After the match, Coach C.D. Mock called Barber the MVP of the night.
“Cottrell was a very tough kid,” he said. “But Barber was more aggressive and was the better wrestler: a huge win for Christian.
“We lost so many matches by a point last year, so it’s good to get one.”
“After losing a tight dual earlier this year to Stanford, it was good to be on the other side of one of those,” Utley said.
As excited as Barber was to pick up the win from an individual standpoint, he knew that his match — and the six points he picked up with it — could help the team get back on track.
The Tar Heels did exactly that, with Ethan Ramos, Joey Ward and Utley all picking up critical bonus points after Barber’s win.
“It was a good win, and we were able to score a lot of bonus points that we ended up needing,” said Utley, who was victorious in his 184-pound bout. “We let up some early pins, but we did a great job fighting back and getting the win.”
Despite trailing at intermission, the UNC wrestling team rallied its way past the Mountaineers to earn its first dual victory of the season.
“It was definitely a good feeling to beat someone that’s a tough opponent,” Barber said. “I don’t think it was my best performance, but I was pretty psyched to come out on top and it was satisfying to win after grinding it out in an eight-minute match.”
For Utley, he’s optimistic that the experience of competing in tight situations will help his team in the future.
“A lot of duals come down to just a few points,” Utley said. “So it was a great experience for our guys to learn how to win a close dual, so there are a lot of positives that we can take away from this.”