BRISTOL - The No. 2-ranked Bristol Eastern wrestling team has seen much success in the last two years, going undefeated in dual meets in 2017 (19-0) and 2018 (15-0), but if the Lancers don’t perform to the best of their ability in the postseason, that record means nothing.
“It’s really about the Class L state tournament,” Bristol Eastern head coach Bryant Lishness said. “That’s where we want to show what we can do. To be honest, this year we haven’t really thought a lot about being undefeated. I don’t mean that in a bolster way. They’ve really been focusing on trying to produce for the states.”
The Lancers will be competing in the CCC Invitational meet at Berlin on Saturday as they fuel up for next week’s Class L state championships.
“Our team is looking to take the CCC, Class L and State Opens,” 106-pound wrestler Bryce Beebe said. “My goals are to win the L’s as a team and individually and move on to Opens and hopefully win that. I want a lot of first places for our team and myself.”
Part of the Lancers’ success comes from senior 160-pound wrestler Michael Barrett. This season Barrett has only lost to one competitor, as he finished off the regular season 33-1.
But when it came to competing in the annual city series against Bristol Eastern, Barrett’s competitor, Andrew Beaucar of Bristol Central, forfeited.
“I kind of knew it was coming,” Barrett said. “Just because of the move I did last year.”
Barrett performed a cartwheel just seconds into the match and turned the surprising move into a takedown. He ultimately pinned Bristol Central’s Connor Feeney-Wallace in 33 seconds.
“I was bummed I didn’t even get to have a match this year,” Barrett said.
Barrett is a wrestler who likes to work. He is always trying to work harder and harder every day.
“Some of the best with Mikey is that he’s fearless,” Lishness said earlier this year. “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 attributes much of his success to his teammates.
“They have helped me get to where I am today,” Barrett said. “They help me train, cut wait, keep me dedicated to what I’m doing and it’s just a never ending journey and I have a long way to go. This is just the start.”
Coming into the season, Barrett set the bar high. He had just come off a stellar junior year as a state champion, third place finisher at New Englands and going 3-2 at Nationals.
One of his goals for the season was to go completely undefeated, and with one loss, he did a pretty good job with sticking close to that goal.
As the postseason finally approaches, Barrett will be put to the ultimate test. Will he continue his success or will he meet his match?
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org