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Section VI Wrestling Class Tournaments Roundup

*Cover photo courtesy of Michelle Gilbert/MaxPreps*

Saturday’s four Section VI class tournament/sectional qualifier events again delivered with exciting team races, high level individual matchups, and both joy and disappointment all at the same time.

Class tournaments not only in Western New York but around the state serve a number of significant purposes. The class tournaments afford a chance for wrestlers to have a post-season place finish on their resumes and to qualify for the sectional championships for perhaps the first (and for seniors maybe only) time which in wrestling is often seen as a reward in and of itself.

The classes also renew annual rivalries amongst schools of the most similar BEDS sizes in the region, giving programs and communities a chance to see where they stand amongst those of similar sized schools. In Section VI, the class tournaments are scored while the sectional tournaments are not, so a chance at a team championship in the final weekend to do so (minus the NYS tournament) is also a part of the critical role the tournaments play.

In Class AA, Williamsville North/East secured the program’s first ever class tournament team title passing both Lancaster and the defending champion Niagara Falls late in the day on Saturday. The host Spartans crowned two individual champions in Cam Catrabone (145) and Max Smith (215) and placed all thirteen of its entered wrestlers in the top-5 of their weights to secure the Class AA title. Ten of the thirteen Spartans placed top-4 in their weights to qualify for Saturday’s Section VI Div. I championships at Starpoint.

“I am blessed to have great assistant coaches who care about our student athletes and love teaching wrestling with honor and energy” said North head coach Joe Muscarella after the tournament. “We are not satisfied, we are getting right back to work Monday and pushing to get as many as we can to the state tournament and win the first NYS title in school history.”

Williamsville’s late push to the title was helped by an enormous consolation round effort as five Spartans earned 3rd place and three earned 5th place in their respective brackets.

“That round was the tournament and we had tons of pins,” said Muscarella after the consolation finals. “We asked our guys to respond, and they did in a big way. Coaches did their job and held our wrestlers accountable.”

The Wolverines claimed second place in the team score and were led by individual champions and returning Section VI champions Eian Peterson (110), Jaden Crumpler (126), and Mike Syposs (160). Falls had a tournament high seven wrestlers reach the finals. In a matchup of two returning NYS place winners, Crumpler was a 4-3 overtime winner over teammate Amarfio Reynolds, Jr in a rare postseason matchup of returning place winners (albeit Niagara Falls had two such finals matches this time).

Lancaster’s 3rd place effort was led by individual champions Ricky Andres (118), Michael Schaefer (172), and Tommy Carlsen (285) and three more finalists with the support of three more top-6 place winners.

Clarence landed a 4th place finish led by champions AJ Didas (132) and Joey Keller (152). Didas was impressive in a finals pin over a fellow returning sectional place winner, while Keller continued his strong season after coming down in weight from 172 just a year ago.

**Section VI Class AA champions**:

102: Cullen Edwards – Frontier

110: Eian Peterson – Niagara Falls

118: Ricky Andres – Lancaster

126: Jaden Crumpler – NF

132: AJ Didas – Clarence

138: Sawyer Dickinson – Kenmore

145: Cam Catrabone – Williamsville North/East

152: Joey Keller – Clarence

160: Mike Syposs – NF

172: Michael Schaefer – Lancaster

189: Jack MacDonald – Orchard Park

215: Max Smith – Will. N/E

285: Tommy Carlsen – Lancaster

**Class AA tournament team scores**:

1. Williamsville North/East 211 2. Niagara Falls 206.5 3. Lancaster 162 4. Clarence 140.5 5. Jamestown 123 6. Frontier 104 7. Orchard Park 88 8. Kenmore 86 9. Lockport 33 9. West Seneca 33

One of the big surprises of the weekend happened at Williamsville South’s Class A tournament where Niagara Wheatfield claimed the team title over the NYS champion Starpoint Spartans, also the defending Class A champion. The class championship was the fourth in the last five contested A tournaments for the Falcons.

Wheatfield was led by two individual champions in Tremell Mathews (132) and John Fike (189). For being in one of the heaviest weight classes, Fike has had an outstanding freshman campaign this season covering 189 and 215-pounds. Five other Falcons reached the final as all thirteen entered wrestlers placed in the top-5 of the weights, twelve of whom took top-4 to advance to the sectional championships – the most of any team in Section VI Division I this weekend. NW racked up big points collecting a tournament high seventeen pins and four wrestlers earning critical consolation finals wins at the end of the day.

Starpoint captured second place in the team race led by FIVE individual champions, three finalists, two 3rd placers, and one 4th to advance all eleven competing wrestlers to the sectional championships. Saturday’s A finals featured more Spartans wrestlers (8) than did not (5) throughout the thirteen weight classes. Starpoint standouts Griffin LaPlante, Zach Caldwell, and Matt Caldwell all earned close finals decisions over returning state tournament qualifiers.

A solid Hamburg/Eden squad rounded out the top-3 teams crowning three individual champions and placing twelve wrestlers in the top-6 of their weights. Luke Smeader (170) and Sam Berti (126) each pinned in their finals while Kenny Schmitz (118) defeated archrival JR Leuer this time around, 4-2 in the 118-pound final. Leuer has won their first two meetings this season.

**Section VI Class A champions**:

102: Jaron Barrientos – Starpoint

110: Dylan Castiglia – Grand Island

118: Kenny Schmitz – Hamburg/Eden

126: Sam Berti – Hamburg/Eden

132: Tremell Mathews – Niagara Wheatfield

138: Griffin LaPlante – Starpoint

145: Kaleb Rang – Grand Island

152: Zach Caldwell – Starpoint

160: Gage LaPlante – Starpoint

172: Luke Smeader – Hamburg/Eden

189: John Fike – NW

215: Matt Caldwell – Starpoint

285: Joseph Lipski – Williamsville South

**Class A tournament team scores**:

1. Niagara Wheatfield 221.5 2. Starpoint 204 3. Hamburg/Eden 164.5 4. Amherst 114 5. Grand Island 90 6. North Tonawanda 71 7. Williamsville South 63 8. Sweet Home 52

Another exciting team race highlighted the Class B tournament at Charter School for Applied Technologies as Falconer/Cassadaga Valley separated from Pioneer by the conclusion of the finals to claim the class title for the 9th time in their last ten class tournaments. The Golden Falcons won Class C or D from 2013-2020 and narrowly missed the C/D title by a single half a season ago. This season, the Golden Falcons landed in Class B switching places with Springville to C/D by one single student in the 2023 BEDS tally.

Five individual champions led Falconer highlighted by Dalton Caldwell’s 14-7 decision over Olean’s returning Section VI champion Chris Bargy in the 189-pound final. In total, eleven Falconer wrestlers placed 1st – 5th to advance all competing wrestlers to the sectional championships at Lake Shore on Saturday. Seniors Brodie Little and Austin Chase earned crucial team points with finals matches pins while Dylan Newman and Karsen Lundgren each earned major decisions in the finals to snag more bonus team points.

Four Pioneer Panthers earned Class B titles with three more wrestling to 2nd place finishes. Two finals bouts featured Panthers vs. Panthers where the winning wrestlers each earned pins for the team score effort. Besides the tournament-high seven finalists, three more Panthers placed 3rd-4th to advance ten wrestlers to the sectional tournament. The top-2 finish was the fourth for the Panthers in the last four Class B tournaments; Pioneer and Iroquois tied for the 2022 title.

An Iroquois team that finished the season stronger than it started earned bronze in the team race behind two champions, five finalists, and eight top-5 place winners. Sam Donovan (132) and Trevor Barry (215) each pinned in their respective finals to lead the Chiefs.

**Section VI Class B champions**:

102: Dylan Newman – Falconer/Cassadaga Valley

110: Karsen Lundgren – F/CV

118: Lucas Hoffman – Fredonia

126: Blake Hageman – Lake Shore

132: Sam Donovan – Iroquois

138: Xander Kirsch – Pioneer

145: Austin Chase – F/CV

152: Brandon Doyle – Pioneer

160: Brodie Little – F/CV

172: Brady Heckathorn – Pioneer

189: Dalton Caldwell – F/CV

215: Trevor Barry – Iroquois

285: Chris Howatt – Pioneer

**Class B tournament team scores** (top 10):

1. Falconer/Cassadaga Valley 247.5 2. Pioneer 229 3. Iroquois 168 4. Lake Shore 111 5. Olean/Allegany-Limestone 102 6. Fredonia 99 7. Dunkirk 79 8. East Aurora 71 9. Cheektowaga 63 10. Lackawanna 60

The Class C/D championships featured the biggest runaway in regard to the team score of the weekend as Section VI Duals champion Chautauqua Lake cruised to the team title by 154 team points while crowning five individual champions and placing all thirteen wrestlers from 1st – 5th places. A big consolation finals round that had three CL wrestlers earn 3rd place and one 5th and 24 total tournaments pins – ten more than second place Wilson – helped to rack up 281 team points for the Thunderbirds. The class championship was the second straight title for CL and their 3rd in the last five tournaments.

Wilson wrestled to the team’s highest class tournament placement in program history, placing seven wrestlers and crowning one champion in heavy weight Hamza Merrick, who earned a valuable 8-6 finals decision over returning NYS tournament qualifier Ryan Carpenter from Randolph. A big consolation round that had three Lakemen take 3rd and one take 5th helped outpace their Niagara-Orleans league rivals Newfane (3rd) and Medina (4th) in the team scoring.

Newfane placed five total wrestlers led by individual champions JJ Lucinski and Aidan Buttery to land another top-3 class tournament place finish. Two Panthers fell in the final with the lone Newfane consolation place winner Rian Czaja finishing 6th at 102-pounds. Although they only placed five wrestlers, Newfane collected twelve total pins on the day which helped them outpace Medina (nine pins) by only two points. The Mustangs placed seven wrestlers led by 110-pound champion Dominick Callara while the host Southwestern rounded out the top-5 team scores – only .5 point behind Medina – with two champions and six placers.

**Section VI Class C/D champions**:

102: JJ Lucinski – Newfane

110: Dominick Callara – Medina

118: Carmine Calimeri – Southwestern

126: Jordan Joslyn – Chautauqua Lake

132: Aidan Gillings – Newfane

138: Martin Ohlsson – Chautauqua Lake

145: Trent Burchanowksi – Chautauqua Lake

152: John Watson – Chautauqua Lake

160: Evan Leonard – Franklinville

172: Tavio Hoose – Southwestern

189: Matt Trim – Maple Grove

215: Ison Shirley – Chautauqua Lake

285: Hamza Merrick – Wilson

**Class C/D tournament team scores** (top 10):

1. Chautauqua Lake 281 2. Wilson 127 3. Newfane 116 4. Medina 114 5. Southwestern 113.5 6. Portville 104 7. Gowanda 85 8. Randolph 80 9. Barker/Royalton-Hartland 74 9. Maple Grove 74

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