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WNY Athletics Wrestling 2023-2024 Season Preview

Updated: Nov 29, 2023



The 2023-2024 New York State high school wrestling season kicked off with the first day of practices on Monday, November 13th.


After another post pandemic season, western New York wrestlers and programs continued a strong rebound in winter 2022-2023 with outstanding performances in dual and individual postseason events after a battle-testing regular season. Meanwhile, WNY continued to show why it is a leading region behind the push for growing girls’ wrestling in the state as highlighted by good participation and a strong overall showing at the first NYSPHSAA girls’ invitational last January.


New sign up and certification data from across the region and state shows that scholastic wrestling participation is on the rise, even exceeding pre-pandemic numbers, and especially amongst high school girls.


This season we will welcome five new girls’ teams – Sweet Home, Lockport, Clarence, and Kenmore – and two new mixed (boys and girls) teams – Alden and Buffalo Public Schools – into competition this winter. Alden will host its first solo Bulldogs team since the 2018-2019 season. Meanwhile, Buffalo Public Schools will draw from it’s 7000+ BEDS student population amongst its high schools with the new team practicing at Lafayette High School in the City of Buffalo’s Upper West Side.


After the second straight NYS federation tournament in which the Section VI Division I and II teams placed top five in the sectional team standings (a new milestone for Section VI at the state tournament, and the third time in the last five tournaments) the sectional teams will look to extend that streak to three straight tournaments in Albany in February.


While the Division I team will have to cover the ground left by a strong senior class, Section VI Div. II could be in position for a top-3 or better finish in the final team standings in Albany. Ten out of thirteen of last season’s Section VI small school champions return this season led by defending NYS champions Jordan Joslyn and Tavio Hoose and state finalist Aidan Gillings. In total, eleven NYS place winners will return for Section VI Div. II this season as well as nine more state tournament qualifiers that missed placing.


In Division I, it is the opposite case as only five of last season’s thirteen Section VI champions return, three of whom are NYS place winners led state champion Cam Catrabone. Seven 2023 Section VI champions graduated in the spring as did three more state qualifiers accounting for seven total NYS place finishes. Additionally, one returning Section VI large school champion is now in the Msgr. Martin league and two more state qualifiers (one being a state place winner) have rejoined the ranks of the small school field.


As with all new wrestling seasons, a number of administrative and organizational changes for both boys’ and girls’ wrestling are on the horizon. While the New York State Wrestling Committee (NYSWC) works to fine tune the operations surrounding boys’ wrestling, the state Girls Wrestling Committee works to grow the sport as full NYSPHSAA sanctioning is nearly in sight.


New Weight Classes


The NYSWC proposed adopting the new NFHS 12-weight classes for boys’ wrestling beginning this season with the NYS additional 101-pound class. The Central Committee approved the change at the Feb. 1 meeting. The new weight classes for boys’ wrestling in NYS for the 2023-2024 season are:


101 (NYS), 108, 116, 124, 131, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 190, 215, 285


As always, 7th and 8th grade wrestlers competing on varsity and junior varsity must meet minimum weights for the two lightest and two heaviest weight classes. 93-pounds is the new minimum weight for 7th and 8th graders for the 101-pound class; 98-pounds for 108; 180-pounds for 215; 210-pounds for 285.


NYS high school girls wrestling will use the NFHS 13-weight classes:


94, 100, 107, 114, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 154, 165, 185, 235


Weighing in


The Central Committee approved the NYSWC recommendation to adopt the 1.5% weight loss plan for boys’ wrestling at the Feb. 1 meeting. This is intended to be a ‘gradual reduction’ weight loss plan where a wrestler can only lose 1.5% of his body weight each week. After certification data was entered into TrackWrestling, wrestlers could be provided with a ‘descent’ plan that would show them the minimum weight they can be at each week of the season. If the wrestler weighs more than the minimum weight for the week the plan is recalculated.


The 1.5% plan also will eliminate the 50% rule this season as well as morning, honor weigh ins for day-of matches, both of which have been in place for over twenty years in NYS high school wrestling.


Defending league champions


Msgr. Martin: St. Joe’s took the league dual title back in 2022-2023 with a perfect 4-0 mark in MMHSAA matches. This year’s home dual with St. Francis on January 18th also happens to be the annual SnakePit match and will likely be for league title and big bragging rights.


Niagara-Orleans: Newfane extended its league title streak to 45-0 and nine consecutive N-O titles in the last nine full seasons. Can the Panthers reach a perfect 50-0 and make it ten this season? A Wilson Lakemen team coming off a great season might be the biggest threat to knock off the champs.


CCAA I: Chautauqua Lake ended the eleven year title reign of Falconer/Cassadaga Valley holding off the Golden Cougars in the league, sectional duals, and at the Dick Vincent Duals at Letchworth last season. CL finished 6-0 in CCAA I on the way to the outright league title and eventual Section VI title. Southwestern, Falconer, and others will certainly be looking to knock the Eagles off their ledge.


CCAA II: A solid Randolph Cardinals squad cruised to the 2022-2023 division title with a 5-0 league mark in what ended up being competitive league race. Randolph and Portville have traded the league title a few times in the last five years – does Randolph defend this time? Does Portville take it back? Or does someone else like Maple Grove, or Frewsburg, or others take charge?


Niagara Frontier League: Niagara Wheatfield retook the NFL title in 2022-2023 ending a two year (full contested seasons) streak by Niagara Falls. The Falcons went 7-0 in NFL matches, reached the sectional duals final, and made it to the state duals for a third time. Simply put, this Wheatfield team is stacked.


ECIC III: The defending league champs (Pioneer) are moved back into ECIC II while Iroquois bumps back down to III. Springville has had a solid performance in the last two seasons and boasts a large roster this year, and Coach Page and the Raiders are back in the mix, but will anyone take down the blue blood Chiefs and claim the league title?


ECIC II: Two returning league champions – Starpoint and Pioneer – end up in the division along with a host of other teams coming off strong seasons like Hamburg and Amherst. The Spartans haven’t lost a league match in two years, but if there is anything everyone knows about Pioneer it is that they get up for league matches; the Panthers currently hold a 64-match ECIC win streak and have won nine straight ECIC titles. Will a rare coaching change have any affect on their winning ways? Keep an eye on the Tigers as well…


ECIC I: Lancaster navigated a very difficult, deep, and competitive league schedule to repeat as league champions. This season, talented Williamsville North/East and Clarence teams will look to take out the Legends to sit atop the league throne, however other consistent and rising teams like Orchard Park, Jamestown, and Frontier may get in the way.


New head coaches


Out of the 53 boys/mixed high school wrestling teams representing Section VI and Msgr. Martin member schools, ten programs will have new head coaches this season for a nearly 19% turnover rate from last winter. This is certainly one of the highest head coach turnover rates in recent past in the area.


Towards the northern end of Route 16, The Gow School Ravens wrestling team will be led by Ryan Parrish beginning this season.


A short trip down the road at Pioneer, the Panthers will be led by Chad Wittenrich starting in the 2023-2024 season, who takes over after having been assistant to Chris Edwards for the last few seasons. Coach Wittenrich is only the fourth ever head coach in 55-years of Pioneer Panthers Wrestling, an undeniably remarkable statistic. Coach Wittenrich will have the daunting task of trying to extend Pioneer’s nine year ECIC league title and 64 league match unbeaten streak to a possible tenth season in a row, made more challenging by the Panthers’ return to the ECIC II division.


Farther down Route 16 at Franklinville, Jacob Smith takes over the Panthers, who are not combined with any other team this season. With a 2023-2024 BEDS number of 132, Franklinville is the smallest school in WNY to host its own wrestling team this year.


Even farther down Route 16 in Olean, long-time assistant coach Jeff Gabler takes over the Huskies this season assisted by a couple of recent standout OHS graduates. Olean will compete as a combined team again with Allegany-Limestone CSD in the tough CCAA I league.


Continuing the trend of new head coaches in the southern tier, Ryan Thierman takes over at Portville after a brief stint at Franklinville. Coach Thierman will take over for outgoing head man Matt Milne who coached the Panthers to a pair of league titles, an invite to the Section VI Duals, and helped to increase participation on the Panthers wrestling team.


At Canisius High School in Buffalo, Josh Sweeney moves over from Charter School for Applied Technologies to take over as head coach of the Crusaders.


With the vacancy at CSAT, Stephane Kelly moves into the head coach position after serving as assistant coach of the Eagles.


Just in ECIC II there will be three new head coaches out of its eight teams this winter.


Hamburg will be under new leadership this season as assistant coach Jordan Kayes steps in to take over the Bulldogs, who won’t be combined with Eden. Coach Kayes hails out of Allegany-Limestone HS where he was a NYS tournament qualifier before wrestling collegiately at Brockport State.


Meanwhile at Starpoint, Dan Tavernier takes over as head coach of the Spartans. Both of last year’s top two place finisher teams in ECIC II (Starpoint and Hamburg) and last year’s ECIC III champion (Pioneer, now in ECIC II) will all be under new leadership this season.


Finally, in the Niagara-Orleans League, Akron has a new head coach in Adrian Ross who takes over as first year head coach of the Tigers.


Given that the Alden, BPS, Sweet Home girls, and Kenmore girls teams are ‘new,’ they aren’t tallied in new coaching turnover. However, Sweet Home and Kenmore did decide to hire girls' varsity specific head coaches. Program alumnus and 2019 graduate Bailey Crouse will be the first head coach of Panthers varsity girls' wrestling while Cortez Henderson will be the first head coach of the Kenmore girls' team.


At Alden, 2019 graduate and outstanding wrestler Danielle Stanley takes over as head coach of the Bulldogs. The support from Alden Bulldogs Wrestling alumni in the school making the effort to bring back wrestling has already been tremendous.


At Lafayette/BPS, past Canisius head coach James Cunningham will lead the team in its first year.


Division, Class, and League changes


As usual with any new wrestling season, a number of teams are on the move changing division and class alignments driven by changes in BEDS classifications, combining or un-combining teams, etc., which heavily affect postseason considerations. Additionally, teams moving around within leagues always results in new rivalries being made and old ones reignited.


Keep in mind only the top four place winners at the Class AA and A tournaments advance to the large school sectional championships while the top five in the Class B and C/D tournaments advance to the Division II championships.


Dropping into the ranks of the ‘small’ schools (599 BEDS and less) is Williamsville South, going from Class A to B for this season.


Both of last season’s small school class tournament champion teams are switching places this season.


The defending Class C/D, CCAA I, and Section VI Division II Dual Meet champion Chautauqua Lake Eagles (new mascot) are moving up to B while CCAA I rival and returning Class B team champion Falconer/Cassadaga Valley moves back down to the C/D tournament for the 2023-2024 postseason. After an epic 2021-2022 C/D tournament showdown between the league rivals, Eagle and Golden Cougar wrestlers won’t have to tangle in the crucial class championships for the second straight season.


With Williamsville South and C’Lake moving into B along with Springville who is also back in B, Falconer/CV going back down, and Alden and Eden being re-established in C/D, both tournaments will feature an even seventeen teams this coming postseason.


Back in Division I, a strong Clarence team lands in Class A this year giving that tournament an immediate talent boost with five returning sectional placers including two NYS tournament qualifiers. The new Lafayette/BPS team will compete in the AA tournament.


Returning wrestlers


Division I


Across Section VI, no one returns more class and sectional place winners from 2022-2023 than Coach Sweney and the Niagara Wheatfield Falcons going into the new season. The defending Class A and NFL champions return eleven Class A placers but will have thirteen total defending class placers on the roster as some additional star power has moved into the district. Out of those thirteen returning class placers from a season ago, eleven of them placed in the large school sectional championships where six qualified for the state federation tournament led by Div. I NYS 5th place winner Te’Shaun Mathews.


Following Wheatfield in the large school race are ECIC squads and returning Section VI Duals teams Amherst and Williamsville North/East who each return six sectional place winners and Clarence with five. Williamsville is of course led by Catrabone and a supporting cast that includes three different 3rd place finishers in the section last year. If the statistic wasn’t returning section place winners one might argue Williamsville’s number should be seven given that freshman Brayden Kellison-Neglia, a past Section VI Div. II 3rd place winner at Newfane in 2022, joins the Spartans after moving into the school district before the start of this school year.


Meanwhile at Amherst, Coach Bauer will welcome back ten out of eleven Class A place winners, all of which are juniors or seniors. Five of the six returning sectional placers are seniors, but all six of those placers finished only as high as 4th in the divisional tournament. Farther down Main Street, Coach Stoerr at Clarence returns only the fourth most large school sectional placers but the second most state tournament qualifiers in the large school field.


Overall in Division I, 50 out of 78 sectional place winners return this season following the loss of seventeen senior place winners and five more wrestlers who are still in school but have departed the ranks of the large school teams. Out of the thirteen Div. I sectional champions from last season, only five return this year leaving well over half of the weights vacant of a champion. Fourteen Section VI large school NYS tournament qualifiers return this season, seven of whom are seniors.


In order for Section VI Div. I to keep its top-5 spot in the final team standings in Albany in February, the team will have to rely on returning placers to rack up bonus points, returning qualifiers to place, and for at least a couple of first time state qualifiers to win a match or two and/or find a way to fight to a top-8 place finish.


Keep in mind that Section VI Div. I and II are allocated two qualifiers for the state tournament again this year – the twenty-six sectional champions and twenty-six runners up – and that where needed true second place matches will be held at each respective divisional championship.


Returning Section VI Division I champions:


Eian Peterson – Niagara Wheatfield


Te’Shaun Mathews – Niagara Wheatfield – 5th place NYS


Cam Catrabone – Williamsville North/East – NYS champion


Dylan Gagnon – North Tonawanda


Jack MacDonald – Orchard Park – 7th place NYS


Returning Section VI Division I NYS tournament qualifiers:


Evan Azbell – Niagara Wheatfield


AJ Didas – Clarence


Chase Richards – Niagara Wheatfield


Garrett Chase – Niagara Wheatfield


Joe Cicco – Niagara Wheatfield


Michael Schaefer – Lancaster


Bryce Hawes – Clarence


Returning Section VI Division I sectional place winners by team:


Niagara Wheatfield (Class A) – 11 (13 total)


Amherst (A) – 6


Williamsville North/East (Class AA) – 6


Clarence (A) – 5


Grand Island (A) – 3


Jamestown (AA) – 3


Lancaster (AA) – 3


Frontier (AA) – 2


Hamburg (A) – 2


Kenmore (AA) – 2


Lockport (AA) – 2


Orchard Park (AA) – 2


Niagara Falls (AA) – 1


North Tonawanda (A) – 1


West Seneca/Depew (AA) – 1


Returning wrestlers


Division II


The team with the second most returning post-season placers in the section is the defending Section VI Div. II Dual champion Chautauqua Lake. Coach Rowe had to say goodbye to FIVE sectional place winners (including two state qualifiers) at graduation, but will still get eight returning Class C/D and seven Section VI small school place winners back for this season led by section champions and state place winners Jordan Joslyn (defending NYS champion) and John Watson (6th). In addition to Watson and Joslyn, the Eagles will also feature sectional finalists & NYS tournament qualifiers Mason Maring and Ison Shirley who occupy critical upperweights where it is rare to see as much returning experience as they will bring.


Right behind C’Lake with five returning sectional place winners and a pair of state placers (with a defending state champ of their own) is CCAA I rival Southwestern. Coach Vogan’s Trojans boast sophomore Tavio Hoose as last season’s 172-pound small school champion as well as two-time state place winner Carmine Carmine and 2023 sectional champion Kenji Walters in their talented lineup. Three sectional placers in three consecutive weights last season are all back to help anchor the upper half of the of the lineup again.


Last year’s 2nd and 3rd place Class B teams – Pioneer and Iroquois – return four sectional placers as well as the returning C/D runner-up team Wilson who ties Southwestern and league rival Newfane with the second most returning state tournament qualifiers by team in the division with three. Returning Class B champ team (now down in C/D) Falconer returns seven class place winners and three sectional placers.


Keep an eye out for additional star power joining (rather re-joining) the Section VI small school ranks this year. The DellaPenta cousins from Eden, part of the combined Hamburg/Eden team last year, bring large school state tournament experience into the small school landscape as the two teams split off for this year. At Portville, past NYS tournament place winner (2022) Ethan Coleman is back in Section VI, meanwhile the talented Barrientos brothers are back representing Lewiston-Porter.


Similar to the Division I landscape, Div. II returns 55 section place winners from a year ago with nearly HALF of them hailing from teams that competed in the C/D tournament. The major difference of course is that ten out of thirteen Div. II champions return this year compared to only five for Div. I. Likewise, well over half of the twenty-six small school state tournament qualifiers (18) are back this year compared to only 12 of 26 in big schools.


Led by four returning top three NYS place winners – champs Joslyn and Hoose, runner-up Aidan Gillings, and 3rd place winner Trevor Barry – the Section VI Div. II team could be in position to not only maintain a top-5 finish but perhaps move up in the team standings; the Section VI small school team took 2nd (2016), 3rd (2017), and 2nd (2018) but has only placed 5th or 4th in the last four tournaments.


Returning Section VI Division II champions:


JJ Lucinski – Newfane – 4th place NYS


Kenji Walters – Southwestern


Carmine Calimeri – Southwestern – 7th place NYS


Jordan Joslyn – Chautauqua Lake – NYS champion


Aidan Gillings – Newfane – 2nd place NYS


John Watson – Chautauqua Lake – 6th place NYS


Jacob Stephenson – Wilson


Tavio Hoose – Southwestern – NYS champion


Matt Trim – Maple Grove – 8th place NYS


Trevor Barry – Iroquois – 3rd place NYS


Returning Section VI Division II NYS tournament qualifiers:


Dylan Newman – Falconer/Cassadaga Valley


Trevor DellaPenta – Eden – 8th place NYS (Div. I)


Victor Cusatis – Wilson


Bryce DellaPenta – Eden (Div. I)


Ayden Buttery – Newfane – 6th place NYS


Alex Schiffhauer – Iroquois


Mason Maring – Chautauqua Lake


Ison Shirley – Chautauqua Lake


Hamza Merrick – Wilson – 8th place NYS


Returning Section VI Division II sectional place winners by team:


Chautauqua Lake (Class B) – 7


Southwestern (Class C/D) – 5


Iroquois (B) – 4


Pioneer (B) – 4


Wilson (C/D) – 4


Dunkirk (B) – 3


Falconer/Cassadaga Valley (C/D) – 3


Medina (C/D) – 3


Newfane (C/D) – 3


Portville (C/D) – 3


Barker/Royalton-Hartland (C/D) – 2


Cheektowaga (B) – 2


Eden (C/D) – 2


Gowanda/Pine Valley (C/D) – 2


Williamsville South (B) – 2 (Div. I)


Akron (C/D) – 1


Franklinville (C/D) – 1


Frewsburg (C/D)– 1


Maple Grove (C/D) – 1


Maryvale (B) – 1


Randolph (C/D) – 1


Springville (B) – 1


Dual meet championships


The 7th Section VI Dual Meet Championships are scheduled for Saturday, January 6th, 2024 to be held at Niagara County Community College. Teams must submit their Letter of Intent to participate if selected by December 15th. The top-8 large and small school Section VI wrestling teams (based on a number of criteria) will receive invitations to the tournament.


While many of the ‘regulars’ competed once again in the 2023 Duals, five teams made their first program appearances in the event: Amherst and Orchard Park in Division I and Southwestern, Wilson, and Charter School for Applied Technologies in Division II. With the deadline to submit the Letter of Intent for the 2024 sectional duals not only two and a half weeks into the season and team selection day only one month in, teams will have to hit the ground running early to get a jump on the competition.


Starpoint in Division I and Chautauqua Lake in Division II captured each program's respective first sectional dual meet title last January. Starpoint went on to win the NYSPHSAA Division I Dual Meet title in Syracuse, the second Section VI team to do so. Meanwhile, Chautauqua Lake impressed, even in defeat, after wrestling the two-time state small school champion Tioga to a 33-24 match, the closest score for the Tigers in all of last season.


Last season, for the fourth straight time, at least one Section VI team reached the semifinals of the state championships and with Starpoint’s championship, Section VI became the very first NYSPHSAA region to have both a large and small school champion in the Dual Meet Championship era. Likewise, Section VI became the first section to enter four times in the event twice in the tournament's first five years.


2022-2023 Section VI Div. I Dual Meet Championships teams:


1st – Starpoint

2nd – Niagara Wheatfield - At-large to the state duals

3rd – Niagara Falls

4th – Amherst

Clarence

Lancaster

Orchard Park

Williamsville North


2022-2023 Section VI Div. II Dual Meet Championships teams:


1st – Chautauqua Lake

2nd – Newfane - At-large to the state duals

3rd – Falconer/Cassadaga Valley

4th – Southwestern

Wilson

Charter School for Applied Technologies


MMHSAA & CHSAA


A season after losing eight out of eleven Msgr. Martin CHSAA Championships place winners to graduation, the Association’s member school wrestlers stepped up and impressively placed thirteen at the 2023 tournament led by champions Austin Zimmerman (110) and Nik Massaro (126) from St. Joe’s. The pair earned automatic qualification to the state federation Divison I tournament where they both placed 5th in their respective brackets. Four top-3 place winners helped the Marauders to a 6th place team finish at CHSAA’s followed by St. Francis in 7th place with five 2nd-6th place winners.


In addition to Zimmerman and Massaro, six more CHSAA place winners from Msgr. Martin schools return this year; four total from St. Joe’s, three from St. Francis, and one from St. Mary’s.


The defending Msgr. Martin dual and All-Catholic Tournament champion St. Joe’s as well the dual and tournament runner-up St. Francis both back big groups of All-Catholic placers while welcoming in new star power.


Expectations are already high in Athol Springs as a host of talented wrestlers have shown up on the roster new to the school this year. Enter past Section VI champions and NYS place winners Gage and Griffin LaPlante, 2023 Section VI champion Cullen Edwards, and young rising stars and past sectional place winners Kole Haseley and Zach Caldwell. The new look Red Raiders will undoubtedly have one of if not the best lineup stretches in NYS from their middle through upper weights given the new additions and three CHSAA place winners occupying those weights.


Meanwhile at St. Joe’s, Zimmerman and Massaro will lead a talented group of Marauders where its strength is in the light weights part of the lineup. Jayson Kline returns as well coming off a strong junior campaign that ended with a 3rd place finish at CHSAA’s. Joining the Marauders this season is sophomore and returning CHSAA finalist Sean Gordon who should fit in perfectly with the star senior trio.


The individual talent among St. Francis and St. Joe’s may set the league up for one of its best postseason performances in Msgr. Martin history. With a number of other returning stars across the CHSAA landscape, the Association as a whole may be set up for a chance to have its best performance at the state federation tournament; the highest CHSAA team placement at states was 5th in 2019 in the Div. I tournament. Likewise, both St. Francis and St. Joe’s are still looking for their first state champions in their program histories…could both teams crown a NYS federation champion this season, maybe more?(!)


Likewise, with both teams carrying big expectations, the CHSAA Duals on Jan. 27 & 28 should be very interesting indeed as the Raiders and Marauders mix things up with other powerful Catholic teams like Iona Prep, Chaminade, Msgr. Farrell, and St. Anthony’s on Staten Island.


Returning Msgr. Martin CHSAA Championships place winners:


Austin Zimmerman – St. Joe’s – 1st, 5th place NYS


Quinn Martin – St. Mary’s – 6th


Sean Gordon – St. Joe’s – 2nd


Nik Massaro – St. Joe’s – 1st, 5th place NYS


Jayson Kline – St. Joe’s – 3rd


Brandon Drummond – St. Francis – 4th


Connor Miller – St. Francis – 3rd


Jack Coughlin – St. Francis – 5th


Girls wrestling


As participation in girls’ wrestling sky rockets across NYS, the NYSPHSAA Girls’ Wrestling Committee is hastily working on growing the sport while administering sport operations in real time. The biggest change for this season for NYS girls’ wrestling has to be the adoption of ‘modified’ freestyle rules. The Central Committee approved the NYSGWC recommendation to implement the following ‘modified’ freestyle rules starting this season, for girls’ wrestling only, at the October 18th meeting:


1. Each period will begin in the neutral position

2. The restart after any/every out of bounds will begin in neutral position


This season there will be seven public schools fielding girls’ only teams while many others are still in competing as ‘mixed competition.’


Niagara Falls and Niagara Wheatfield have teamed up to field a combined girls’ team between the schools where last year these student-athletes competed as part of the Niagara Frontier League combined team which also included wrestlers from North Tonawanda Lewiston-Porter. Bill Edwards will lead the 'new' team this winter. Also in the NFL, Lockport will field a girls’ team this season on its own with twenty certified student-athletes.


Three schools in the CCAA will field girls’ teams including last year’s largest area all-girls team in Chautauqua Lake as well as both Dunkirk and Fredonia. Sweet Home CSD and Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda UFSD decided to go ahead and each hire a girls’ head wrestling coach effective this season. Additionally, Clarence experienced a big turnout of female wrestlers but will be coached this season by the existing staff.


Section VI was well represented in Syracuse for the very first NYSPHSAA Girls’ Invitational last January. Ten student-athletes out of thirty-three entries from Section VI member schools placed in the tournament led by Invitational champion Gabriella Barone from Niagara Wheatfield, winning the 100-pound weight class with four straight pins.


Out of the whole tournament field, the thirteen weight classes’ thirty-nine top-3 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners only five athletes graduated in the spring (four champions, one 3rd placer) meaning 34 of those 39 wrestlers could be back competing for the same Invitational titles in January setting up another highly competitive event.


A pair of Section VIII champions lead the field in terms of returning Invitational winners by region followed by seven different sections who all feature one returning champion. Section III will return the most runners-up with three followed by sections V and VI with two each. Three Section VI student-athletes return as 3rd place finishers from last year, tied for the most with Section II.


Returning Section VI NYSPHSAA Girls’ Invitational Place winners:


Gabriella Barone – Niagara Wheatfield – Champion


Alexa Doxey – Newfane – 2nd place


Christina Evans – West Seneca West – 2nd place


Michaela Thomas – Iroquois – 3rd place


Doris Baker – North Tonawanda – 3rd place


Ava Bragg – Lockport – 3rd place


Hannah McCarley – North Tonawanda – 4th place


Khamya J’Maxwell – Lockport – 5th place



*A trio of CCAA matches kick things off on Wednesday, November 29th with Southwestern vs. Fredonia and Olean/A-L vs. Dunkirk in CCAA I while Falconer takes on Portville in a CCAA crossover leading into a very busy opening weekend in WNY and across New York State.*



Important post-season dates


Saturday, January 6th, 2024


Section VI Dual Meet Championships (Div. I and II) – Niagara County Community College


Friday, January 26th


NYSPHSAA Girls Wrestling Invitational - SRC Arena, Onondaga County CC, Syracuse


Saturday, January 27th


NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships (Div. I and II)

SRC Arena, Onondaga County CC, Syracuse


Saturday, January 27th – Sun. January 28th


CHSAA Dual Meet Championships – Msgr. Farrell HS, Staten Island


Saturday, February 3rd


Section VI Class Tournaments

Class AA – TBD

Class A – Clarence

Class B – Williamsville South

Class C/D – Southwestern


Sunday, February 4th


MMHSAA All-Catholic Championships – Canisius High School


Saturday, February 10th


Section VI Individual State Qualifiers

Division I – Williamsville North

Division II – Lake Shore


CHSAA Wrestling Championships

St. Anthony’s HS, Huntington, Long Island


Friday, February 23rd – Sat. February 24th


NYSPHSAA Federation Championships – MVP Arena, Albany




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