ALBANY Cicero-North Syracuse wrestler Joe Barber would represent Section III in a tough Division I 106-pound bracket during last weekend’s state championship meet at Albany’s Times Union Center, ending up with a 1-2 record.
A second-place finisher at 99 pounds in 2013, Barber said the difference in taking that extra step to the top this year was the work he did in the off-season, going as much as 10 hours a day in the summer training under the tutelage of Pete Moore at C-NS, plus work at the Pin to Win and Mohawk Valley clubs.
That paid off with a sectional championship - and now, in the state meet, Barber would debut in the opening round against Penfield’s Parker Kropman, but would receive a rough baptism.
Kropman nearly pinned Barber in each of the first two periods, steadily building a 9-0 lead before Barber finally got on the board with a two-point reversal. By then, though, it was too late, as Kropman finished off the bout with a pin just 14 seconds before the horn and would go on to a fourth-place finish.
Now in the consolation bracket, Barber took on Fox Lane’s Brandon Fay later that night. It proved a tight, tense bout, but Barber did enough to record a 4-2 victory.
But in the next round, Barber ran into Niagara Falls’ Jerome Carter, who would pin him in 2:51, leaving Barber with a final mark of 31-10 and the memories and experience gained from facing the best competition in the state.
Just two Section III Division I wrestlers made it to the semifinal round – CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt’s Ben Honis at 195 pounds, and Carthage’s Trevor Gibbons at 285 pounds – and though each of them lost in the semifinals, they went on to win their respective consolation brackets and take home third-place medals.
On the other hand, Section III won the team competition in Division II (small schools) and brought home a pair of state titles as Holland Patent sophomore Alex Herringshaw prevailed at 145 pounds and Mexico’s Trevor Allard did the same at 160 pounds.