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  • Matt O'Rourke

2023-2024 WNY Wrestling Final Rankings, Standings, and Postseason Awards

Updated: Mar 6


Cover photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky


The 2023-2024 NYS high school wrestling season came to an end on Saturday, February 24th with the finals of the 61st annual NYSPHSAA Intersectional Wrestling Championships at MVP Arena in Albany.

 

Nine WNY wrestlers reached the state federation championship finals in their respective weight classes where two Section VI wrestlers achieved individual titles. In total, 26 out of 52 Section VI wrestlers placed in Albany with seventeen of those place winners in the Division II tournament, the 3rd most for the Section VI states team since the split division format was introduced exactly twenty years ago.

 

Likewise, wrestlers hailing from Msgr. Martin schools representing the NYS Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) broke numerous records for the league at the federation championships placing all six entries in their respective brackets while achieving its first ever pair of federation finalists.

 

Back in late January, the 2nd NYSPHSAA Girls' Wrestling Invitational was packed with talented athletes from the across the state and proved to even more competitive than the first edition of the event in 2023. Nine Section VI wrestlers placed in the tournament with one individual champion.

 

Section VI Dual Meet champions Niagara Wheatfield and Chautauqua Lake both represented Section VI in Syracuse for the 7th NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships, each earning top-5 seeds in their respective pools and each picking up a dual win.

 

The first day of practice this season was Monday, November 13th with the final day of the season being February 24th for another season of exactly 103 days representing 28% of the calendar year between the end of last season and the beginning of the new one.

 

The 2024-2025 season begins with the first date of official practice on Monday, November 18th. With a strong, core group of large school wrestlers, a big group of small school wrestlers returning with NYS tournament experience, a number of schools/teams with plans to grow their programs, and full sanctioning expected for NYS girls’ high school wrestling, anticipation for the upcoming season is already growing with around 250 days to go to the start of the next season in November.

 

Awards and Recognition

 

The WNY Wrestling Coaches Association (WNYWCA) once again hosted its 19th annual ‘Luncheon of Champions’ on Sunday, March 3rd that thoroughly honored and recognized the passing season’s outstanding wrestlers, coaches, and contributors with a number of special awards.


In addition to the WNYWCA’s outstanding lineup of awards, I would also like to recognize some wrestlers and coaches for noteworthy performances this year as well as some of the top moments from the 2023-2024 wrestling season.

 

Special recognition – head coach: TJ Scamurra, Williamsville South

 

Scamurra // Pataky


Special recognition – assistant coach: Ryan Gibbs, Chautauqua Lake

 

Gibbs (l) // Pataky


Special recognition – male athlete: Kenji Walters, Southwestern

 

Walters // Pataky


Special recognition – female athlete: Christina Evans, West Seneca West


Evans // Pataky

 

Best dual meet: #5 Amherst 32 – #7 Hamburg 30ECIC II dual, January 3rd, 2024. A forfeit-less ECIC II showdown with league implications on the line, Hamburg won seven bouts to Amherst’s six, but the Tigers got four pins and a technical fall to the Bulldogs’ three falls. A big pin by Riley Kirst halfway through the match was a huge difference maker before senior Killian Simonson won the final and match deciding bout with a 3-0 decision at 190-pounds to keep Amherst unbeaten with two league duals to go.

 

Newcomer of the year: Kahmari Cook, Lafayette/Buffalo Public Schools


Cook // Pataky

 

Unheralded Wrestler Award: Mikey Schaefer, Lancaster

 

Schaefer // Pataky


Selfless Soldier Award: Connor Miller, St. Francis


Miller // Pataky

Most Outstanding Wrestler (each league):

 

CCAA I: Jordan Joslyn, Chautauqua Lake

 

CCAA II: Matt Trim, Maple Grove


Trim // Pataky

 

Niagara Frontier: Caden Barrientos, Lewiston-Porter

 

Barrientos // Pataky


Niagara-Orleans: Jacob Stephenson, Wilson

 

Stephenson // Pataky


Msgr. Martin: Austin Zimmerman, St. Joe’s

 

Zimmerman // Pataky


ECIC I: Cam Catrabone, Williamsville North/East

 

ECIC II: Zak Saeed, Amherst

 

Saeed // Pataky


ECIC III: Trevor DellaPenta, Eden     

 

DellaPenta // Pataky


(All of the above awardees were picked by WNY Athletics’ Matt O’Rourke)

 

2023-2024 final team power rankings

 

The final WNY wrestling large and small school team power ranking of the 2023-2024 season.

 

Large schools

 

1. St. Francis Red Raiders

2. Niagara Wheatfield Falcons

3. Williamsville North/East Spartans

4. Clarence Red Devils

5. Amherst Tigers

6. Niagara Falls Wolverines

7. Hamburg Bulldogs

8. Lancaster Legends

9. Orchard Park Quakers

10. St. Joe’s Marauders

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Jamestown Red & Green

North Tonawanda Lumberjacks

Grand Island Vikings

 

Small schools

 

1. Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds

2. Southwestern Trojans

3. Falconer/Cassadaga Valley Golden Cougars

4. Newfane Panthers

5. Pioneer Panthers

6. Portville/Cuba-Rushford Panthers

7. Springville Griffins

8. Gowanda Panthers

9. Iroquois Chiefs

10. Randolph Cardinals

 

Honorable Mention:

 

Medina Mustangs

 

2023-2024 WNY wrestling top-10 moments

 

There are far more than ten great moments to reflect on from the 2023-2024 high school wrestling season, however these ten in particular stand out as the highlights of the past season.

 

(10) The new Buffalo Public Schools wrestling team hosted the district’s first ever varsity level match on Jan. 4th at Lafayette High School against Canisius. While by that point the BPS team had already wrestled three dual meets and picked up a dual win over East Aurora on Dec. 13th, the home dual against the Crusaders was the first varsity dual to take place at a BPS member school building.

 


(9) Springville entered a full lineup on the way to taking down Iroquois, 46-28, in their ECIC III dual on Jan. 24th for program’s first win over the Chiefs in three decades. The victory over Iroquois ultimately helped the Griffins to secure a share of the league dual meet title with the Chiefs with identical 5-1 ECIC III records. The share of the league championship is the first ECIC league dual wrestling title for Springville since the 1993-1994 season.


(8) Pioneer reached the 70 consecutive ECIC league program wins mark on Jan. 24th with a 51-29 ECIC II road win over Williamsville South. The Panthers’ incredible league win streak started on Jan. 13th, 2013, nearly eleven years to the day when the 2023-2024 team reached the 70-win milestone in January.


(7) In the second night of back to back duals against ranked league rivals, Clarence took down arch rival Lancaster in a Border Brawl instant classic. With the team trailing 32-27 with only one bout remaining, junior AJ Didas got the match sealing pin for the Red Devils to win the dual, 33-32, and secure a share of the 2nd place finish in ECIC I this season as well as the teams’ second 1-point league win in as many nights to wrap up their 2023-2024 dual schedule.   


(6) St. Francis senior heavyweight Jack Coughlin earned a critical pin in the Msgr. Martin All-Catholic Championships 285-pound final on Feb. 4th which helped to secure the come from behind All-Catholic team title for the Red Raiders by one point in the final bout of the tournament.  

 

(5) Defending champion Gabriella Barone overcame a 4-0 deficit early into the second period of the 100-pound final at the 2nd NYSPHSAA Girls’ Wrestling Invitational to capture her second straight Invitational title with a late third period pin over Bethpage’s (VIII) Gabrielle Severin on Jan. 26th. In the two editions of the tournament, Gabriella is now 8-0 with eight pins and two titles.


Barone // Pataky


(4) The Section VI Division II NYS tournament team placed seventeen of its twenty-six entered wrestlers at the state championships, led by Maple Grove senior and individual champion Matt Trim at 215-pounds and five more runners-up for the section’s best place finish since taking 2nd in 2018 while placing the third most wrestlers in one single state tournament since the split division large and small school format was introduced exactly years ago.

 

(3) St. Joe’s senior Austin Zimmerman became the first athlete in the history of the Msgr. Martin league to capture a fourth straight NYS CHSAA title amongst all sports and member schools in claiming the 116-pound title with a dominating performance at the 2024 CHSAA championships. Zimmerman went on to place 3rd at the state federation championships to become St. Joe’s’ first multiple time state place winner in over thirty years.

 

(2) St. Francis sophomores Griffin LaPlante and Zach Caldwell each won their semifinal matches in dramatic fashion in their respective brackets in Albany to become the Red Raiders’ and Msgr. Martin’s first ever NYS federation wrestling tournament finalists. On the Saturday of the state tournament, LaPlante was the first to punch his ticket to the title match with a 3-1 sudden victory overtime takedown in the 152-pound semifinal. Shortly thereafter, Caldwell earned a match sealing takedown in the waning seconds of the 190-pound semifinal to advance to the Division I finals with a 4-3 decision victory.

 

(1) Williamsville North senior Cam Catrabone became the first six-time Section VI champion on Feb. 10th with his final high school performance in WNY, earning three pins on the way to the Section VI Division I 152-pound title. Catrabone passed five, five-time Section VI champions to take sole ownership of the record for the most individual sectional titles in the 74-year history of the Section VI championships before winning his second NYS individual state title on Feb. 24th.

 

Catrabone // Pataky


2023-2024 WNY wrestling final standings












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