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Section VI Duals Preview

The 2nd annual Section VI Dual Meet Tournament will be held on Saturday, January 20th at Lancaster Field House. Last year’s inaugural event by all accounts was a smashing success. The top eight large and small schools in Section VI will battle to claim the Section VI Dual Meet title in their respective division and advance to the first ever NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championship being held at SRC Arena on the campus of Onondaga County CC in Syracuse on Saturday, January 27th.

Niagara-Wheatfield were large school champions a year ago and Pioneer the small school champion. The third seeded Falcons avenged a league loss to Lockport in the final of the Duals to claim the first ever Section VI large school Dual Meet Championship. Pioneer was the second seed in last year’s tournament and defeated the one-seed Falconer 33-32 in the small school final.

Plans were set in place a few years ago at NYSPHSAA and the state wrestling committee for a state-wide dual meet tournament. Sections that didn’t have dual meet tournaments in place already were given about three-years-time to formulate criteria for qualification and to accommodate scheduling-wise.

Some sections already have organized dual meet tournaments. Section III (Syracuse/CNY area) has had a dual meet tournament for over thirty years. The traditional large school powerhouse Fulton Red Raiders have dominated the section throughout the tournaments’ history, albeit against always stiff large and small school competition. In recent years, smaller schools (even as small as Class D Adirondack in 2016) have met the Raiders in the final (and even semis) and have come away with victories. Nonetheless, it is one of the most anticipated and heated annual wrestling events in central New York. The chatter in public places and internet forums around this time every year ignite with the prospect of ‘David and Goliath’ underdogs beating heavily favored teams, up and coming programs beating blue bloods, and who the next team (big or small) might be in line to topple the mighty Fulton Ghost. Also, the sixteen team field wasn’t always an eight-and-eight large and small school separation; the top sixteen teams in the section, regardless of school size, that declared intent during the preseason participated.

While the dual meet tournaments are highly encouraged by NYSPHSAA, participation is optional. These are state sanctioned events, meaning the participating teams aren’t charged a competition point and the weigh in doesn’t count toward their season long total. However, the dual meet and individual wins and losses do. Given the success in some other areas of the state and the 2016-2017 Section VI Duals, who wouldn’t want to participate? It is an opportunity to legitimately earn a New York State dual meet championship that has for so long been awarded based on the subjective final ranking of the New York State Sportswriter’s Association (NYSSWA). Teams that win the division tournaments at the individual states haven’t been considered ‘state champion’ in the eyes of NYSPHSAA.

This year’s Section VI Duals will feature two champions, big and small, that will not square off at the end of the day. Many coaches see it as an unnecessary risk to injuries and fatigue and the state’s Dual Meet Championship legislation is unclear as to if that final match would charge the participating teams a competition point; something that many teams would rather not take a risk on. Both teams will be eligible to move on to the state dual meet tournament anyway.

Section VI Division I Dual Meet Tournament The top eight seeds are 1-Lancaster, 2-Grand Island, 3-Clarence, 4-Wheatfield, 5-Hamburg, 6-Williamsville S., 7-Lockport, and 8-Frontier.

Lancaster has been in the top thirteen of the NYSSWA large school rankings in each of the first state wide rankings and sit currently at #13. The Legends have had an impressive season thus far with an 12-1 record and reclaimed the ECIC Division I title on Wednesday. They have won the Penfield Hunter Holiday Tournament and the ECIC Tournament and took second at Teike-Bernabi and tied for second at the NFWOA Tournament. The Legends are led by Jake Harry (106-pounds), Parker Rozler(113), Ryan Stencel (152), and Joe Andreessen (195). Harry and Andreessen are defending sectional finalists. Andreessen was a fifth place finisher at the state tournament in 2017. Rozler and Stencel are returning Section VI champions. Also look out for Myles Gronowski (99), Travis Kilanowski (182), and John Lapiana (195). One of their eleven wins was a 37-35 non-league victory over Grand Island in December.

Grand Island is having one of the best seasons in school history at this point in the 2017-2018 season. The Vikings are in the midst of the Niagara Frontier League title race and are currently ranked at #20 in the state by NYSSWA tied with three other schools. They hold a 22-3 record currently and have tournament wins at Lockport, the GI Duals and the Phoenix Round Robin. The Vikings have a veteran lineup top to bottom with the anchor of the lineup being the upper weights from 152/160 to 285. Look for Adam Daghestani (152/160), Dan Emblidge (170), Connor Kenney (182), Blake Bielec (195), and WNY top ranked 285-pounder Jaquan Johnson. Look out for Brian Bielec (99/106), Jack Randle (106), Steve Bachman (113), and Seth Jackson (126) in the lighter weights.

My prediction:


1-Lancaster over 8-Frontier

2-Grand Is. over 7-Lockport

3-Clarence over 6-Will. S.

4-Wheatfield over 5-Hamburg


1-Lancaster over 4-Wheatfield

2-GI over 3-Clarence

Final ScoresGrand Island over LancasterGIL99: Brian Bielec (GI) d. Myles Gronowski (L)30106: Jack Randle (GI) md. Trevor Sheehan (L)40113: Jake Harry (L) md Steve Bachman (GI)04120: Parker Rozler (L) tf Jake Miller (GI)05126: Seth Jackson (GI) d. Nick Barberio (L)30132: Josh Jelonek (L) d. Marcus Celano (GI)03138: Drew Chiarmonte (L) p. Robert Hodan (GI)06145: Casey Dummitt (GI) d. Dan Empfield (L)30152: Ryan Stencel (L) md Adam Daghestani (GI)04160: Jason Breeden (GI) p. Anthony Tigani (L)60170: Dan Emblidge (GI) d. Travis Kilanowski (L)30182: Connor Kenney (GI) d. Codie Scotland (L)30195: Blake Bielec (GI) d. John Lapiana (L)30220: Joe Andreessen (L) p. Jeremy Fridman (GI)06285: Jaquan Johnson (GI) p. David Gaca60Totals3728

Section VI Division II Dual Meet Tournament The top eight seeds are 1-Olean, 2-Pioneer, 3-Iroquois, 4-Falconer, 5-Newfane, 6-Akron/Alden, 7-Albion, and 8-Randolph.

Olean earned the top seed in what came as a surprise to many wrestling fans this past weekend. However, after articulating the criteria of the qualified teams who applied for Duals entry, the section committee determined that Olean deserved the number one seed. The Huskies are led by top wrestlers Nick Bierfeldt(120), Gavin Kulp (138), Icar Simon (160), Devan Moore (170), Patrick Walsh (182), Connor Walsh (195), and Tanner Hulse(220). The Huskies sport a 20-0 record with tournament wins at the Bolivar-Richburg Duals and Springville Duals. They placed second at Franklinville and third at the North CountyInvitational against Section III and X competition in northern New York. NYSSWA has the Huskies as an honorable mention in the latest state rankings. Regardless of what happens this weekend, Olean will battle Falconer on Wednesday, January 24th for the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division I title.

Pioneer is the #2 seed and defending Section VI small school dual meet champion. The Panthers are on a roll thus far in the season with an impressive 22-2 record, securing the ECIC Div III league title on Wednesday. The Panthers are currently the #15 small school in the state in the latest NYSSWA ranking. Top wrestlers for the Panthers are Donald Bennett (99), Zach Russell (106), Doug Ciszak (106), the defending Section VI Division II 106-pound champion, Kameron Riordan (138), Caleb Riordan (145), Mike Rigerman (220), and Trevor Smith (285). Pioneer has tournament titles at the Byron-Bergen Invite and Franklinville Invite and second place team finishes at the Pioneer Duals and Dick Vincent Duals.

The three and four seeds are Iroquois and Falconer, respectively. Iroquois dropped down to Division II from Division I this season. The always tough Chief grapplers are the NYSSWA #17 small school right now and are cruising toward another ECIC Div II title. They caught the attention of the Section VI wrestling community early with an upset win over Falconer in the first weekend of the season at the Joe Shifflet dual meet tournament at Sweet Home winning 38-36. Top wrestlers for Iroquois are Tyler Barry (120), Colton Slade (132), Jake Vergien (132), and Cory Day (145).

The Falconer Golden Falcons return the fifth most state tournament points out of all Division II teams from a year ago with three returning all-state wrestlers.

Defending Section VI small school champions Dylan Ingrao (152, 4th in NYS 2017), Dan Torres (160, 5th in NYS 2017), and sectional finalist Corey Keefe (195, 6th in NYS 2017) lead the Golden Falcons. Also leading Falconer this season are Nick Saeger (138) and Robbie Penhollow (170). NYSSWA has Falconer tied at #20 in the lateststate small school ranking.

My Prediction:


1-Olean over 8-Randolph

2-Pioneer over 7-Albion

3-Iroquois over 4-Akron/Alden

4-Falconer over 5-Newfane


4-Falconer over 1-Olean

2-Pioneer over 3-IroquoisFinal ScoresFalconer over PioneerPF99: Brayden Newman (F) d. Donald Bennett (P)03106: Dan Kirsch (P) d. Brodie Little (F)30113: Doug Ciszak (P) p. Kyle Keefe (F)60120: Frank Ras (P) md. Hunter Teboe (F)40126: Jake Conrad (P) d. Tony Fiasco (F)30132: Kameron Riordan (P) p. Mack Mikula F)60138: Nick Saeger (F) d. Ather Phommatha (P)03145: Caleb Riordan (P) p. Hudson Johnson (F)60152: Jordan Dustin (F) d. Justin Siwa (P)03160: Dylan Ingrao (F) p. Josh Oun (P)06170: Bryce Baglia (F) d. Dylan Wylie (P)03182: Dan Torres (F) p. Tyler Ellis (P)06195: Robbie Penhollow (F) p. Aaron Doyle (P)06220: Corey Keefe (F) d. Mike Rigerman (P)03285: Trevor Smith (P) d. Colin Mower (F)30Totals3133

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