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WNY Wrestling Christmas Break Report

Updated: Dec 26, 2023


Cover photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky


The first four weeks of duals and weekend tournaments of the 2023-2024 high school wrestling season in western New York have come and gone in a flash. League dual meet title races are starting to take shape throughout the area; seven of the eight interscholastic leagues in Section VI & Msgr. Martin have at least two teams with unbeaten records in their division.


Likewise, individual favorites to win league, class, and sectional honors are emerging as are the challengers in each weight class. Don’t forget – the two pound growth allowance went into effect on Christmas Day which always results in many wrestlers appearing at a lower weight class they are certified for, but not possible to be reached until Dec. 25th.

 

This week’s wrestling slate to end 2023 will be a big one for WNY area teams. A pair of top ranked Section VI small schools will compete at the annual Dick Vincent Duals at Letchworth (V) starting on Wednesday and going through Thursday. On Thursday and Friday, a number of teams will hit the road for tournaments at Spencerport (V) and Holley (V) while Grand Island and Akron host events locally. A handful of teams will travel to the rugged Windsor (IV) Christmas Tournament’s 66th annual event (!) while Niagara Wheatfield heads into the heart of Section III for the 20th Annual Spc. Ken Haines Memorial Tournament at SUNY Oswego.


Finally, five of WNY’s best will head to the nationally regarded Powerade Invitational outside of Pittsburgh on Friday and Saturday in returning tournament finalist Cam Catrabone, returning place winner Gage LaPlante, returning competitor Griffin LaPlante, and Caden and Jaron Barrientos from Lewiston-Porter who will compete in the event for the first time.

 

So far this season, eight of the ten teams with new head coaches have earned at least one dual win. Additionally, head coach James Cunningham led the Lafayette/Buffalo Public Schools team to the first wrestling dual meet win in the history of the city district on Dec. 13th. After a complete three year hiatus from wrestling, the Alden Bulldogs and head coach Danielle Stanley earned the program's first dual victory since 2019 on Dec. 18th.

 

The 7th Section VI Dual Meet Championships is coming up quickly on Saturday, Jan. 6th at NCCC. As with any sectional duals, a number of teams could make their first appearances at this year’s championships where the top seeded teams will have their sights set on the Section VI divisional dual titles and qualifying for the state duals on Saturday, Jan. 27th. The Section VI wrestling committee will seed the Duals on Sunday, Dec. 31st after this week’s competitions (Dec. 27-Dec. 30) are complete.

 

As discussed in the Season Preview, the Section VI Div. II field of returning state place winners and qualifiers are collectively looking very strong at the near midway point of the season. Whomever the twenty-six wrestlers are that reach the state tournament representing the Section VI small schools should put the team in excellent position for a top-5, perhaps even top-3 place finish. Likewise, the Msgr. Martin team that competes at the CHSAA Championships will be capable of making some serious noise, and perhaps help the Catholic schools team to its best place finish ever in the federation tournament team standings.

 

The 2nd NYSPHSAA Girls’ Invitational is on the horizon as well, coming up on Friday, Jan. 26th in Syracuse. Section VI had one of the largest teams of athletes of all of the eleven NYSPHSAA regions at the 2023 event. Seven returning place winners will lead what should be another big group of Section VI athletes that will have plenty of wrestlers capable of placing at the Invitational. So far through four weeks of the season, WNY high school girls have had a number of competitive dual meets and tournaments with some seriously impressive results.

 

Not even a full month into the season, dozens of talented WNY high school wrestlers with ten or more matches wrestled have only one loss on this season’s resume. However, six athletes remain without a blemish on their current records (min. ten matches):

 

Tavio Hoose – sophomore – Southwestern

Season record: 22-0 (13 pins)


Photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky

 

Gage LaPlante – senior – St. Francis

Season record: 19-0 (12 pins, 3 technical falls)


Photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky

 

Cullen Edwards – sophomore – St. Francis

Season record: 18-0 (12 pins)


Photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky

 

Cam Catrabone – senior – Williamsville North/East

Season record: 16-0 (12 pins, 3 tech falls)


Photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky

 

Jordan Joslyn – senior – Chautauqua Lake

Season record: 16-0 (8 pins, 5 tech falls)


Photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky


Jaron Barrientos – junior – Lewiston-Porter

Season record: 10-0 (3 pins)


Photo courtesy of Jeff Pataky

 

Section VI and Msgr. Martin wrestling dual team standings (As of 12/26/2023)







4th WNY wrestling dual team power ranking

(Following results from Mon. 12/18 – Fri. 12/22)

 

Large schools

 

1. Niagara Wheatfield Falcons

2. Williamsville North/East Spartans

3. St. Francis Red Raiders

4. St. Joe’s Marauders

5. Amherst Tigers

6. Jamestown Red Raiders

7. Grand Island Vikings

8. North Tonawanda Lumberjacks

9. Niagara Falls Wolverines

10. Hamburg Bulldogs

Honorable Mention – Lancaster Legends

 

Small schools

 

1. Chautauqua Lake Eagles

2. Falconer/Cassadaga Valley Golden Cougars

3. Southwestern Trojans

4. Newfane Panthers

5. Pioneer Panthers

6. Iroquois Chiefs

7. Portville Panthers

8. Wilson Lakemen

9. Medina Mustangs

 

Upcoming important dates

 

Saturday, January 6th, 2024

 

7th Annual Section VI Dual Meet Championships (Div. I and II)

Niagara County Community College

 

Friday, Jan. 26th


2nd NYSPHSAA Girls’ Wrestling Invitational

SRC Arena, Onondaga County CC, Syracuse

 

Saturday, Jan. 27th


6th Annual NYSPHSAA Dual Meet Championships (Div. I and II)

SRC Arena, Onondaga County CC, Syracuse

 

Saturday, Jan. 27th – Sunday, Jan. 28th


CHSAA Dual Meet Championships

Msgr. Farrell HS, Staten Island

 

Saturday, February 3rd

 

Section VI Class Tournaments

Class AA – JAMESTOWN

Class A – Clarence

Class B – Williamsville South

Class C/D – Southwestern

 

Sunday, Feb. 4th


58th Annual Msgr. Martin All-Catholic Wrestling Championships

Canisius High School

 

Saturday, Feb. 10th

 

Section VI Individual State Qualifiers

Division I – Williamsville North

Division II – Lake Shore


Sunday, Feb. 11th


58th Annual CHSAA Wrestling Championships

St. Anthony's HS, Huntington, NY

 

Friday, Feb. 23rd – Saturday, Feb. 24th

 

61st Annual NYSPHSAA Federation Championships

MVP Arena, Albany

 

 

 

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