The 68th Section VI wrestling championship and 55th annual state qualifier will be wrestled on Saturday, February 10th for both large and small schools in Section VI and across the eleven NYSPHSAA sections. This will be the 15th split division state qualifier. The first large and small school separated tournaments in NYS were wrestled in the 2003-2004 season. This weekend’s Section VI Division 1 tournament will be held at North Tonawanda High School.
The fifteen weight class champions will automatically advance to the NYSPHSAA Division 1 Tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany February 23-24. Section VI may be awarded one to three wildcards based on the previous season’s sectional place finish at states.
My fearless predictions for this weekend’s state qualifier:
- Brian Bielec (8th grade) – Grand Island
- Nick Ewan (12) – Jamestown
- Colin Coughenour (7) – Niagara-Wheatfield
- Myles Gronowski (8) – Lancaster
Unlike Section VI Division 2, Division 1 99-pounds return zero sectional place finishers (or even participants) from a year ago but is similar with a competitive top 4 group. Bielec has a major decision win over Ewan this season, Gronowski has an OT win over Bielec, and Coughenour decisioned Gronowski 4-2. Gronowski beat Ewan in the Class AA final last weekend 3-0 and Bielec beat Coughenour 4-1 in Class A. 99-pounds is looking like a toss-up.
Finals prediction: Bielec dec. Ewan, 5-3
- Tyler Bartolomei (11) – North Tonawanda
- Jacob Harry (12) – Lancaster
- Jack Randle (10) – Grand Island
- Owen Weller (10) – Frontier
Bartolomei was 3rd in Section VI last season at 99 while Harry was the finalist in that weight. He comes into the weekend with a perfect 37-0 record and has been a point scoring machine. Senior Harry has been the anchor for the Legend’s light weights this season.
Finals prediction: Bartolomei md. Harry, 10-0
- Parker Rozler (12) – Lancaster
- Mike Catanzaro (9) – Williamsville North/East
- Cody Pool (12) – Jamestown
- Steve Bachman (12) – Grand Island
Rozler is a defending Section VI champion at 106-pounds last season. When it was looking as if Rozler and Clarence’s defending sectional champion Aiden Rabideau might be on a collision course, Rabideau moved up to 120. Just as surprising has been Catanzaro who has wrestled limited matches this season due to injury with two wins over Pool in the last two weeks. Both wrestlers were 3rd in the Section VI last year at their weights; Catanzaro at 106 and Pool at 113. A semifinal between these two could be very entertaining.
Finals prediction: Rozler dec. Pool, 8-1
- Aiden Rabideau (10) – Clarence
- Michael Snowden (11) – Niagara Falls
- Yasser Esaleh (12) – Sweet Home
- Ryan Forrest (10) – Hamburg
- Nick Barberio (11) – Lancaster
Defending Section VI 99-pound champion Rabideau moved up to 120 indefinitely late this season after wrestling much of it at 113. He won the ECIC Tournament at 113 with a 4-2 decision over Rozler. Snowden was a section finalist last season at 106. Forrest was 4th and Barberio 5th at 106 as well.
Finals prediction: Rabideau dec. Snowden, 10-3
- Justin McDougald (10) – Niagara-Wheatfield
- Anthony Corigliano (12) – Clarence
- Joshua Rolon (11) – Lockport
- Deandre Prum (11) Niagara Falls
Defending section champion and state finalist McDougald is the obvious favorite to win the weight. Corigiliano has had a good season with a goal of the section final and the chance at an upset. However, third seeded Rolon may have a chance to play spoiler after a tight overtime loss to Corigliano, 7-6. Corigliano was 4th in the section last year at 113 and Rolon was 5th at 126.
Finals prediction: McDougald tf. Corigliano, 17-2
- Willie McDougald (10) – Niagara Falls
- Josh McCoy (11) – Niagara Falls
- Stevie Pusateri (12) – Williamsville North/East
- Jeremy Marszalek (12) – Frontier
- Seth Jackson (11) – Grand Island
Defending Section VI champion and NYS Division 1 6th place finisher from last season McDougald received a medical hardship into the qualifier as the clear #1 seed. Also receiving a hardship at 132 was Clarence’s Andy Burden who will not wrestle this weekend. Jackson was 5th at 113 last season. We may be looking at an all-Wolverines final.
Finals prediction: McDougald dec. McCoy, 11-5
- Vinny Catanzaro (12) – Williamsville North/East
- Jacob DeWolf (11) – Niagara-Wheatfield
- Ryan Hornstrom (12) – Hamburg
Catanzaro dominated his way to the Class AA title last weekend with two pins and two techs. He is a defending sectional finalist having in lost in last season’s final 6-4 to eventual state place winner Warren McDougald. DeWolf was 3rd at 138 a year ago. Hornstrom received a medical hardship into the tournament. He was a finalist at 132 last season.
Finals prediction: Catanzaro dec. DeWolf, 8-7
- Warren McDougald (11) – Niagara-Wheatfield
- Seth MacTavish (12) – Jamestown
This bracket is a two horse race: McDougald and MacTavish. McDougald is the defending Section VI champion from 132 and placed 6th in NYS large school tournament last season. MacTavish was 6th at 152 last season in Section VI.
Finals prediction: McDougald md. MacTavish, 12-4
- Ryan Stencel (10) – Lancaster
- Adam Daghestani (10) – Grand Island
- Logan Kent (12) – North Tonawanda
Stencel is the defending Section VI champion up from 138-pounds. Daghestani took 4th in that weight last season and Kent is back at 152 having taken 3rd in last season’s qualifier. Stencel has a 6-0 decision win over Daghestani already this season, and Daghestani defeated Kent in last weekend’s Class A final 3-1 as well as a tight overtime win from early January, 4-2.
Finals prediction: Stencel dec. Kent, 8-1
- Josh Thibeault (11) – Niagara Wheatfield
- Jay Breeden (12) – Grand Island
- John Milks (12) – Ken-Ton
- Brandon Simonson (12) – Amherst
Thibeault spend much of this season at 152. The defending section finalist beat Breeden 3-2 in OT in last weekend’s Class A final. Breeden won by decision over Simonson in the semifinal, 4-3. Simonson was 4th in the section last year at 152 while Milks was 5th at 160. This could be anyone’s tournament to win.
Finals prediction: Simonson dec. Breeden, 4-1
- Derek Wojciechowski (12) – Frontier
- Dan Emblidge (12) – Grand Island
Emblidge was 2nd and Wojciechowski 4th last year at 160-pounds. Wojciechowski defeated Emblidge by a close decision 6-5 at NFWOA Tournament in early December. A finals rematch should be very tight.
Finals prediction: Wojciechowski dec. Emblidge, 3-1
- Connor Kenney (11) – Grand Island
- Steve Daskavitz (12) – Lockport
- Joe Mannarino (12) – Clarence
- Mike Vantresca (12) – Frontier
Kenney earned the first seed after a season that has got him currently at 40-4 and seeded over three returning sectional place winners. Vantresca was 3rd at 170 and Mannarino 5th in that weight in last season’s qualifier. Daskavitz was 3rd at 182. Mannarino won by decision over Vantresca at the Section VI Duals, 9-7 and again in the Class AA semifinal, 10-5. Kenney defeated Daskavitz 5-4 in the league dual on January 10th. On January 13th Kenney teched Daskavitz 20-3 at the Lockport Tournament. Then, Daskavitz earned a 2-1 ultimate tiebreaker win over Kenney at the Duals.
Finals prediction: Kenney dec. Daskavitz, 10-5.
- Cam Walter (12) – Williamsville North/East
- Blake Bielec (10) – Grand Island
- Tom Vaughan (12) – Williamsville South
The movement of Joe Andreessen up to 220 leaves this weight class there for the taking. Both Walter and Bielec were 5th at the state qualifier last season in their weights: Bielec at 182 and Walter at 195.
Finals prediction: Bielec dec. Walter, 7-2
- Joe Andreessen (12) – Lancaster
- Noah Turzillo (12) – Jamestown
- Ryan Bitka (10) – Amherst
Andreessen was a sectional finalist last season and earned a wildcard to states, placing 5th in the large school tournament. The Division 1 football commit to Bryant University placed 4th at Eastern States and is looking to take a run at a state title. Turzillo was a 5th place finisher at last season’s state qualifier.
Finals prediction: Andreessen over Turzillo, 1st period pin.
- Jaquan Johnson (12) – Grand Island
- Calik Kennedy (12) – Amherst
- Diego Velasquez (12) – Frontier
A season long rivalry may very well be settled on Saturday between Johnson and Kennedy. Johnson holds the edge over Kennedy in the season head to heads, up 2 wins to Kennedy’s 1. Kennedy defeated Johnson in the Class A final 1-0. A Velasquez-Kennedy semifinal should be good. Johnson defeated Kennedy in last season’s finale for 3rd at 285 in Section VI.
Finals prediction: Kennedy dec. Johnson, 3-1 OT
Like Division 1 the fifteen weight class champions will automatically advance to the NYSPHSAA Division 2 Tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany February 23-24. Section VI small schools should take a handful of ‘wildcards’ as well since Section VI small school state teams have placed in the top four sections consistently in recent years.
My fearless predictions for this weekend’s state qualifier:
- Luke Tomlinson (8th grade) – Maple Grove
- Andrew Lucinski (9) – Newfane
- Carson Alberti (8) – Depew-Cleveland Hill
- David Ball (9) – Gowanda
Top seeded Luke Tomlinson leads a group of very talented wrestlers. Three wrestlers who placed in last season’s sectional tournament return at weight. Alberti was a 2016-2017 sectional finalist and state tournament wildcard. Lucinksi took 3rd in Section VI a season ago and Ball was 4th.
Finals prediction: Alberti dec. Tomlinson, 10-7
- Mikey Evans (9) – Springville
- Michael Alberti (10) – Depew-Cleveland Hill
- Doug Ciszak (12) – Pioneer
- Garrett Swan (9) – Southwestern
- Donovan Bukaczewski (9) – Iroquois
This weight class features two defending Section VI champions in top seeded Mikey Evans and third seed Doug Ciszak. Alberti defeated Ciszak by decision 6-2 in December at the ECIC Tournament, eventually jumping in seed. Ciszak did not compete in the Class B tournament last weekend and was awarded a medical hardship and top 3 seed for the state qualifier this weekend.
Finals prediction: Evans major decision Ciszak, 12-2
- Alex Skowronski (10) – East Aurora
- Julian Martin (9) – Lake Shore
- Blake Colantino (10) – Eden
- Mohamed Alshawi (8) – Lackawanna
Section VI Division 2 113 pounds is a prime example of a ‘wide open’ weight class with no clear favorite and no returning sectional place winners from last year. East Aurora’s Alex Skowronski is the top seeded wrestler coming in with a 34-5 record. Portville’s Nick Carro has the second most points in the bracket behind Skowronski but due to the head to head rules was buried in seeds.
Finals prediction: Colantino dec. Alshawi, 3-2
- Shane Hetrick (12) – Maple Grove
- Nick Bierfeldt (11) – Olean
- Brendon Ramsey (9) – Chautauqua Lake
- Brendon Wallace (11) – Fredonia
Hetrick has been the top ranked 120-pound wrestler in western New York all of this season and is the #1 seed for this weekend’s state qualifier in a very competitive 120-pound bracket. Hetrick was a sectional finalist last season and earned a wildcard to states where he placed 5th at 113-pounds. Bierfeldt was 3rd in the 2016-2017 Section VI qualifier and Ramsey was 6th, both at 106-pounds.
Finals prediction: Hetrick dec. Bierfeldt, 6-1
- Zach Bradell (11) – Tonawanda
- Owen Kissell (12) – Akron/Alden
- Tyler Le (11) – Cheektowaga
- Austin Bourgeois (11) – Chautauqua Lake
- Brandon Swaciak (12) – Iroquois
Top seed Braddell is looking to reclaim the sectional crown after falling in the tournament final last season. The 2015-2016 Section VI champion and 4th place state finisher in Albany is followed by a solid group of 126-pounders. Kissell has had an outstanding season after taking 5th in the section at 120-pounds last season, beating Bourgeois for that place. Le was 4th a season ago at 120. Swaciak was 6th in Section VI Division 1 last season. Defending Section VI champion Dalton Gardner from Fredonia will not compete this weekend due to injury.
Finals prediction: Braddell dec. Kissell, 3-2
- Hector Colom (12) – Fredonia
- Matt Evans (12) – Randolph
- Jacob Vergien (11) – Iroquois
- Colton Slade (12) – Iroquois
- Jimmy Kramer (11) – Falconer
Defending section champion and state finalist Hector Colom is the top seeded wrestler in possibly the deepest bracket in both Section VI Division 1 and 2. Evans has split with Gardner 1-1 this season, Vergien earned a victory by decision over Willie McDougald from Niagara Falls recently, and Kramer lost a very close 4-3 decision to Colom in the Class C final. Evans was 5th in Section VI at 126 last season and Kramer was 3rd at 120. Vergien took 3rd at 132 in Division 1 last season and Slade was 4th at 120 in big schools.
Semifinal predictions: Colom dec. Kramer, 5-2 and Vergien dec. Evans, 5-3 in OT
Finals prediction: Colom dec. Vergien, 3-1
- Johnny Putney (11) – East Aurora
- Giovanni Russo (11) – Fredonia
- Preston Flugel (12) – Albion
- Gavin Kulp (10) – Olean
- Ather Phommatha (11) – Pioneer
- Nick Saeger (11) – Falconer
Putney was a sectional finalist in 2016-2017 at 126 and Russo was 3rd at that weight. The two look to collide this weekend in the sectional final. Flugel defeated Seager last season for 3rd in Section VI at 132.
Finals prediction: Putney dec. Russo, 9-6
- Cory Day (11) – Iroquois
- Caleb Riordan (12) – Pioneer
- Sam Grey (11) – Cattaraugus-Little Valley
- Derek Ecklund (11) – Chautauqua Lake
- Giovanni Schifano (10) – Eden
Day looks to complete the season with a sectional title after just falling short in the Division 1 state qualifier final last season. Riordan was 3rd in Section VI at 138 and Grey 5th at 132 at the 2016-2017 state qualifier. Day earned a decision over Riordan in the Class B final 7-0, and Riordan has a win over Grey 7-3.
Finals prediction: Day dec. Grey, 8-4
- Dylan Ingrao (12) – Falconer
- Zach Brown (12) – Newfane
- Tyler Choate (12) – Baker/Royalton-Hartland
Look for the state’s top ranked 152-pounder in Ingrao to defend his sectional title and chase a state championship after a 4th place finish in Albany last season.
Finals prediction: Ingrao over Brown, 2nd period pin
- Dan Torres (12) – Falconer
- Bryce Rowe (12) – Chautauqua Lake
- Cody Fouts (12) – Lewiston-Porter
- Zacori Volious (11) – Maryvale
- Robbie PeQueen (12) – Akron/Alden
The season long back and forth between defending sectional champion and state place winner (5th in 2017) Torres (51-1 record) and Chautauqua Lake’s Rowe may come to a head in Saturday’s sectional final, given of course that both wrestlers make it to the final. Torres is 2-1 this season against Rowe, however he may see a very tough semifinal match especially if PeQueen can defeat the fourth seed Volious. PeQueen took 5th in Section VI last season and took Torres to overtime at the Section VI Duals and the Golden Falcon senior came out on top 11-9. A Rowe vs. Fouts semifinal may be one of the matches of the day as well. At the 2016-2017 state qualifier, Rowe was 4th at 145, Fouts was 3rd at 160 and PeQueen was 5th at 160.
Finals prediction: Torres dec. Row, 3-1 OT
- Robbie Penhollow (11) – Falconer
- Jacob Sarow (12) – Akron/Alden
- Devan Moore (11) – Olean
Section VI’s top two favorites for the 170-pound section championship may meet in Saturday’s final. Both wrestlers have only one loss on the season (Penhollow is 51-1, Sarow is 40-1). Sarow defeated Penhollow for 3rd in Section VI a year ago. Moore was 5th in Section VI last season at 182.
Finals prediction: Penhollow dec. Sarow, 6-5
- Giuseppe Hoose (12) – Southwestern
- Julian Nixon (12) – Newfane
- Pat Walsh (11) – Olean
Hoose was the #1 seed in last season’s state qualifier but was defeated in the 160-pound final by Torres from Falconer. After splitting with defending Section VI champion Zak Trim from Maple Grove, the Red Dragon moved up a weight leaving the door wide open for Hoose to chase. Nixon defeated Walsh for 5th in Section VI at 170 last season.
Finals prediction: Hoose md. Walsh, 12-1
- Zak Trim (12) – Maple Grove
- Corey Keefe (12) – Falconer
- Elijah Sones (12) – Medina
Trim defeated Keefe in last season’s state qualifier final, 2-1. However, Keefe advanced to the state tournament as well, on a wildcard, and claimed 6th in NYS at 182-pounds. Trim also has a win over Keefe this season at STWOA Tournament, a 5-2 decision.
Finals prediction: Trim dec. Keefe, 4-2 OT
- Mike Rigerman (11) – Pioneer
- Connor Walsh (9) – Olean
- Ben Szymanowski (11) – Chautauqua Lake
- Jayden Heers (10) – Newfane
- Ben Schwab (12) – Barker/Royalton-Hartland
Rigerman was a section finalist last year to his own teammate Tyler Smith. Szymanowski was 5th in the section at 220 last season.
Finals prediction: Rigerman md. Szymanowski, 9-1
- Nick Becker (12) – Randolph
- Anthony Robinson (12) – Starpoint
- Alex Buckley (12) – Lake Shore
- Ty Casinelli (11) – Newfane
- Kiar Parker (12) – Cheektowaga
An unusually deep weight class this season. Becker is the top seed coming into the tournament following a 4th place finish in last season’s qualifier. Parker defeated Becker for 3rd at 285 and Casinelli was 5th. Robinson was 6th in Division 1 at 220-pounds last season and placed 4th at Eastern States last month.
Finals prediction: Robinson dec. Becker, 3-2