ALBANY, N.Y. -- Nick Barbaria felt the pressure as Bryan Lantry of Wayne-Section 5, kept tightening the arm bar in an attempt for back points.
The New Rochelle freshman endured it, but would not give in to Lantry. Instead, Barbaria’s quick thinking led him to extricate himself from the bar and turn it into his favor.
Barbaria would transform it into a reversal and that was the difference in a 2-1 win over Lantry in a Division I (large school) 99-pound quarterfinal in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships at the Times Union Center Friday.
Wrestling will resume Saturday at 10 a.m. with the semifinals.
Barbaria is the second New Rochelle wrestler in as many years to reach the championship semifinals, and third this century. Last year, Malcolm Allen won the 285-pound state title and in 2004 current New Rochelle assistant coach Eddie Ortiz made the semis and finished sixth.
“It was in deep so I was fighting as hard as I could,” Barbaria said. “All of the great wrestlers I worked with in the offseason made me know how to defend it. The hand he had the bar on, I kept it down, pushed as hard as I could and kept spinning as fast as I could.
Once Barbaria eliminated the bar, he got to his feet and gained control for a reversal with 19 seconds remaining in the period.
“When I stood up, I could feel he was falling down so I was able to step right over him,” Barbaria said.
In the third period, Lantry escaped in the opening seconds for a point then attempted to set up his shot, but Barbaria’s defense was impeccable. Barbaria kept good position and anticipated his opponent’s moves.
As a result of reaching the semis, Barbaria automatically places top six in the state.
Teammate Tyler Lilly (220) pinned Queensbury’s Alex Pontiff, at 5:13, in the first round to register his 100th varsity win.