NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Nick Barbaria did something no other New Rochelle wrestler ever accomplished – he made it to the New York State Wrestling Championships undefeated.
The junior went 42-0 during the regular season and on his way to winning a second consecutive Section 1 Division 1 title. Barbaria then proceeded to place fifth at the state in the 106-pound weight class, for his second consecutive top-six all-state finish.
Barbaria, who finished with a 45-2 record, is The New Rochelle Daily Voice Student-Athlete of the Month.
“I look at the year as a whole and, in general, I won a lot of big matches and went 42-0 during the regular season and sectionals,” Barbaria said. “I wanted to win the section, go to states and improve on what I did there last year.”
Barbaria finished sixth in the state, at 99 pounds, in 2012.
On his way to winning a second consecutive sectional title, Barbaria repeated as a Ted Murphy Shoreline Classic champion. He also became the first New Rochelle wrestler to win the prestigious Eastern States Wrestling Classic.
“Nicky stepped it up, especially when you look at his body of work this season,” said New Rochelle wrestling coach and former Huguenot great Eddie Ortiz. “I know Nicky was not happy with this finish at states, but he came back in the fifth-place match, wrestled a tough kid from Section 11 in a tight match and won. He showed a lot of character. We couldn’t be happier.”
Ortiz, a 2003 Section 1 wrestling champ, said Barbaria’s impact on the program went beyond his success.
“Nicky was our leader and he set the tone in the room,” Ortiz said. “Nicky is the perfect example of what we want our kids to be. He will be our leader again next year and we are excited to have him back.”
Even though the season recently concluded, Barbaria is preparing for his senior year. He said he plans on working even harder than he did last offseason. Barbaria is determined to become New Rochelle’s first three-time sectional champ, return to states and win a state championship.
The student athlete of the month is chosen by the sports reporters and editors of the Daily Voice.