Two dozen offseason high school wrestling clubs will descend on Buffalo Riverworks on Saturday, June 2nd for the 2nd Annual Ilio DiPaolo’s Nickel City Duals.
The Western New York Wrestling Coaches Association (WNYWCA) with the support of sponsors like Riverworks and Ilio DiPaolo’s will host the tournament under the pavilions and on the ice rinks at Riverworks on Saturday. The 24-team dual meet tournament features primarily local (i.e. Section VI) offseason high school teams and clubs as well as a handful of clubs from the Rochester/Section V region. All teams will wrestle in ‘pools’ with the winners advancing to the championship bracket. Also, all teams are guaranteed five matches.
According to tournament co-coordinator and Clarence High School head wrestling coach Jason Chase the tournament was started as a way to raise money for Section VI wrestling post-season expenses, to compete with other area’s summer dual meet tournaments, and to attract competition from other sections and states to Buffalo.
“We’ve got teams coming now from Section V as well” pointed out Coach Chase. “We’d like to get some other teams from Sections III, IV, and beyond in the future too.”
A few years ago, Riverworks was identified as a location that might be suited to host an outdoor wrestling tournament, given the space for mats, concessions, viewing areas, and the fact that it is under pavilions to negate adverse weather. With all things considered, the WNYWCA leadership set to explore this option to host a unique, competitive, ‘outdoor’ wrestling experience.
In its first year, the 24-team field was fully attended. Coaches, parents, fans, and unsuspecting people out on a Saturday afternoon along the water in downtown Buffalo were impressed with the setup and the competitive wrestling. “Feedback was great” said Coach Chase.
The inaugural tournament champion, ‘Team X’ out of the Section V region coached by Ian Paddock, a 3x NYS Champion (2005, 07-08) at Warsaw H.S., will be back and split into two teams as Team X Red and Team X Blue. Team Niagara, last years’ runner-up, is entered in the tournament again as well.
While the tournament features competitive summer wrestling at a unique venue, the WNYWCA keeps in mind it’s in- and post-season goals for the regions’ varsity wrestling teams. “The goal is a bigger venue for hosting the state qualifier in the future” said Coach Chase. “While our Division 1 and Division 2 tournaments are held at high schools, we would like to bring the state qualifiers under one roof,” which is something that most other sections in NYS have achieved. This has been a topic of discussion in recent years within the wrestling community, with consensus on location and cost the primary points of disagreement among the involved parties.
Wrestling will begin at 9am on Saturday at Buffalo Riverworks, 359 Ganson St, Buffalo, 14203. Eight mats will be used and New York State Wrestling Officials Association (NYSWOA) certified referees will officiate. T-shirts and a trophy will be awarded to the first place team. T-shirts will be awarded to wrestlers who post a 5-0 tournament record. More information can be found by visiting http://www.nickelcityduals.com/ .