this week, he quietly
considered his impending trip to regionals as Knight
basketball players sang and carried on blithely in the
background. The words he came up with sounded like the
echo of a Barton sermon.
I have to go out there knowing everybody wants to
beat me as bad as I want to beat them, Gent said. I
have to wrestle tough, not show any weakness to the
He closed with a touch of Gent.
If I dont make it to state, he said, I guess Ill
feel it was meant to be.