The Times West Virginian

Sports

March 4, 2014

Barber, Alvaro, Delligatti claim titles for FSHS 

FAIRMONT — Fairmont Senior’s senior duo of Anthony Alvaro and Vincent Delligatti were almost expected to win state championships. But Brent Barber? That was the highlight of the weekend for a Polar Bear team which tied for fifth overall and had four of its six wrestlers place.

Barber, who just finished his second season as a wrestler, claimed the team’s third individual state championship with a win over Caije Nichols of Roane County in overtime in the last match of the evening. The intensity of the bout matched the intensity of emotions and the circumstances under which he wrestled.

As the junior grappler won the match, his teammates and family shared in the sheer joy of the win by shedding tears of their own as Barber’s great-grandfather, Leo DeMary, had passed away just a week before.

During that same week, Barber had placed third at the regional tournament to punch his ticket to the state tournament. But Barber wasn’t even going to wrestle in that tournament, one of his family members said.

Johnna Uveges, Barber’s aunt, said that the two sat together in the hospital as DeMary passed. On the ride home, Barber told Uveges that he wasn’t going to wrestle the following day at regionals. But after dealing with a personal issue herself, Uveges told Barber that he needed to do it. For his grandpa.

What happened the next few days and the following week at the state tournament, Uveges said, was just unbelievable.

“He just had this drive about it,” she said. “I just felt like my grandpa was there with him.”

Alvaro and Delligatti both said the feeling that overcame them all was indescribable.

“In those last few seconds, it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced,” Alvaro said. “Brent winning felt better to me than me winning. I couldn’t even explain the feeling.

“He walked off the mat crying and it brought a tear to my eyes. We shared a great moment.”

For Barber, it was a burden lifted.

Asked what he felt afterward, the 285-pound heavyweight answered, “A sigh of relief.”

Uveges said that the win brought the family together in Huntington and brought the moment full circle.

“We were all in tears. Even my dad, who never cries,” she said. “It was just meant to be that we suffered a tragedy and now we have something to celebrate.”

Barber hopes that he can give his family more to celebrate when he steps back onto the mat next season.

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