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WNY Wrestling Weekend Roundup Six

Area tournament results and notes for the sixth weekend of high school wrestling (Friday, 1/10 – Saturday, 1/11).

Friday, January 10th – Saturday, January 11th

18th Anniversary Eastern States Classic @ Sullivan County C.C.

Twenty local wrestlers competed at the prestigious 2020 Eastern States Classic held annually in Loch Sheldrake, NY. The event is one of the most highly regarded high school tournaments in the northeast, attracting hundreds of state champions, state place winners, and sectional place winners from across the region. While WNY didn’t crown any champions this year, six WNY wrestlers placed in the top seven of their respective brackets, ten more earned wins but missed placing, while four more competed and earned valuable experiences.

Niagara Falls senior Willie McDougald went 4-1 on the weekend, including wins over a pair of Section V NYS state tournament representatives, on the way back to the Eastern States final on Saturday evening. McDougald fell in the 2019 final by one point to eventual five-time NYS champion Adam Busiello from Section XI’s Eastport-South Manor.

In this weekend’s edition, McDougald entered the tournament as the 2-seed at 145-pounds. Willie stormed through the impressive field of wrestlers in front of him earning two pins, a major decision, and a decision to reach the final. Ultimately, McDougald would fall to #1 nationally ranked (according to Lachlan McNeil from the country’s top ranked high school team, Wyoming Seminary (PA), by another narrow one point bout, 5-4.

Newfane junior Andy Lucinksi made his name known to the wrestling world on a new stage with a runner-up finish at 106-pounds. Lucinski went 5-1 on the weekend capturing two pins, two decisions, and a major decision, including a 7-3 semifinal win over Wyoming Seminary’s Dominic Federici, who defeated Lucinski’s small school rival and state champion Jace Schafer (Palmyra-Macedon, V) 9-0 in the quarterfinal round. In the final, Lucinski would fall to #11 nationally ranked Brandon Cannon from Wyoming Seminary, 5-0. Newfane assistant coach Kevin Lucinski said on Andy’s performance “He had an excellent tournament. I think being in that environment really brought out the best in him. He was able get on his attacks and build some leads in the later rounds. In the final he wasn’t quite able to get past a really tough kid’s defense. Even with that it was still a very special weekend and he was able to make it through his side of the bracket with his wrestling family there supporting each other. Wheatfield, Williamsville North, Lancaster, Clarence, Niagara Falls, Grand Island, and Newfane came together as one team and represented Section VI wrestling.”

Niagara Wheatfield’s Justin McDougald was the 3-seed at 138-pounds and finished in exactly that position at Eastern States with a 5-1 record. Justin defeated five quality wrestlers including two fellow NYS place winners for 3rd in the bracket. The only blemish for McDougald was an ultimate overtime loss by the slimmest of margins to returning NYS champion Ryan Burgos from Section V’s Hilton. A McDougald/Burgos NYS tournament rematch might just be on the horizon in February. Burgos was a runner-up to the #1 ranked wrestler in the country in Wyoming Seminary’s Beau Bartlett.

Ryan Stencel became Lancaster’s highest placing Eastern States finisher with a 3rd place finish at 182-pounds. As the 2-seed, Stencel cruised past his first three opponents by way of a technical fall in the first match then two pins to get into the semifinal. In the semi, Stencel fell to Shenendehowa’s (II) Brock Delsignore for his only loss of the weekend. Delsignore went on to win in the final. However in the wrestlebacks, Stencel earned his closest win of the weekend, 6-4, to earn a spot in the 3rd place bout. Stencel needed less than one period to pin his opponent to capture bronze at Eastern States.

Grand Island senior Blake Bielec became the Vikings’ very first Eastern States place winner taking 6th at 220 pounds as the bracket’s 6-seeded wrestler. Bielec, a returning Section VI champion, was the first place winner in GI’s first appearance at the tournament. Vikings assistant coach Max Tafelski stated “Blake looked eager and ready for the challenge that the field had to offer. He’s walking away knowing what he has to brush up on for the rest of the season as he returns home with an Eastern States place finish.”

St. Joe’s senior heavyweight Caleb Lesswing rounded out the WNY place winners with a 7th place finish at 285-pounds. Lesswing finished 5-2 on the weekend as the 9-seed, collecting three pins in the process. Caleb became the first ‘Joe’s wrestler since Richie Jones in 2015 to place at Eastern States. Lesswing led the trio of Marauders wrestlers at the event which also included Ben Parrish who went 3-2 at 152-pounds and Ronnie Jones at 170-pounds, who went 1-2 against top competition. This was the fourth appearance for St. Joe’s at Eastern States, and collectively the best finish for their wrestlers as a group.

Other local competitors with their tournament records were Lancaster’s Myles Gronowski (3-2) and Michael Schaefer (1-2), Williamsville North’s Mike Catanzaro (4-2, finished one round from placing) and Cam Catrabone (2-2), Clarence’s Aiden Rabideau (3-2, one round from placing), Amherst’s Ryan Bitka (1-2), Grand Island’s Jack Randle (2-2), Brian Bielec, and Adam Daghestani, and Wheatfield’s Collin Coughenour (1-2) and Anthony and Mark Kuhn.

20th Annual Patrick Morales Memorial Tournament @ Falconer HS

The twentieth version of Falconer’s tournament named in honor of the late Patrick Morales was another outstanding one as eight Buffalo area teams and seven Southern Tier squads clashed with six Pennsylvania and Ohio teams. The tournament has grown in attendance among Buffalo/ECIC squads in recent years, providing an excellent mix of wrestlers from many different backgrounds.

Corry Area HS (PA) outdistanced the host Golden Falcons, 258.5 to 239 point for the team title. Falconer was paced by eleven place winners including three champions, all of whom have been outstanding for NYS #1 ranked Falconer this season. Brayden Newman claimed the 106-pound title with a second period pin the final. Joe Pillittieri continued his breakout season capturing the 126-pound title as the 4-seeded wrestler in the weight. ‘Joey P’ knocked off top seeded Mohamed Alshawi from Lackawanna, 5-3, in the semifinals and was a 7-1 winner in the final to take 1st and also earn the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler Award. Bryce Baglia (33-1) captured the 152-pound title pinning all four of his opponents in the two day event.

Southwestern rounded out the top five teams with two runners-up in Michael Carnes at 120 and Dontae Hoose at 195 in addition to six more placers. Carnes also collected his 100th career victory at the event. Chautauqua Lake finished 3.5 points behind Southwestern and crowned one champion in Trent Burchanowski at 113-pounds. Maple Grove finished seventh in the team standings led by 132-pound champion Luke Tomlinson, who captured four pins in his 5-0 performance, including a finals pin over a returning Section VI champion.

Eden was led by one champion in Giovanni Schifano (22-1) at 160-pounds, who defeated three Pennsylvania opponents in a row to capture the Morales Tournament title. Starpoint’s 2-seed Gage LaPlante captured the 99-pound title to lead his team at Falconer, as he earned two pins and then defeated Chautauqua Lake stars in both the semifinal and final (6-1 and 9-1, respectively). LaPlante is currently 26-1 this season.

Robert Bradshaw Memorial Tournament @ Canandaigua Academy (V)

In a field of teams that were mostly without their top wrestlers off competing at Eastern States, Clarence (also without its top wrestler) placed 4th out of twenty-four teams at Canandaigua’s Bradshaw Invitational. The Red Devils finished nineteen points ahead of Pittsford (V), and behind Section IV powerhouse Horseheads.

Head coach Jason Chase entered eighteen wrestlers in the event, twelve of whom placed in the top eight of their respective weight classes. Jon Palozzi and Jack Feltz led the squad with runner-up performances at 132 and 160-pounds, respectively, while Marquis Carns finished 3rd at 195, capturing five pins (four in the first period) over the course of the two days. Also placing for the Red Devils were Jimmy Dicostanzo (4th-152), Nick Murphy (6th-106), Owen Cummins (6th-152), Aidan Walline (6th-160), Jefferson Long (7th-120), Jake Slowinski (7th-145), Juan Santiago (7th-170), Zach Dicey (8th-113), and Dylan Carns (8th-138).

Saturday, January 11th

27th Annual Lockport Boosters and Sunrise Optimists Invitational Wrestling Tournament @ Lockport HS

The #2 ranked large school in NYS ( Spencerport Rangers (V) rolled to the team title with three champions and 226.5 team points, outpacing second place Fredonia who finished with 183. The Rangers’ Seth Russo, Silas Egenlauf, and Mason Wersinger all captured individual titles, with Wersinger winning the Outstanding Wrestler Award due in large part to an impressive state tournament caliber win over Newfane’s Ryan Nugent in the 145-pound final.

Fredonia went two for three in the finals as Ceric Kristan captured the 182-pound Lockport title while Alex Christy captured the 220-pound title. Kristan was a 7-3 winner over up and coming Lockport freshman star Kevin Daskavitz while Christy hung on for a 3-0 win over Hamburg’s upper weight standout John Haberman. Hamburg was fourth in the team standings behind Brockport (V) and crowned one champion out of four finalists. Ryan Forrest was the lone Bulldog champion with an impressive 6-0 win over Fairport’s (V) Brady Unger in the 132-pound final. Newfane was fifth in the team standings, ten points behind Hamburg, and was led by 285-pound champion Jaden Heers, who was an overtime winner over Spencerport’s Mike Nanna in a highly entertaining and athletic bout. Niagara Wheatfield, without the services of four regular starters who were competing at Eastern States, was led by 160-pound champion Jake Thibeault, who earned a finals pin to capture 1st place. Niagara Falls crowned one champion in Amarfio Reynolds, Jr, who came out on top in a close match earning critical near falls points for a 9-5 decision win in the 106-pound final.

Canisius crowned one champion in Joe Dixon at 170-pounds, who cruised through the field earning two first period pins a finals pin in less than thirty seconds to capture Lockport gold. Lewiston-Porter’s Caden Barrientos continues to impress as arguably the Section VI Division 2 99-pound frontrunner after taking down Newfane star Aidan Gillings, 7-5, in the Lockport final. Thus far, Barrientos (32-1) holds wins over the notable field of other 99-pound contenders in the area. Without a doubt, Gillings will be in the mix in February as well. St. Mary’s’ Matt Ash captured the 126-pound Lockport title by way of a medical forfeit in the final. Ash was the 2-seed in the bracket and earned two more pins on his record in the first two rounds of the tournament.

52nd Annual Franklinville Invitational Wrestling Tournament @ Franklinville HS

In what turned out to be a two-team race, Frontier overtook Pioneer for first place in the final round of the tournament as four Falcons won individual titles to edge the Panthers, 247 to 243 points. The Falcons’ Travis Browning (33-3) captured the 99-pound title with two pins and an important finals major decision over a Pioneer opponent. Teammate Adam Kowalski followed up with gold at 120-pounds, earning two pins on the way to the final bout. Dylan Wojciechowski (37-3) continued to impress with two dominating pins in the opening rounds, a major in the semis, and a 1-0 overtime win over returning Division 2 sectional finalist Cleon Lawton in the 170-pound final. Konrad Kryszton was the final Frontier champion with a 7-1 decision win in the 195-pound final, also over a Franklinville star. Frontier head coach John Chowske said on his team’s effort “We placed fourteen out of fifteen yesterday. I was very happy with the performance from all of our guys. Our leaders wrestled well an everyone took care of business.”

Pioneer was led by three champions and thirteen place winners which was enough to separate them and third place Portville by 77.5 points. Daniel Kirsch (25-0) extended his undefeated start with a second period pin the 113-pound Franklinville final. The Panthers got back to back champions when Alex Miley captured the 138-pound title and Kam Riordan claimed the 145-pound title. Miley and Riordan both earned pins in the quarterfinals and semis and then major decision wins in their respective finals. Portville crowned one champion in Jayden Lassiter (35-3) who went 4-0 with four pins to claim the 160-pound tournament title.

Franklinville finished fourth overall only 5.5 points behind Portville and was fueled by three champions. 8th grader Ethan Coleman was the 2-seed and earned two pins, a technical fall, and a finals major decision over a returning sectional place winner to claim the 106-pound title as well as the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler Award. Nolan Palmatier captured his second straight title in his home gym with a close 2-1 finals decision to win the 132-pound bracket. Everett Leonard locked up a finals pin to win the 182-pound title. Olean crowned two champions in Gavin Kulp and Conner Walsh. Kulp (27-3) cruised past his first three opponents before receiving a forfeit in the first place bout. Walsh (26-3) earned two pins and captured 1st in the 220-pound bracket. East Aurora’s returning sectional champion Alex Skowronski was the lone champion for the Blue Devils as he won the 126-pound title.

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