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Newfane, Southwestern Wrestling Stars Shine; Section VI Division II Wrestling Championships Roundup

Cover photo courtesy courtesy of Michelle Gilbert. All photos featured within article are courtesy of Michelle Gilbert.

Newfane and Southwestern accounted for six of the thirteen Section VI Division II wrestling champions and eight of the twenty-six wrestlers who will move on to the NYS individual championships next weekend in Albany. All three of Newfane’s top seeded wrestlers – freshman Aidan Gillings (132-pounds) and seniors Simon Lingle (189) and Charles LaRose (285) – defended their top spots on the way to individual sectional titles. Senior Adam Huntington also earned a trip to Albany with a runner-up performance at 145-pounds.

Newfane’s four state tournament qualifiers at the Section VI Division II championships

Southwestern’s top seeded brothers Tavio and Dontae Hoose defended their seeds at 172 and 215-pounds, respectively, while 2-seeded 8th grade sensation Carmine Calimeri claimed Section VI gold at 102-pounds. After taking a loss in the semifinals, Trojans sophomore Kenji Walters wrestled back to the ‘true 2nd place’ at 110-pounds to earn an automatic qualification to the state championships.

As only an 8th grader at 172-pounds, Tavio Hoose entered the weekend with an impressive 35-4 record. After wrestling the first half of the season at 189, Tavio and Southwestern’s coaches considered going down to 172 for the stretch run of the season. As it turns out, it was a move that paid big returns for the rising Trojans star.

“As soon as he got to 172, it fixed everything,” said Southwestern head coach John Vogan. “He wrestles on his feet, he’s confident, he doesn’t stall, he pressures forward. Making that jump down was really a turning point in his season.”

Southwestern’s Tavio Hoose after winning the Section VI Division II 172-pound title on Saturday, February 12th

Tavio, Walters, and Calimeri, who is also a returning sectional place winner from 2021, will all make their first trips to the NYS championships while returning 2020 NYS 6th place winner Dontae Hoose will make his second appearance in Albany as a small school state title hopeful.

The Trojans sent four wrestlers to the state tournament previously in 2005. All four wrestlers placed in the top four with three reaching the finals led by 215-champion Matt Mazgaj to lead Southwestern to the state tournament individual team score title.

Southwestern’s four state tournament qualifiers and coaches

Ten of the thirteen top seeded wrestlers in Division II captured sectional titles on Saturday with only three ‘upsets,’ two of which were by 2-seeds. Eden senior Johnny Vicario was the lowest seeded wrestler to claim a title coming from the 4-seed spot in the chaotic 126-pound bracket. Besides 126, every single other number one seeded wrestler reached the Saturday night final.

While ten of thirteen top seeded wrestlers kept the status quo for the most part in the finals, Division II saw a whopping ten true second place matches featuring the finals runner-up and a wrestler that the runner-up had not previously seen on the day. Out of ten true second place matches, four wrestlers who didn’t make their final earned themselves a trip to Albany including Southwestern’s Walters, Medina’s Gavin Ciarfella (126), Barker/Royalton-Hartland’s Zack Hill (189), and Randolph’s Ryan Carpenter (285).

“The true second was amazing,” said Southwestern’s Vogan. “I’m so glad we’re doing it…it was really exciting. It was a grind. The guy that wrestles back has to win three in a row to get that true second (if he loses in the semifinal).”

102 

The third meeting of the season between defending sectional champion in Medina’s Dominick Callara and SW’s Carmine Calimeri in the 102-pound final provided as much entertainment as their previous two meetings this season. Each wrestler had one head to head pin win over the other going into Saturday, and it was Calimeri who earned the championship-sealing pin twenty seconds into the third period in the final. Calimeri’s title was the first of three on the night for SW. In the true second match, Callara held off impressive Newfane 7th grader Brayden Kellison-Neglia by decision, 7-5, to secure an auto-qualifier spot in Albany. Other place winners were Lewiston-Porter’s Jaron Barrientos in 4th place, Medina’s Reece Senske in 5th, and Newfane’s JJ Lucinski in 6th.

Southwestern 8th grader Carmine Calimeri captures the Section VI Division II 102-pound title 

110

Top seeded Eden sophomore Bryce DellaPenta cruised to the Section VI Division II 110-pound title earning a quarterfinal pin and identical 10-2 major decision victories in both the semifinal and final. Cheektowaga senior Aaron Raczka reached the final with two fast pins, but after falling in the title bout met SW’s Walters for true second. Walters’ 4-2 decision victory propelled him to the ‘true 2nd place’ and a trip to the upcoming state tournament. Raczka’s final place in the bracket is 3rd while Pioneer freshman Wyatt Opferbeck finished 4th overall. Falconer’s Karsen Lundgren finished 5th overall and Wilson’s Victor Cusatis was 6th to roundup the place winners.

118 

The highly anticipated rematch showdown between top seeded Chautauqua Lake sophomore Jordan Joslyn, a returning sectional finalist, and Pioneer senior, two-time defending Section VI champion and 2020 NYS 4th place finisher Dan Kirsch was the marquee match of the night in the Section VI Division II wrestling championships. Both wrestlers earned impressive victories in the quarter and semifinal rounds over high quality opponents in the extremely talented 118-pound field that featured five returning or former sectional place winners. The Joslyn/Kirsch final did not disappoint as the pair went into overtime with a 2-2 score. Kirsch was a 4-3 winner in the third overtime using a reversal to seal the victory for his third straight Section VI title which also earned him tournament MOW honors. Meanwhile, Joslyn faced two-time returning sectional place winner Caden Barrientos from Lewiston-Porter in the true 2nd place match. It was another nail bitter for the Thunderbirds sophomore as Joslyn used a five-point move in overtime to break a 1-1 match score. Joslyn will join Kirsch in Albany as an auto-qualifier in a bracket where Section VI should expect two place winners. Barrientos finished 3rd in the brutal weight class followed by East Aurora/Holland’s Nolan Skowronski in 4th, Randolph’s Caden Inkley in 5th, and Fredonia’s Lucas Hoffman in 6th.

Chautauqua Lake’s Jordan Joslyn and Pioneer’s Dan Kirsch square off in the 118-pound Division II championship bout

Pioneer’s Dan Kirsch was awarded tournament MOW after claiming the Section VI Division II 118-pound title

126

The only small school bracket of the entire tournament that didn’t feature the top seeded wrestler saw Eden senior and two-time defending sectional placer Johnny Vicario capture the Section VI title as the 4-seed in the bracket. Vicario was a 5-3 decision winner over top seeded 2020 state tournament qualifier Gavin Ciarfella from Medina in the semifinal round to advance to the championship match. Vicario’s finals opponent was Newfane’s impressive freshman in 2-seed Ayden Buttery. Buttery earned a high quality 4-2 overtime thriller in the semis over 3-seeded Pioneer junior Xander Kirsch that caught the attention of wrestling fans throughout the area on Saturday morning. Vicaro’s 4-1 finals victory secured an auto-qualifier spot in Albany and Eden’s second title of the night. Meanwhile, Ciarfella wrestled back to 3rd place to set up a true 2nd showdown with Buttery for a third and final meeting of the year. Ciarfella’s 8-3 win secured a return trip to Albany for the Mustangs sophomore. After an impressive first two seasons Buttery had to settle for 3rd in Section VI followed by Kirsch in 4th place, Newfane’s Miguel Salas in 5th, and Lake Shore’s Blake Hageman in 6th.

132

Newfane freshman Aidan Gillings wasted no time in claiming his second career Section VI title with a first period pin in the 132-pound small school final on Saturday. Top seeded returning 2020 NYS 4th place winner ‘Gilly’ earned a first minute pin in the quarters before toughing a 7-0 decision in the semifinal. Gilly’s impressive first period pin in the final earned him an auto-qualifier entry to the NYS tournament. 3-seeded Chautauqua Lake junior Trent Burchanowski earned one of the ‘upsets’ of the day taking down 2020 NYS 7th place finisher and returning sectional champion Michael Schiffhauer from Iroquois in the semifinals. Schiffhauer wrestled back to a 3rd place finish, but the true 2nd place match was unnecessary as Burchanowski was already a head to head winner from the semifinal round. Burchanowski will join 118-pound runner-up Joslyn in Albany to represent Chautauqua Lake. Placing fourth in the bracket was Falconer’s Karsen DePasquale, in 5th was Iroquois’s Brady Wilkinson, and in 6th was CL’s Jack Bourgeois.

138

The fourth 1-seed vs. 2-seed finals matchup in the first six weights saw top seeded 2020 Section VI champion Ryan Sweeney defeat 2021 Section VI champion Shane Walczyk in a quality 8-6 decision match for the 138-pound title. Sweeney was a first round winner by pin before earning a 12-5 decision over 2020 NYS 5th place winner Martin Ohlsson from Chautauqua Lake in the semifinal. On the bottom side of the bracket, Walczyk cruised with a quarterfinal pin and a 16-5 major decision over Falconer’s 3-seeded Austin Chase in the semi. Sweeney’s finals victory was the fourth meeting of the season between the two Section VI veterans, all of which were wins for Sweeney. Albion senior Amilcar Morales wrestled back to the true 2nd match after having fell in the semifinal round. However, Walczyk defended his place finish with a wild 12-11 decision over Morales in the true 2nd match to secure an auto-qualification to the state tournament. Morales finished 3rd in the bracket followed by CL’s Carson Fairbank in 4th, Chase in 5th, and Ohlsson in 6th.

145

Top seeded Maple Grove senior Luke Tomlinson finally secured an individual Section VI title after two prior runner-up finishes and a 3rd placement three years ago. Tomlinson, a 200+ match winner and 2020 state tournament participant, earned two pins leading up to Saturday’s final where he met 2-seed Newfane journeyman senior Adam Huntington for a rematch of the Class C/D final. Huntington, who has also had a very strong senior campaign, held Tomlinson to another close decision but fell 4-2 in the championship match. Huntington did have to wrestle the true 2nd place bout afterward, but was a major decision winner to defend his auto-qualifier spot for a final opportunity to compete in Albany. Albion’s Ellwood Hafner finished 3rd overall in the bracket followed by B/R-H’s 7-seeded Quinn Brown in 4th, Iroquois’s Ethan Pfeiffer in 5th, and Falconer’s Jacob Clark in 6th.

Maple Grove’s Luke Tomlinson wrestles Newfane’s Adam Huntington in the Section VI Division II 145-pound championship match

152

Two-time defending Section VI champion and 2020 NYS 5th place finisher Dakota Mascho captured his third sectional title and auto-qualifier to the NYS individual championships in winning the small school 152-pound title. Mascho earned two first period pins before meeting 2-seeded Pioneer junior and returning sectional finalist Brady Heckathorn in the final. Heckathorn pushed Mascho in a very tight final bout, but Mascho ultimately earned the 2-1 decision victory. Heckathorn earned two quality pins leading up to the finals and secured a trip to Albany in the true 2nd place bout with a 7-1 decision victory over CL’s John Watson. Watson finished 3rd in the weight class followed by Franklinville’s Evan Leonard in 4th, Albion’s Alex Hafner at 5th, and Falconer’s Dalton Caldwell in 6th.

160

Springville’s top seeded senior Nick Brown became the first Griffin since 2017 to claim a Section VI title with a late 2nd period pin in Saturday’s sectional title match. Brown gutted out an 11-9 decision in the semifinal over CL’s Jayden Malecki to reach the final for the second year in a row. Meeting Brown in the title match was Pioneer senior Donald Bennett to set up their third meeting of the season. Bennett, who has been a staple in the Panthers’ lineup over the last five years, earned an opportunity to compete in Albany for the first time with his runner-up performance, joining teammates Kirsch and Heckathorn on the road to Albany. The true 2nd place wasn’t needed in this weight as Bennett was a major decision winner over 3rd placer Neves Hoose from Southwestern in the semifinal round. Malecki finished 4th overall in the bracket with Fredonia’s George McNaughtan and Falconer’s Bryant Morrison finishing 5th and 6th, respectively.

172

Top seeded 8th grade Southwestern star Tavio Hoose proved why he deserved the seed on Saturday with an impressive performance beating three seniors on the way to the 172-pound Section VI Division II title. Tavio earned a pin in quarterfinals before getting revenge for an 8-2 loss back on January 14th to Falconer’s 4-seeded Kyle Keefe in the semifinals. Hoose met 2-seeded Randolph star Luke Pagett in the final for their fifth meeting of the 2021-2022 season. Tavio improved to 5-0 against the Cardinals’ multi-talented athlete with a 7-2 victory in the sectional final on Saturday. In the true second bout, Pagett held off 3-seeded Dawson Russo in overtime to salvage a chance to compete in a NYSPHSAA championship for the second time this senior year. Wilson’s Ben Wortkoetter claimed 4th in the weight class followed by Keefe in 5th and Maryvale’s Robert Rohde in 6th.

189

Newfane senior Simon Lingle completed his senior year goal of winning an individual Section VI title on Saturday and an auto-qualifier entry to the NYS tournament to go with it. The top seeded Panther met three Class B 189-pound athletes on Saturday including a finals decision over Iroquois senior Ricky Hess, 5-2, in their second meeting this season. Joining Lingle in Albany will be Niagara-Orleans rival Zack Hill from Barker/Royalton-Hartland, who lost in the quarterfinal round and wrestled all the way back to claim true second place with a 4-1 win over Hess in the finale. After losing to N-O rival Dayne Aina, 8-0, in the quarters, Hill put on one of the gutsiest performances of the weekend winning four straight decisions 4-1, 8-6 (OT), 5-2, and again 4-1 to earn not only his first sectional placement but trip to states as well. Hess finished 3rd in the weight and Aina 4th followed by Maple Grove’s Matt Trim in 5th and Wilson’s Breckyn Schultz in 6th.

215

2020 Section VI champion and 6th place NYS finisher Dontae Hoose capped off an impressive night for the Trojans with earning his second career sectional title on the way back to states. Hoose earned two pins before gutting out a close 2-0 finals victory over Iroquois’s stud sophomore Trevor Barry in the championship match. Section VI will send two of the most athletic wrestlers in the state at the weight class with Hoose being amongst the favorites in championship conversation next weekend. Barry dominated with two pins as well on the way to the final and was not required to wrestle for the true 2nd spot. Wilson’s Xavier Fitzgibbon finished 3rd in the weight class having to earn back to back overtime wins in the consolation semifinal and final to do so. Chautauqua Lake’s Ison Shirley finished 4th overall with Portville’s Hayden Emely and B/R-H’s Dan Moore finishing 5th and 6th, respectively.

Southwestern’s Dontae Hoose wrestles Iroquois’s Trevor Barry in the 215-pound Division II championship match 

285

Defending Section VI champion Charles LaRose earned the third and final individual title of the day for Newfane at heavyweight. LaRose earned a pin in the quarters before gutting out a 4-0 decision over Falconer’s David Stein in the semis. Lackawanna’s 6-seeded Abdulrhman Aloudt Alla took down the 3 and 2-seeds on the way to the final, both by pin, before meeting LaRose in the championship bout. LaRose was a second period winner by pin to claim his second straight sectional title and the fourth Division II heavyweight title in a row for Newfane Panthers wrestlers. Randolph’s 4-seeded Ryan Carpenter battled back from a quarterfinals loss to claim true 2nd place and an auto-qualifier entry to Albany with a quick pin over Aloudt Alla in the final bout of the night. Aloudt Alla finished 3rd in the weight class. Chautauqua Lake’s Gavin Segovia finished 4th followed by Stein in 5th place and Wilson’s Hamza Merrick in 6th.

Section VI Division II NYS tournament entries by weight:

102 – Carmine Calimeri – Southwestern, Dominick Callara – Medina

110 – Bryce DellaPenta – Eden, Kenji Walters – Southwestern

118 – Dan Kirsch – Pioneer, Jordan Joslyn – Chautauqua Lake

126 – Johnny Vicario – Eden, Gavin Ciarfella – Medina

132 – Aidan Gillings – Newfane, Trent Burchanowski – Chautauqua Lake

138 – Ryan Sweeney – Iroquois, Shane Walczyk – Eden

145 – Luke Tomlinson – Maple Grove, Adam Huntington – Newfane

152 – Dakota Mascho – Portville, Brady Heckathorn – Pioneer

160 – Nick Brown – Springville, Donald Bennett – Pioneer

172 – Tavio Hoose – Southwestern, Luke Pagett – Randolph

189 – Simon Lingle – Newfane, Zack Hill – Barker/Royalton-Hartland

215 – Dontae Hoose – Southwestern, Trevor Barry – Iroquois

285 – Charles LaRose – Newfane, Ryan Carpenter – Randolph

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