I know that I said I was going to post my dual meet Power Rankings today, but some regrettable news has surfaced that I wanted to write about first. Look for the rankings tomorrow…
One of the top wrestlers in Section 1 has suffered an unfortunate injury that will end his high school career prematurely.
New Rochelle senior Nick Barbaria tore his meniscus during practice last week and recently underwent season-ending surgery.
“We feel terrible for Nicky,” coach Eddie Ortiz said. “He works incredibly hard year round, does all of the right things and has always been a pleasure to coach. You never want to see a kid’s high school career end this way, especially when they give their heart and soul to the sport as Nicky has done his entire time with the program.”
After winning back-to-back section titles as a sophomore and a junior, Barbaria was expected to be a major player for a state championship this season. He won a prestigious Eastern States title last January and went onto place fourth in the state at 106 pounds.
Barbaria’s older brother A.J. also had his senior season end due to medical reasons in 2012, but Ortiz said that he believes Nick will wrestle again in college.
“He has aspirations to wrestle at the next level and I am sure this won’t be the last time we hear about Nicky Barbaria,” he said. “We all wanted him to finish his career with a state title, but unfortunately sometimes life doesn’t work that way. Knowing Nicky, this will only make him stronger going forward. But it definitely is a tough thing for any program to lose a wrestler of his caliber.”
Barbaria was considered a heavy favorite to win a Section 1 title at 113 pounds, but his injury leaves the field wide open.
Pearl River junior James Kelly is probably the logical choice after claiming a section title at 99 pounds last season, but John Jay-East Fishkill junior Jay Albis, Arlington sophomore Brady Robin and Carmel sophomore Kevin Knox are each returning All-Section wrestlers who will be in the mix. Fox Lane senior Brandon Fay has been wrestling at 113, but is expected to drop down to 106 for the second half of the season.
Photo by John Meore/The Journal News