NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — Members of the West Essex wrestling team are picking up where they left off last season in major part due to the performance of junior Carson Barry, who has his sights set on the NJSIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Atlantic City.

The 138-pounder has been incredible in 2020, sporting a record of 30-5 with more than a dozen pin-fall victories under his belt. Over the last two weeks, Barry was a catalyst in the team’s second consecutive trip to the state section semifinals and ultimately helped the Knights defend their section title. 

“I’m just practicing constantly, eating healthy, staying on weight and just staying focused,” said Barry, who is a staple on a squad that has a number of state championship hopefuls this year as the defending state section champions. “Coming into the season, I knew the team would have a lot of energy, and I was ready for it.”

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As in most high school athletics, the growth has been immense for Barry between his sophomore and junior seasons.

“Throughout the entire offseason, I was working out, going to club and trying to stay crisp,” said Barry, who battled through a year-round training program to improve the nuances of his abilities.

After spending week upon week training at his club, Barry has become a fierce competitor inside the circle.

“My neutral game I’d want to work on more, because that’s where most of my wrestling is,” he said, adding that he is in top shape to continue the strong season he’s built thus far. “I’m working on my takedowns and everything.”

According to Barry, the Knights were ready and willing to defend their section title and ultimately did so, defeating Warren Hills, 34-31, in the final round on Friday.

The group also advanced to the final round of the NJSIAA Group Championships, but fell to Montville, 34-33, on Sunday.