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WNY Athletics Section VI Dual Meet Championship Preview and Predictions

The fourth Section VI Dual Meet Championships start at 10am on Saturday at Lancaster High School. After last year’s cancellation, the anticipation surrounding Saturday’s ‘Duals’ has been building since last January. An earlier date was selected by the Section and wrestling committee as well to allow for makeup time (if weather were to be an issue) before the State Duals entry deadline which is later in January. The NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships are on Saturday, February 1st at SRC Arena on the campus of Onondaga County Community College in Syracuse.

Olean/Allegany-Limestone, Niagara Wheatfield, and Falconer represented Section VI last February in Syracuse with Wheatfield and Falconer making the state final four in Division I and II, respectively. Lancaster and Falconer have earned the top seeds in the Division I and II tournaments this weekend. The Golden Falcons are looking to make their third straight trip to the state duals while the Legends are hoping to return to Syracuse after having won the Section VI title in 2017-2018.

The top eight seeds (with overall record) in the Division I tournament are:

  1. Lancaster (11-0)

  2. Niagara Wheatfield (9-4)

  3. Clarence (13-2)

  4. Niagara Falls (10-5)

  5. Frontier (14-7)

  6. Grand Island (10-6)

  7. Hamburg (12-2)

  8. Williamsville North/East (6-5)

The entry process for the big school side was extremely competitive for this weekend, as a few teams with solid performances this season had to be left out. All eight of the entries are ranked in the top nine of the latest WNY Athletics team rankings and every team but one has fielded a full lineup this season. Lancaster, Wheatfield, Clarence, Frontier, and Grand Island are all making their fourth consecutive appearances at the Duals while Niagara Falls will make its second straight appearance, Hamburg its second in three years, and Williamsville its first in team history.

Predictions:

1st round:

#1 Lancaster defeats #8 Williamsville

#2 Niagara Wheatfield defeats #7 Hamburg

#3 Clarence defeats #6 Grand Island

#4 Niagara Falls defeats #5 Frontier

As is the case with most 4 vs. 5 matchups in wrestling, the first round dual between the Wolverines and Falcons will be the most competitive of the opening big school duals. I think Falls has the early advantage, however this match could ultimately go either way.

Semifinals:

#1 Lancaster defeats #4 Niagara Falls

#2 Niagara Wheatfield defeats #3 Clarence

Wheatfield edges Clarence by a few points to return to the Duals final for the first time since 2016-2017. Although he has been in and out of the lineup this season, if Colin Coughenour does wrestle on Saturday that would be a big help for the Falcons, especially in this match, where the Red Devils have some talented wrestlers in his weight range. A Justin McDougald vs. Aiden Rabideau rematch with the dual on the line would be worth the price of admission.

Final:

#1 Lancaster versus #2 Niagara Wheatfield

99-pounds: Alex Monile (L) d. Garrett Chase (NW), 3-2

106: Carter Tadusz (L) d. Joshua Augugliaro (NW), 5-3

113: Myles Gronowski (L) d. Tremell Mathews (NW), 4-2

120: Elijah Greenough (NW) d. Michael Schaefer (L), 3-1

126: Anthony Kuhn, Jr (NW) d. Kaleb Schurkus (L), 8-6

132: Colin Coughenour (NW) p. Micah Harry (L)

138: Mark Kuhn (NW) d. Ethan Monin (L), 6-3

145: Justin McDougald (NW) tf. Trevor Sheehan (L), 16-1

152: Bryce Bolognese (L) d. Ali Assaf (NW), 3-2

160: Jake Thibeault (NW) d. Reece Monin (L), 5-2

170: Josh Jelonek (L) p. Caleb Nawotniak (NW)

182: Camden Smith (L) p. Casey Robinson (NW)

195: Ryan Stencel (L) p. Louis Perreault (NW)

220: Dan Empfield (L) p. Jayden Porter (NW)

285: Codie Scotland (L) d. Andre Clause (NW), 8-2

Final score prediction: Lancaster 39 – Niagara Wheatfield 23

While every result should be highly critical, the 113-145 stretch could decide this match. The Legends will expect dominance from their upperweights. Ultimately, Lancaster claims the program’s second Section VI dual meet title and another trip to Syracuse. Depending on what happens around the state from now until February 1st, Wheatfield may earn another wildcard invitation back to the state duals.

The top eight seeds (with overall record) in the Division II tournament are:

  1. Falconer (20-1)

  2. Iroquois (17-2)

  3. Fredonia (18-3)

  4. Newfane (14-3)

  5. Pioneer (15-4)

  6. Lake Shore (3-4)

  7. East Aurora/Holland (11-8)

  8. Alden/Depew (4-11)

With all due respect, the Division II side may not be as deep as their big school counterparts, however the top five small school teams have been extremely consistent and competitive in every single event each team has participated in this season. Compared to other regions, Section VI’s top five small school squads may be better than any other section in the state. The field includes all teams who are either regulars or have had some experience at the Duals in the past. Falconer, Pioneer, and Newfane will make their fourth consecutive appearances at the Duals. Lake Shore and Fredonia have each made it to the tournament in three of the four years of the event, and Iroquois will make the team’s third straight appearance. East Aurora earned an invite back to the Duals after making it in 2018-2019. And, Alden/Depew will make its first appearance as a combined team but it will be the second for each program as Depew was a participant in 2016-2017 and Alden combined with Akron made it to the final in 2017-2018.

Predictions: 

1st round:

#1 Falconer defeats #8 Alden/Depew

#2 Iroquois defeats #7 East Aurora

#3 Fredonia defeats #6 Lake Shore

#5 Pioneer defeats #4 Newfane

The top three seeds move on without surprises, however Pioneer finds a way to get it done against Newfane, taking revenge for a 40-39 nail biting loss on December 13th at their dual tournament. Pioneer should be well rested going into Saturday. Although I lean toward Pioneer in this one, Newfane could just as easily win this dual. Either team claiming victory in this match won’t come as a huge surprise as both squads are very similar and balanced.

Semifinals:

#1 Falconer defeats #5 Pioneer

#2 Iroquois defeats #3 Fredonia

The Chiefs take down the Hillbillies for the second time in seven days in another nail biter of a dual. Dalton Gardner may or may not wrestle this weekend; he did not compete on December 28th at the Grand Island Duals. Their first dual was only decided by three points on the 28th, so I could see Fredonia winning this one (with or without Gardner) the second time around.

Final:

#1 Falconer versus #2 Iroquois

99: Brady Wilkinson (I) p. Adam Boardman (F)

106: Brayden Newman (F) d. Peter Gaglio (I), 7-5

113: Michael Schiffauer (I) md. Austin Chase (F), 11-3

120: Donovan Bukaczeski (I) p. Karsen DePasquale (F)

126: Joey Pillittieri (F) d. Jake Jozwiak (I), 7-5

132: Ryan Sweeney (I) md. Hunter Teboe (F), 12-3

138: Tristan DeGrace (I) d. Dalton Caldwell (F), 8-1

145: Evan Phanco (F) p. Trevor Barry (I)

152: Bryce Baglia (F) p. Daniel Eckert (I)

160: Tyler Barry (I) md. John Kozlowski (F), 10-2

170: Mack Mikula (F) p. Ricky Hess (I)

182: Ryan Current (I) d. Hudson Johnson (F), 8-2

195: Brock Johnson (F) p. Jacob Anderson (I)

220: Collin Beichner (F) p. Brenden Dargavel (I)

285: Collin Mower (F) p. Nate Wheeler (I)

Final score predictionFalconer 42 – Iroquois 30

Iroquois gets their points in the lower weights, but Falconer gets some favorable matchups in the middle and upperweights to take this one. If Iroquois can win a few of the ‘toss up’ matches and hold the Golden Falcons to non-bonus point wins in others, the Chiefs have a shot. While both teams have wrestled well all season, I give the early advantage to Falconer, claiming their third straight title and trip to the state duals in Syracuse. If this is the case, the Chiefs have a very real chance of earning a wildcard.

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