WNY #2 large school Lancaster had five finalists, two champions, and seven more place winners to earn 246.5 team points, outpacing second place Iroquois’s 185 for the team title. The Chiefs also had five finalists but crowned three individual champions. Frontier and Clarence finished third and fourth, respectively, each crowning one individual champion. Hamburg rounded out the top five teams led by two champions and two runners-up.
Ryan Stencel and Codie Scotland captured individual titles for the Legends. Stencel, a returning 5th place finisher in NYS last season, claimed his second career ECIC title with a dominating performance in the 182-pound final, pinning another returning state tournament representative. Codie Scotland captured his first league title at the following weight class with an 8-6 decision win over teammate Dan Empfield in the 195-pound final. It was the second time this season Scotland and Empfield have met in a tournament final.
“We’re starting to hit our stride as a team now,” said Lancaster head coach Ron Lorenz after the tournament championship. “Our guys are wrestling considerably better. We did a great job with some guys being super resilient in the wrestlebacks. We’re starting to put things together and understand how to finish matches. Stencel is looking better and better and we’re still focused on a state title. Gronowski and Schaefer are wrestling at a state level too. Scotland is on pace to win his first sectional title and could be a sleeper to watch at states with Empfield a half step behind him. The plan is working in Lancaster…we just need to stay the course.”
Clarence senior Aiden Rabideau captured his fourth ECIC tournament title with a 6-1 finals decision over Hamburg’s young star Devin Collins in the 145-pound title match. In doing so, Rabideau secured his 200th career victory joining only Nate Schwab (204 wins) in the Red Devils program 200-wins club.
99: One of the tournament’s deepest weight classes saw twelve seed-able wrestlers which guaranteed exciting quarterfinals and good wrestlers not making it to a placement match. Frontier sophomore Travis Browning captured his first ECIC title with a 6-4 finals victory over Starpoint’s Gage LaPlante in what may have been a Division I state qualifier tournament finals preview. Browning dominated the field going into the final as he earned two technical falls, a pin, and a major decision before the finale. Eden’s Johnny Vicario captured 3rd, Lackawanna’s Mohamed Fadel 4th, and Pioneer’s Xander Kirsch 5th, all of whom might be considered contenders in the wide open Division II 99-pound race this coming postseason.
106: Iroquois’s Peter Gaglio claimed his first ECIC title with an 8-4 victory over neighboring East Aurora’s Nolan Skowronski in the final. Gaglio was the first of five Chiefs finalist as well as their first champion of the night. As the 2-seed in the weight class, Gaglio pinned his first two opponents then cruised to an 18-3 tech fall in the semi. In the top side of the bracket, Skowronski defeated the 4-seed and 1-seed in the semifinal to earn a spot back in the league title match. Lancaster ninth grader Carter Tadusz has been wrestling well this season and claimed 3rd in the bracket.
113: Top seeded Pioneer sophomore Dan Kirsch dominated the field on the way to his second straight ECIC title, defeating Lancaster’s Myles Gronowski by major decision 8-0 in the final in a bout between two returning sectional finalists. Kirsch (30-0) collected two pins and a forfeit on the way to the title match. Gronowski earned a pin and tech fall before defeating Iroquois star Michael Schiffhauer in overtime in the semifinal. Lancaster’s Michael Schaefer claimed 3rd place in the weight class.
120: This weight was another filled with quality athletes, led by the top three seeds who are all returning state tournament representatives. Alden/Depew’s top seeded and defending Section VI champion Carson Alberti claimed his third ECIC title cruising past his first three opponents. Iroquois’s 3-seed Don Bukaczeski was impressive in a 9-3 semifinal victory over the 2-seed and returning Section VI champion Cam Catrabone from Williamsville North. Bukaczeski, a returning sectional finalist and state tournament wildcard, used a reversal to near fall points to create a big point differential in the second period of the match in which Catrabone was unable to overcome. Catrabone, an 8th grader, suffered only his second varsity loss to a fellow WNY athlete. In the final, Alberti was a 6-1 winner over the Iroquois junior improving his record to 34-1 this season. Catrabone claimed 3rd in the bracket.
126: Top seeded Williamsville North junior Mike Catanzaro captured his second consecutive league title wining arguably the tournament’s deepest overall weight class which featured fourteen seeded wrestlers. Catanzaro, a returning Section VI champion, defeated the 8-seed and pinned the 4-seed on the way to the finals where he was a 7-4 winner over the 2-seed in Iroquois’s Jake Jozwiak. Jozwiak earned a narrow 1-0 victory over East Aurora’s returning sectional champion Alex Skowronski in the semifinal. Two wrestlers that Catanzaro defeated squared off for third place as Alden/Depew’s Mike Alberti was a 4-2 winner over Eden’s Blake Colantino. 2017-2018 Section VI champion Mohamed Alshawi claimed 5th in the bracket. Places 2-6 win this weight class all represent small schools, suggesting that 126 in the postseason will once again be one weight in particular to keep an eye on.
132: Iroquois sophomore Ryan Sweeney had another outstanding day and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler on his way to capturing his first ECIC tournament title. Sweeney (31-3) is a returning sectional finalist and defeated two returning state tournament representatives on the day. Sweeney earned two pins and a major decision before defeating Lake Shore’s Section VI champion Julian Martin 9-4 in the semis. In the final, Sweeney was a 13-11 winner in a highly entertaining bout over Hamburg’s Ryan Forrest (31-1), handing the Bulldog senior his only loss of the season thus far. Martin wrestled back to a 3rd place finish.
138: Amherst senior Hasan Dobbins had a big time bounce back week after a disappointing 6th place finish at Lockport on January 11th as he claimed his first ECIC tournament title as the 3-seed in the weight class. Dobbins defeated the 2-seed in the semifinals and was an impressive 17-2 winner by tech fall in the final over top seeded Trevor Sheehan from Lancaster. Pioneer’s Alex Miley claimed 3rd in the bracket after winning four straight matches in the wrestlebacks.
145: Clarence senior Aiden Rabideau claimed his fourth ECIC title and became the second member of the Red Devils’ 200 wins club in another outstanding performance. Rabideau pushed his season record to 29-5 with four first period pins and a 6-1 finals decision over Hamburg sophomore star Devin Collins in the final. Rabideau has been one of the stars of the ECIC over the last five seasons, as he is a two time Section VI champion and three time state tournament participant. Collins surpassed the 100 win mark earlier this season as only a sophomore and earned three pins before defeating Pioneer’s previously undefeated 3-seed Kam Riordan, 10-3, in the semifinal. Riordan (30-1) finished 3rd in the weight class with a quality 2-0 win over Lancaster’s Bryce Bolognese.
152: Hamburg sophomore Dylan Collins placed in his fourth straight ECIC tournament, this time winning the league title. Collins dominated the field as the top seed in the weight, pinning his first three opponents as well as a first period pin in the final over 2-seed Axel Andrews from Sweet Home. Andrews gutted out a 10-8 come from behind victory over East Aurora’s 3-seed Joplin Hess in the semifinal. Lake Shore’s Devin Jeffery captured 3rd in the bracket.
160: Iroquois junior Tyler Barry won his first ECIC title cruising past his first four opponents to make it to the Saturday final. Barry (30-4) was a 5-4 winner by decision over Clarence senior Jack Feltz in the final. Lancaster’s Josh Jelonek defeated Frontier’s Owen Weller in the quarterfinals as well as the 3rd place match to capture 160-pound bronze.
170: Eden senior Giovanni Schifano bumped up a weight class and it worked out for him as he claimed his second league title defeating some other local stars. Schifano (27-1) won his first three matches before defeating Tonawanda’s defending sectional champion Jason Frazer in the semifinal for the second time this week. In the final, Schifano was impressive in a 7-0 win over Frontier’s Dylan Wojciechowski, himself a returning ECIC champion and Section VI Div. I 3rd placer. Schifano was a sectional runner-up and state tournament qualifier in 2018-2019 and is hopeful for his first sectional title this season. Frontier’s Andriy Petrov, who fell by a razor thin 1-0 overtime margin to Wojciechowski in the semifinal, was a 5-3 winner over Frazer in the 3rd place match.
182: Lancaster senior star Ryan Stencel captured his second career ECIC title after dominating the field in Eden. Stencel, coming off of a 3rd place finish at Eastern States and a 5th place finish in NYS last winter, improved to 33-1 overall this season as he approaches 200 career victories. Stencel earned three pins and a tech fall, including a finals pin over Orchard Park’s returning sectional champion Mike Pataky. The 2-seed Pataky earned a high quality 6-5 decision win over 3-seed Ryan Current from Iroquois in the semifinal. Amherst’s Jonah Christakis finished 3rd in the bracket avenging a Wednesday night loss in the final match.
195: The Legends earned back to back champions when 1-seed Codie Scotland defeated teammate and 2-seed Dan Empfield by an 8-6 decision in the final, improving to 34-0. Both Legends seniors were overtime semifinal winners as Scotland held off 4-seed Jon Bennett from Hamburg and Empfield defeated Frontier sophomore standout 3-seed Konrad Kryszton to make it to the final. Kryszton edged Bennett 13-10 for 3rd place in the bracket.
220: Top seeded Hamburg senior John Haberman defended his ECIC title with an overtime pin of Orchard Park’s 3-seed Matt Wagner in the final. Haberman is a returning sectional finalist and earned three pins in the tournament and gutted out a 1-0 semifinal victory as well. Wagner upset Clarence’s 2-seed Marquis Carns in the semis. Carns wrestled back to 3rd in the weight class.
285: Amherst heavyweight Ryan Bitka claimed his second ECIC title securing four pins including a finals pin over Orchard Park’s 2-seed Ayden Haley to take 1st in the bracket. Bitka, a returning state tournament qualifier, improved to 23-4 this season. Haley held off Williamsville North’s Ryan Venohr by pin in the semi to advance to the final. Venohr eventually captured 3rd place with a victory over Lancaster’s unseeded 9th grade heavyweight Tom Carlsen, who after losing in the first round, won three straight matches for a spot in the third place match.
The final team standings:
- Lancaster-246.5 points
- Williamsville North/East-131
- Orchard Park-118
- Lake Shore-73
- East Aurora-62
- Williamsville South-53
- Sweet Home-40
- West Seneca-36
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