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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Mid-season Section VI wrestling report

It’s nearly mid-season for high school wrestling in upstate New York, but the course of the season takes a completely different route once Christmas rolls around; the two-pound weight allowance is applied to all weight classes.

What does this mean?

All weight classes become two pounds heavier meaning instead of having to weigh, for example, 132 pounds at a weigh in, one can now be eligible for the 132-pound class by weighing at maximum 134 pounds at a weigh in. Wrestlers whose certified minimum weight (the lowest that wrestler is allowed to weigh during the course of the season) may be, for example, 133 pounds. That wrestler wouldn’t have been eligible to wrestle in the 132-pound weight class before Christmas but is now eligible to do so since the new weight is essentially 134 pounds. This is commonly referred to as ‘coming down on weight.’

This will have major implications on dual meets as well as the state wrestling tournament at the end of the season.

However, wrestlers that plan on going a certain weight for the end of the season must qualify for that weight in at least 50% of that wrestler’s weigh-ins during the course of the season. Now is when things will get interesting, to say the least. Here is where we are at in terms of the top teams and wrestlers at Christmas 2017.

Top 3 large schools:

  1. Lancaster – Record 9-1, ECIC tournament champions, Penfield Hunter Tournament champions, wins over WNY #2 large school Grand Island and #4 small school Newfane

  2. Grand Island – Record 14-3, Phoenix Round Robin team champion, wins over WNY #2 small school Iroquois, #3 large school Niagara-Wheatfield, and St. Joe’s

  3. Niagara-Wheatfield – Record 5-2, wins over St. Joe’s and Webster-Schroeder (Sec. V)

Top 3 small schools:

  1. Pioneer – Record 9-1, Byron-Bergen Invitational champions, wins over WNY #4 small school Newfane and Victor (Sec. V)

  2. Iroquois – Record 10-1, win over #3 small school Falconer

  3. Falconer – Record 10-3, Joe Shifflet Tournament champions, STWOA tournament champions, win over WNY #2 large school Grand Island

Clarence is a close fourth in my large school rankings and could be the #3 in the coming weeks. I believe that Pioneer, Iroquois, and Falconer could be interchanged in my ranking. It’s very close. What I do believe is that they are clearly the top three small schools in Section VI.

Current league leaders:

Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association

Div. I: Chautauqua Lake – 4-0 league record

Div. II: Randolph – 2-0 league record

Erie County Interscholastic Conference

Div. I: Clarence – 4-0 league record

Div. II: Iroquois – 1-0 league record

Div. III: Pioneer – 3-0 league record

Niagara Frontier League

Niagara Falls – 2-0 league record

Niagara-Orleans League

Newfane – 3-0 league record

Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association

Canisius High School – 2-0 league record

Who to watch the rest of the season:

Division 1:

Will Justin McDougald of Niagara-Wheatfield (defending NYS tournament finalist) remain at 126 pounds or move down to 120? The Falcon sophomore is certified to wrestle 120 and with the post-Christmas two-pound allowance the new weight to make is 122. If McDougald is looking ahead to potentially getting back to the state final, nationally #1 ranked Adam Busiello of Eastport-South Manor (Section XI) sits at 126. Greg Diakomihalis of Hilton (Section V) defeated McDougald in last years’ final and currently sits at #1 in the state at 120 pounds. Willie McDougald of Niagara Falls (6th place NYS tournament 2017) is currently #2 in the state at 132 pounds behind only defending state champion Justin Vines of Wantagh (Section VIII). Willie has wrestled at 138 pounds thus far this season but may very well drop to 132, now 134 pounds, keeping in mind another nationally #1 ranked wrestler at 138 in Jacori Teemer of Long Beach (Section VIII). A pair of defending Section VI champions were listed in the top five preseason state rankings for Division 1 145 pounds in Warren McDougald of Niagara-Wheatfield (6th in NYS 2017 at 132 pounds) and Ryan Stencel of Lancaster (defending 138-pound sectional champion). Watch for Joe Andreessen of Lancaster (5th at NYS tournament 2017) currently ranked #2 in the state at 195 to go down to 195 from 220 where he has wrestled most of this season thus far. Andreessen is ranked only behind Joe Franzese of John Glenn (Section XI) who was 4th in NYS in 2017 at the same weight as Andreessen. Jaquan Johnson is a name many people don’t know but a wrestler that I have currently as an under the radar individual. The Grand Island senior currently isn’t ranked in the top five in the state in big schools however I believe Johnson has the size, athleticism, and heart to be very disruptive at the state tournament in February.

Division 2:

Look out for another potential move in weights in Zach Braddell of Tonawanda potentially dropping from 132 to the 126-pound weight class following Christmas. The 2016 Section VI champion (4th place NYS in 2016) is certified for 126 and would avoid a stacked 132-pound class which also features defending Section VI champion and NYS finalist Hector Colom of Fredonia. The move could potentially set up a showdown with another Hillbilly wrestler and defending sectional champion Dalton Gardner. One wrestler I have flying under the radar right now is Johnny Putney of East Aurora. The Blue Devil junior is undefeated this season and went to states as wildcard last year. Putney was not listed in the top five of the preseason state rankings however I believe he has the potential to make the podium in Albany in February. Putney could end up going 138 at the end of the season as well as 145. Watch for Iroquois junior Cory Day and Falconer senior Dylan Ingrao at 152. Day is a defending sectional finalist in Division One who already has a win over Ingrao from opening weekend. Ingrao is a defending sectional champion and 4th place at the state tournament last season. Since Iroqouis is now in Division Two look out for this potential rematch later in the season. Keep an eye out for a host of upper-middle weights from Division Two in Section VI in Bryce Rowe from Chautauqua Lake, Dan Torres, Robbie Penhollow, and Corey Keefe all of Falconer, Giuseppe Hoose from Southwestern, Zak Trim and Shane Hetrick from Maple Grove, and Anthony Robinson from Starpoint. Torres, Trim, and Keefe are all defending sectional champions. Torres and Keefe took 5th and 6th in the state last season in their respective weight classes.

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