Barber emerges as sectional wrestling champion

Liverpool second, C-NS fourth in team standings behind B'ville

— Despite not earning any individual titles, the Liverpool wrestling team still rose to a second-place finish in Saturday’s Section III Division I championships at SRC Arena.

Cicero-North Syracuse also had a strong meet, claiming fourth place behind Baldwinsville, Liverpool and Fulton, but had the area’s lone champion – Joe Barber, who prevailed at 106 pounds.

Barber, a junior, entered the sectional meet with a 27-8 record and was the no. 2 seed. After beating Liverpool’s Sean Nadeau 13-3 and rolling past Central Square’ Jacob Garrow 8-1, Barber faced the top seed, Indian River’s Tucker Amato, in a tense final.

Trailing 1-0 in the third period, Barber tied it up, 1-1, when Amato was called for an illegal hold. It stayed that way until overtime, when Barber’s aggressive takedown produced the clinching points for a 3-1 victory, a sectional title and an automatic berth in the state tournament Feb. 27-March 1 at Albany’s Times Union Center.

Liverpool ended up with more points (134) than C-NS (127) because it had two wrestlers with runner-up finishes and four others prevail in consolation brackets.

Audey Ashkar, 37-4 this season, got close to the 113-pound title for the Warriors, pinning Stewart Phillips (New Hartford) and shutting out Stefan Colbert (Indian River) before his final with Andrew McFarland (Carthage), which would go to double overtime before McFarland pulled it out by the same 3-1 margin that Barber used to beat Amato.

As for Darren Breen (33-6), he could not capitalize on the top seed at 152 pounds. A hard-fought 6-3 semifinal win over Baldwinsville’s Steve Petrelli took a toll, for in the final against Petrelli’s teammate, Chad McArdell, Breen never got going and lost an 11-1 decision to McArdell.

C-NS had one other finalist – Jerrett Norton, the top seed at 160 pounds. Norton pinned Phoenix Webb (Central Square) in the third period and Brian Stapleton (Rome Free Academy) in 1:35, but in an active final against Fulton’s Travis Race, Norton could not hold on to an early 4-2 lead and lost, 12-8, falling to 32-5 on the season.

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