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Barone Repeats, Nine Section VI Wrestlers Place at State Invitational

Cover photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky

Niagara Wheatfield 8th grader Gabriella Barone repeated as NYSPHSAA Girls’ Invitational champion on Friday at the 2nd edition of the tournament in Syracuse. Barone was one of nine Section VI student athletes to place out of thirty one wrestlers representing the area.  


This year’s event saw nearly double the number of applications for entry over the 2023 tournament as over 700 wrestlers from across the eleven NYSPHSAA administrative sections sent in applications to participate. Over 1300 public school female student-athletes certified to wrestle at the varsity and junior varsity level in New York State this season, but only 208 wrestlers are selected to fill out sixteen bracket spots in thirteen weight classes at the Invitational.


For the second year in a row Barone dominated the 100-pound field earning four straight pins to capture the Invitational title.


In the Friday night final, the top seeded Falcons 8th grader met 2-seeded Gabrielle Severin from Section VIII’s Bethpage in the final.

After three and a half minutes of wrestling, Barone found herself in a 4-0 hole after being taken down twice and struggling to get out from the bottom position.



With less than thirty seconds remaining in the 2nd period, Barone earned a crucial reversal to cut into the lead now trailing 4-2 to start the third period.


Not even a minute into the third period, Barone defended a shot attempt by Severin and was able to not only get the takedown for herself, but put Severin into criteria, ultimately holding on to earn the title sealing pin with around forty seconds remaining in the bout.



Barone is now 8-0 with eight pins and back to back Invitational titles through two years of the tournament. The very first NYSPHSAA girls’ individual championship is already being planned for the 2024-2025 season.


Barone with Niagara Wheatfield coaches Bill Edwards (l) and Bill Ploetz (r) // Pataky

Also reaching the Friday night final representing Section VI were Newfane 8th grader Alexa Doxey at 132-pounds and Iroquois sophomore Michaela Thomas at 165.


Doxey returned to the Invitational final after having reached the title bout in the 2023 Invitational where she was the runner-up at 126-pounds.

On Friday, Alexa posted a 3-1 record on the day but fell in the title match to 2-seeeded Mia Collins from Section II’s Ballston Spa. In the semifinal, Doxey gutted out a 5-2 decision over 4-seeded Crisia Bonilla from Section VIII’s Great Neck South to advance back to the final.

Newfane's Doxey // Pataky


Returning Invitational 3rd place winner Michaela Thomas earned two pins in the championship bracket to reach the 165-pound semifinal.

In the semi, the 3-seeded Iroquois sophomore met returning finalist in 2-seeded Lilly Sorenson from Homer (III). With a 2-2 tie in the 2nd overtime, Thomas earned two crucial back points over Sorenson to take 4-2 lead into the final thirty seconds. A body lock by Michaela made it a 4-3 score, but Thomas would hold on to win to advance to the title match against Section I’s Adriana Palumbo.

Iroquois's Thomas // Pataky

Thomas ultimately fell to Palumbo to land a 2nd place finish, improving on her 3rd place finish at 152-pounds in 2023.


Lockport’s returning Invitational 3rd place winner Ava Bragg landed the 4-seed at 165-pounds but fell in the very first round on Friday. Bragg went on to win four straight consolation matches by pin to reach the 3rd place match where she was an impressive 7-1 decision winner over Homer’s Sorenson to capture bronze for the second time.

Lockport's Bragg // Pataky

Bragg with Lockport coaches Bill Morello, Sr (l) and Bill Morello, Jr (r)


Chautauqua Lake’s Noli Paddock and West Seneca West’s Christina Evans each claimed 4th place in their respective brackets on Friday.


Impressive 8th grader Paddock earned the 4-seed at 126-pounds in her first appearance at the Invitational. Paddock, who was also part of the lineup for the Section VI Division II Dual Meet champion Eagles, reached the semifinal and pushed the eventual champion, but fell by decision 11-5 to drop into the consolation where she ultimately finished 4th in the bracket. Noli was one of five Eagles to compete on Friday who boasted the third most wrestlers of any one team at the Invitational.

Chautauqua Lake's Paddock // Pataky


Returning Invitational finalist Christina Evans earned the 2-seed at 145-pounds and reached the semifinal for the second consecutive tournament, ultimately falling to New Paltz’s (IX) Rebecca Brennan by a narrow 3-0 decision. Brennan went on to pin the top seeded returning champion to take first in the bracket. Evans then dropped into the consolation bracket, picking up her third pin of the day to reach the 3rd place bout but ultimately settling for 4th in the weight class.

West Seneca West's Evans // Pataky



In her second appearance at the Invitational, Frontier junior Avery White posted a 4-2 record to achieve a 5th place finish at 138-pounds. In the crucial consolation blood round, White earned a late takedown in the first overtime period to secure a 4-2 decision over Maple Hill’s (II) Aiyana Santana to guarantee a podium finish. Avery secured 5th in the bracket in her final bout of the day with a third period pin over East Rochester’s (V) Talulah Williams-Johnson.

Frontier's White // Pataky



Lake Shore junior Alexiya Thuman (132) and Sweet Home senior Yaletsy Tamayo (185) each landed 6th place finishes in their respective brackets joining Frontier’s White to be the first wrestlers to place at the Invitational from their schools.

Lake Shore's Thuman // Pataky

Sweet Home's Tamayo // Pataky

Out of thirty one Section VI entries to the tournament, twenty two wrestlers won at least one match while Lockport’s Bragg won a team high five bouts on Friday. Three more wrestlers posted 2-2 records just barely missing podium finishes falling in the blood round.

Fredonia's Meyah Aponte // Pataky

North Tonawanda's Hannah McCarley // Pataky

Orchard Park's Marissa Tara // Pataky

Niagara Wheatfield's Emma Greene // Pataky

Chautauqua Lake's Gabriella Testa // Pataky

Lockport's Khamya'J Maxwell // Pataky

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