Decorated wrestler: ‘No better feeling than getting your hand raised’

Captain is a role model for junior teammates


With achievements as a four-time all-county winner, three-time Section XI champion, sixth in the state, and tied for fifth in all time wins for Bayport-Blue Point High School with 111 victories, Kyle Barber has proven to be among the best wrestlers in BBP history, but also a scholar athlete who has distinguished himself in service to his team.

“Kyle’s journey as a Phantom on the wrestling team is a testament to his dedication and passion for the sport,” said coach, David Cruz.

“Early on, his father introduced him to the sport and would take him to youth tournaments. However, it was in eighth grade that Kyle truly made his mark, showcasing his skills with a remarkable 21-8 record on varsity and an impressive third-place finish in the Section XI tournament,” said Cruz.

With a flourishing wrestling career, Cruz said Kyle has made a “positive” and “inspiring” impression on his teammates and those around him.

“Kyle stands out among his peers in wrestling for several remarkable qualities that set him apart as an athlete,” said Cruz. “First, his athleticism is simply unparalleled, often leaving spectators in awe with his agility and strength. Yet, what truly distinguishes Kyle is his coachability, always eager to learn and adapt his technique to refine his skills further. His work ethic is evident in every practice and match, demonstrating a level of dedication that has inspired his teammates.”

Describing the team as “truly special,” Kyle said he and his teammates “were always on our feet cheering for whoever was wrestling. We backed each other up every step of the way. We were just teammates, but it truly felt like a little family.”

As someone with “natural” leadership, Kyle has served as a captain who has led by example and developed a camaraderie that has helped make him a tangible role model for younger wrestlers.

“Wrestling is more than just a sport and will teach you life lessons like discipline and hard work. I would tell younger students to always listen to their coaches and to never give up on it,” said Kyle.

Preparation for a match is what Kyle considers his greatest challenge. “You must always feel mentally and physically ready. The greatest reward without a doubt is getting your hand raised after all the work you put into that match. There is no better feeling then getting your hand raised.”

For this resounding success of a season, Kyle said his greatest challenge was “not being able to get in on my opponents’ legs. The week before the county championship, I had only been working on my leg attacks. In the counties, I had used what I have practiced and got multiple takedowns from my leg attack.”

With Kyle’s adaptive “coachability,” he counts his coaches, Dave Cruz, Doug Iadanza, and Dan O’Maley as his most admired influences.

“They have always helped me at my lowest points and grew me into the wrestler and person I am today,” said Kyle.

“My father was also a huge influence toward me… He was always my No. 1 supporter and I will forever appreciate him.”

Parents Michelle and Danny said, “Wrestling has shaped Kyle into a dedicated, hardworking, yet kind and humble athlete. Seeing Kyle win his third Suffolk County Wrestling Championship and having him represent Suffolk County at the New York State Championship tournament was an unbelievable journey that we will be forever proud of.”
“Kyle certainly has left his footprint in our wrestling program and will go down in the annals of time as one of the most accomplished wrestlers,” said Tim Mullins, athletic director for BBP.

With graduation in a few months, Kyle reflected on his successful high school career as an athlete. “My time as a wrestler will resonate in my life in many ways. After wrestling, I will work hard in everything I do. It will make me work better through hard times because once you wrestle, everything else is easy.”


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