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Preview: Starpoint, Wheatfield, Chautauqua Lake Head to 5th NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Wrestling Championshi

The 5th NYSPHSAA Wrestling Dual Meet Championships starts on Saturday morning at 9am at SRC Arena on the campus of Onondaga County Community College in Syracuse.

Section VI champions Starpoint and Chautauqua Lake and wildcard entry Niagara Wheatfield will represent WNY this weekend. #2 state ranked Starpoint takes their 2-seed and unbeaten record into the Duals looking to capitalize on last year’s semifinals performance.

Chautauqua Lake will make the program’s first appearance at the Duals with an opportunity to challenge the top seed and returning Duals champion Tioga Tigers in the first round.

Finally, the Falcons will make the program’s third appearance at the Duals and, like CL, will meet the defending large school champion Minisink Valley in pool action.

Starpoint is currently 22-0 overall and ranked #2 amongst NYS large schools. NW is currently ranked #11 in large schools carrying an overall record of 13-1. Chautauqua Lake remains at #4 in small schools with a 20-2 overall record in the latest New York Wrestling News team rankings.

Starpoint will meet Section V runner-up Fairport and Section III champion Cicero-North Syracuse in first round pool duals on Saturday.

Should they advance to the semifinals, the Spartans could see either Wantagh (VIII), Burnt Hills/Ballston Lake (II), or Horseheads (IV).

3-seed Wantagh will be the likely favorite to advance from that group, however we will find out for sure on Saturday.

The Warriors claimed the first NYSPHSAA Duals title in 2018 and fell in the final last year to Minisink Valley. A Starpoint/Wantagh semifinal would be must-see wrestling.

8-seed Wheatfield will meet defending state duals champion Minisink Valley (IX) and Section I champion Fox Lane in the pool. The Foxes and Falcons have already met in Syracuse twice making these squads quite familiar with one another already.

NW will have a tall task against the MV Warriors, however Coach Sweney has proven time and time again in 40+ years of coaching to be the ultimate task master. The winner of this pool will take on the winner of Ballston Spa (II), Hilton (V), and East Islip (XI) in the semifinals.

8-seed Chautauqua Lake will make the team’s first appearance in Syracuse after capturing their first Section VI Dual Meet title. The Thunderbirds will meet the powerful Tioga Tigers (IV) and Section II champion Cobleskill-Richmondville in the pool.

CL should be favored in a number of possible head to head bouts against either team. Finding those matches and conserving team points against the Tigers will be absolutely crucial if Coach Rowe and the team are to pull off the upset.

While we know about all of the fire power the Spartans, Falcons, and Thunderbirds have in their lineups, here’s a look at their **pool** round opponents.

**Niagara Wheatfield opponents**:

**Fox Lane Foxes** – Section I champion

Hometown: Bedford

County: Westchester

Head coach: Anthony Rodrigues

Current dual record: 17-4

Past state duals experience: 2018, 2019, 2020 (reached semifinals), 2022

Past state duals experience vs. Section VI:

2019 – Niagara Wheatfield 50 – Fox Lane 30

2020 – Fox Lane 57 – NW 12

2022 – Starpoint 39 – Fox Lane 27

The Foxes are one of five teams in the state to now have qualified for all five of the first NYSPHSAA dual championships. Under Coach Rodrigues, Fox Lane has become one of the most consistent Division I teams in NYS with not only dual meet success but with placing at least one wrestler in the state tournament nearly every year since 2004.

Given that this will be the 3rd meeting in four years between FL and NW in Syracuse, this pool dual could make for a very interesting match to keep an eye on with the history between these teams.

Strengths in the Foxes’ lineup can be found with a pair of wrestlers in the upper weights and a few lower weights. Sophomore Alex Berisha carries a 36-4 record currently and took 7th at Eastern States at 189-pounds.

Senior Nathan Brauning normally covers 215 and 285-pounds. In the bottom half of the lineup, expect Wilmer and Kevin Navarro, Justin Gierum, and Frencesco Ruggiero to do most of the heavy lifting from 126-145-pounds.

**Minisink Valley Warriors** – Section IX champion

Hometown: Slate Hill

County: Orange

Head coach: Kevin Gallagher

Current dual record: 23-0

Past state duals experience: 2018 (runner-up), 2019, 2020 (NYS champion), 2022 (NYS champion)

Past state duals experience vs. Section VI:

2018 – MV 60 – Lancaster 13

2020 – MV 64 – Lancaster 11

2022 – MV 55 – Starpoint 7 (semifinals)

It’s no surprise that the state’s top ranked and two-time defending large school champion Minisink Valley is back in the Duals and as the top seed. The Warriors have boasted the most talented lineup in NYS for the last few years including some of the country’s top ranked wrestlers.

Minisink recently placed 4th at the Eastern States behind Starpoint led by two runners-up in defending NYS champion Ethan Gallo (215) and 4th place winner Andrew Filip (172). Unfortunately for the Warriors, returning state champion PJ Duke is out for the season but they will have Zack Ryder available this weekend. Ryder is also a defending NYS champion.

Wyatt Boice (118), Anthony Tresch (132), Zack McKernan (132), Quinten Morgan (152), and Aiden Gove (285) are some other Warriors names to watch.

Wheatfield may be able to find some favorable matchups with the Warriors right in the 132-152/160-pound range, especially from 132-145 with Tremell and Te’Shaun Mathews and Collin Coughenour anchoring the bottom end of that stretch.

**Starpoint opponents**:

**Cicero-North Syracuse Northstars** – Section III champion

Hometown: Cicero

County: Onondaga

Head coach: Dave Wise

Current dual record: 23-0

Past state duals experience: none

The Northstars set the tone for their 2022-2023 campaign when they took down CNY heavy weight Fulton, 39-27, on opening night back on Nov. 29th. CNS currently sits at 23-0 overall and has won every tournament they have competed in this season.

The Northstars will be tested on Saturday morning when they dual teams from sections V and VI for the first time this season,

CNS captured the program’s first Section III title this season under six year head coach Dave Wise, who previously led nearby Liverpool to a number of successful seasons in his time with the Warriors as well.

Currently, CNS has eight wrestlers with 24 or more wins this season led by returning Section III finalist senior John Sherbourne (31-5) at 172 and place winners Kennedy Thomas (132), Kamdin Bembry (215), and Drew Baker (126).

**Fairport Red Raiders** – Section V runner-up

Hometown: Fairport

County: Monroe

Head coach: Bob Arao

Current dual record: 15-5

Past state duals experience: 2022

Past state duals experience vs. Section VI: none

The Red Raiders will make their second straight appearance at the NYSPHSAA Duals this weekend and will meet Starpoint and CNS in pool action. The Raiders and Spartans already met once this season where Starpoint earned a 37-27 victory in Fairport in the earliest NYS top-5 meeting of the season.

The dangerous Raiders return seven Section V place winners this season led by returning sectional finalist and 3rd place NYS winner senior Brady Unger at 172-pounds who is unbeaten at 34-0 this season.

Returning Section V 3rd place winner Philly Provenzano and placers JT Hohman, Grady McElveney, Jeffrey Craddock, Trey LeChase, and Chase Sackett round out a very talented core group for Fairport.

Don’t be fooled by the Raiders’ five losses either; all but one came to Section V opponents making it painfully clear that Section V was absolutely brutal this season.

**Chautauqua Lake opponents**:

**Tioga Tigers** – Section IV champion

Hometown: Tioga Center

County: Tioga

Head coach: Kris Harrington

Current dual record: 8-0

Past state duals experience: 2018 (reached semifinals), 2019 (reached semifinals), 2020, 2022 (NYS champion)

Past state duals experience vs. Section VI:

2022 – Tioga 47 – Newfane 19

2022 – Tioga 59 – Falconer 12 (semifinals)

The mighty defending state champion Tioga Tigers are back in the Duals for the 5th time and are the top seed again. Tioga boasts one of the state’s most talented rosters, regardless of division, as they return five NYS place winners including defending small school champions Gianni Silvestri (126) and Ousmane Duncanson (160).

Returning state finalist Caden Bellis (138), 3rd place finisher Jayden Duncanson, and 5th placer Tyler Roe are the core group of Tigers looking to repeat in Syracuse. Keep an eye on other wrestlers like Drew Macumber, Logan Bellis, and Levi Bellis who all boast 23 or more wins and single digit losses this season.

8-seed Chautauqua Lake will have a tough task against the Tigers but could be favored in a handful of matches in that dual.

If CL wins in favored matches, wins some others between wrestlers of evenly matched abilities, and conserves Tioga’s team points could make this a very interesting dual to keep an eye on.

**Cobleskill-Richmondville Bulldogs** – Section II champion

Hometown: Richmondville

County: Schoharie

Head coach: Justin Kimball

Current dual record: 7-0

Past state duals experience: 2020

Past state duals experience vs. Section VI: none

The Bulldogs will represent the Capital Region for the second straight year in Syracuse behind a very talented group of returning wrestlers. 8th grader Ashten Haley won 35 matches in 2021-2022 as a 7th grader and reached the state tournament by winning the true second place match in Section II at 102-pounds.

Teammate Luke Yorke is also a returning NYS qualifier as a Section II runner-up. Sophomore Kyber Henry is having a strong season as an underclassmen at 152-pounds while senior Luke Pryor anchors the upper weights. Both Henry and Pryor are returning Section II place winners.

C-R got some additional fire power this offseason when brothers Gabe and Liam English moved into the school district. Gabe is a returning NYS finalist at 102-pounds in Division II last season while Liam was 7th in the state tournament last February.

At first look, Chautauqua Lake may have a deeper lineup throughout the weights, however a number of high powered individuals make the Bulldogs an interesting squad to game plan against.

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