BRISTOL - With the final round underway, Bristol Eastern wrestler Michael Barrett was pacing the mat back and forth with his silver beats headphones on, waiting for his bout against Mount Anthony Union’s Adam Osha.
It was no surprise that Barrett beat Osha by a 5-2 decision to finish first in the 161-pound bracket.
This season Barrett has high expectations for himself, coming off of a stellar junior year as a state champion, third place finisher at New Englands and going 3-2 at Nationals.
“A letdown for me this season would be any losses,” Barrett said, “because coming off of last season undefeated I expect myself to go undefeated this year and dominate all of my opponents.”
His career with Bristol Eastern has been one of the best.
“Mikey has been one of the top wrestlers in our school since he’s been here his freshman year,” teammate Bryce Beebe said. “Just coming out last year and winning Class L’s and placing in New Englands is phenomenal.”
However, his success hasn’t come without adversity along the way.
Barrett broke his right wrist during his freshman season.
While he was waiting for the wrist to heal, Barrett worked relentlessly on his weaker side, something that he believes has helped him become a better wrestler.
Win more is what he’s been doing since.
“Coming off the wrist injury was pretty hard,” Barrett said. “It helped me a lot because I learned how to hit moves on both sides of the body. That’s a big advantage, because usually it’s kind of funky to learn something the other way. I came out more hungry to win more.”
As the captain, Barrett brings the energy for the Lancers.
“I think he’s a great leader and a great wrestler,” teammate Jordon Champagne said. “He definitely gets us pumped up. I think he gets into the crowd and all the hype building up and I think he enjoys it and brings it all in.”
Barrett attributes much of his success to his teammates.
“Getting to this point in my career, I couldn’t have done it without any of my teammates,” Barrett said. “There’s been some rough times cutting weight when you need somebody to push you. They stand behind all my decisions and weight class decisions and how I wrestle. In the match they impact me, giving me positive energy to keep pushing through. We’re like a big family and I want us to have the best season.”
Barrett will be a name to watch this season, and the legacy he has already built may continue to grow.
“I’d like to be remembered as a great wrestler, obviously,” Barrett said. “But also a good leader in the room on and off the mat and in classes. Bringing my team to victories. Every win and loss is about everybody, not just one person. I’d like to be remembered as a great athlete in the school and in the town.”
Barrett plans to continue his wrestling career following high school and is already being looked at by a variety of schools at different collegiate levels.
United States Olympic wrestler Jordan Burroughs is one of Barrett’s idols and he and Lancers head coach Bryant Lishness focus on embracing the grind, something Burroughs stressed during his career.
“[Mike] is one of those guys that embraces the grind,” Lishness said. “He likes to work. He wants the harder work. He wants to get pushed and grind it out. He likes being tired and sweating. When it comes to the sport he really, really likes it and there’s other kids that don’t.”
“Some of the best with Mikey is that he’s fearless,” Lishness said. “He looks at the tough match and gets excited, because it’s a challenge. He wants to push himself and see what he can do. He’s never ducked anybody.”
Barrett knows coming out of New England and being successful isn’t the easiest. It doesn’t bother him at all.
“It’s weird coming out of Connecticut, because we’re not the strongest wrestling state, even though I think we’re the strongest wrestling state in New England as a whole,” Lishness said. “To get noticed and make big strides out of Connecticut is kind of difficult, but that excites him. He knows it’s a challenge, but he wants it.”
“Some kids from Connecticut go to that next level and they can’t handle the work and they don’t embrace the grind,” Lishness said. “He just eats it up and he wants it. I think the sky is the limit.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at or d