WNY Athletics

Section VI Division I Wrestling Sectional Championship Roundup

Saturday night’s Section VI Division I finals at Starpoint High School were a mixed bag of dominating favorites and competitive championship bouts between wrestlers looking for their first individual title or trip to the state tournament. Five returning sectional champions defended their titles while nine new individual champions were crowned, led by the host team’s Gage LaPlante, an 8th grader and returning sectional place winner who as the 3-seed wrestled to his first Section VI title, earning Most Outstanding Wrestler honors in doing so.

“He showed a lot of determination,” said Starpoint head coach Steve Hart on LaPlante’s run to the sectional title. “Gage is used to wrestling with the lead and had to come from behind in the semis and the finals. He was on a vision quest that he completed.”

Lancaster and Williamsville North tied with the most champions with three apiece however the Legends placed ten wrestlers in the top six of their weight classes for the most place winners of any team in the field. Niagara Falls was led by nine place winners and Niagara Wheatfield with eight while Clarence, Hamburg, Frontier, Grand Island, and Starpoint followed with seven place winners each.

99: Starpoint 8th grader Gage LaPlante captured his first individual sectional title with a come from behind 9-6 decision win over top seeded Frontier sophomore Travis Browning in the 99-pound final. Browning, a returning sectional finalist, had beaten LaPlante 6-4 in the ECIC finals on January 18th, however Gage used a takedown straight to near fall points in the home gym on Saturday night to take the lead in the second period of the match. LaPlante also took revenge for a prior loss this season to Niagara Falls’ Jaden Crumpler in the semifinal when he earned an overtime takedown right near the out of bounds line to secure a 4-2 win to advance to the championship bout. Crumpler finished 3rd in the bracket followed by WN’s Zach Dellinger (4th), GI’s Nik Massaro (5th), and NW’s Garrett Chase (6th).

106: 3-seeded Williamsville North junior Brendan Dellinger claimed his first sectional title by first defeating Lancaster’s 2-seed Carter Tadusz in the semifinal (who pinned Dellinger on January 18th) by major decision 9-1. In the final, Dellinger avenged a 6-1 loss from only a week ago to top seeded Niagara Falls freshman Amarfio Reynolds, Jr. by way of an exciting 7-4 OT win. Dellinger used an escape in the third overtime period and a takedown to seal the win and his first trip to the NYS tournament in Albany. Falls’s Grady Peterson finished 3rd in the weight class, Tadusz 4th, Starpoint’s Chris Uptegrove, 5th, and Amherst’s Riley Kirst, 6th.

113: An all-Lancaster final saw Legends 8th grader Michael Schaefer defeat his teammate and returning sectional finalist Myles Gronowski, 2-0, for the Section VI 113-pound title. Schaefer, a returning 3rd place finisher in Section VI, fell to Gronowski by a narrow 4-3 margin on January 28th. Schaefer had to gut out his second straight 2-0 win of the day in the final after edging Niagara Wheatfield’s 2-seeded Tremell Mathews by the same score in the semifinal. Starpoint’s Dylan Lyness finished 3rd in the bracket followed by Mathews (4th), Clarence’s Ian Howell (5th), and Falls’ Ja’Shad Bumpers (6th).

120: Defending Section VI champion Cam Catrabone from Williamsville North dominate the field on the way to his second straight sectional title. The Spartans 8th grader pinned his first two opponents before earning a late first period pin over Williamsville South’s Jaden Friel in the final. The strong Billies junior defeated 2-seeded Adam Kowalski from Frontier, 8-5, in the semifinal before meeting one of WNY’s best in Catrabone in the finale. Kowalski finished 3rd in the weight class followed by Starpoint’s Gavin Lyness (4th), Lancaster’s Kaleb Schurkus (5th), and South’s Brad Evelt (6th).

126: The finale of the night’s championship matches saw defending Section VI champion Mike Catanzaro hold off Grand Island senior Jack Randle, 8-7, to retain his sectional title. It was a highly anticipated 1vs.2-seed match since Catanzaro and Randle have not met previously this season. Randle scored the first points of the match, however the Williamsville North junior was able to build a lead enough that by the end of the third period he was able to hold off one last takedown attempt by Randle to seal the win. It was the second straight title for Catanzaro while Randle had to settle for his second sectional runner-up finish, however is likely to be awarded a wildcard to the NYS tournament. Orchard Park’s Brody Banks finished 3rd in the bracket followed by Starpoint’s Christian Lasher (4th), Frontier’s Alex Kowalski (5th), and Starpoint’s Jacob Eckler (6th).

132: Top seeded Hamburg senior Ryan Forrest captured his first sectional title and automatic entry to the state tournament after a runner-up finish and wildcard to Albany in 2018-2019. Forrest cruised past his first two opponents and won a convincing 9-2 decision match in the final over two-time defending Section VI champion Collin Coughenour from Niagara Wheatfield. Coughenour avenged a loss from the Class A tournament to reach the final for the third straight season. Niagara Falls’ Wilfredo Borges lost in the first round to Coughenour but won three straight matches to take 3rd in the weight class. South’s Luqman Ahmad finished 4th followed by Clarence’s Jon Palozzi (5th) and West Seneca’s Marco Fuoco (6th).

138: Justin McDougald captured his fifth and final Section VI title as a Niagara Wheatfield Falcon. Justin, a two-time NYS finalist and three-time place winner, will have one last shot at a state title in two weeks in downtown Albany. McDougald was third period winner by pin over Amherst’s Hasan Dobbins, who held his own in a 5-0 deficit before the fall in 138-pound final. Dobbins capped off an incredible senior season with a sectional runner-up finish after not qualifying for the tournament in 2018-2019. Lancaster’s Trevor Sheehan finished 3rd overall followed by Falls’ Jesiere Carter (4th), NW’s Mark Kuhn (5th), and Clarence’s Dylan Carns (6th).

145: Niagara Falls senior Willie McDougald claimed his fifth consecutive Section VI championship with a 7-3 decision over Clarence star Aiden Rabideau in the final. McDougald is a state champion, a three-time state place winner, and is currently ranked in the top twenty among high schoolers nationally at 145-pounds (according to Intermat.com). Willie should be the top seed in the bracket in Albany as he goes for a second state championship. Rabideau, a four-time state tournament representative, should be a lock for a wildcard to the state tournament as he looks to make the podium for the first time. Hamburg sophomore Devin Collins was a runner-up in 2019 but had to settle for 3rd this weekend. Even with a 3rd place finish, Collins has a shot at a wildcard. Lancaster’s Bryce Bolognese finished in 4th in the weight followed by Orchard Park’s Caleb Potter (5th) and Grand Island’s Jake Miller (6th).

152: Hamburg sophomore Dylan Collins missed out on competing at the sectional championships in 2019 but cruised though the bracket on Saturday to claim his first Section VI title and the Bulldogs’ second of the night. Collins met teammate and 7-seeded Jack Gordon in the final and was a winner by a 9-0 major decision. Gordon started the day with taking down the bracket’s 2-seeded Ali Assaf, 9-8, and 3-seeded Jimmy Dicostanzo, 8-3, to make the final. Gordon was the lowest seeded wrestler in both Section VI divisions I and II to reach the final on Saturday. Wheatfield’s Assaf finished 3rd in the weight class followed by Clarence’s Dicostanzo (4th). Orchard Park’s Dylan Coe defeated Kenmore’s Teddy Hengel for 5th in the bracket.

160: Grand Island sophomore Brian Bielec finished 2nd in Section VI two years ago and 3rd in 2019. However, after moving up a weight class for the 2020 postseason, the move paid off as Bielec claimed his first career Section VI title and automatic entry to the state tournament. The Vikings standout went 3-0 on the day and earned a 14-5 major decision over Clarence’s 2-seed Jack Feltz in the 160-pound final. Lancaster’s 5-seeded Josh Jelonek captured 3rd in the weight class defeating Frontier’s 6-seeded Owen Weller, who defeated the 3-seed in the opening round, in the consolation finale. Wheatfield’s Jake Thibeault finished 5th while Starpoint’s Thomas Browne was 6th at 160.

170: After a chaotic start to the day in which two wrestlers were ruled ineligible to compete, Frontier senior Dylan Wojciechowski eventually captured his first Section VI title and qualifier to states after having taken 3rd in 2019. Wojciechowski was a winner by pin in the second period over WN’s Even Brophy in their second meeting in seven days. Hamburg’s 4-seed Dom Manzella was able to defeat Falls’ Javion Carter twice in one day and did so for 3rd place at 170. GI’s Casey Dummit claimed 5th while South’s Jonathan Clifford finished 6th.

182: Lancaster’s all-time wins leader Ryan Stencel took back the Section VI title after having fallen in the 2019 finale. Stencel, who won Section VI titles in 2017 and 2018, pinned his first two opponents before defeating rising freshman star Kevin Daskavitz from Lockport, 4-0, for the second time in a week. Ryan earned a first period takedown and second period reversal for the only scores of the match as Daskavitz fought hard against the unrelenting pressure from Stencel. Stencel is a returning NYS 5th place finisher and is a state title hopeful for the upcoming federation championships. Frontier’s Andriy Petrov claimed 3rd place defeating Orchard Park’s Mike Pataky 5-3 in the consolation finale. Amherst’s Jonah Christakis finished 5th followed by South’s Ethan Tong at 6th.

195: The Legends doubled up with back to back champions when returning sectional finalist Codie Scotland defeated Frontier’s Konrad Kryszton 5-3 in the 195-pound large school final. Scotland was a 3-2 winner over the Falcons’ sophomore standout on December 21st and ends the season unbeaten against WNY opponents. Lancaster’s Dan Empfield fell to his Frontier rival in the semis but wrestled back to 3rd place defeating North Tonawanda’s Camerin Holmes. NF’s Levi Cox finished 5th in the weight while Hamburg’s Jon Bennett finished 6th.

220: Defending Section VI champion Blake Bielec pinned his way through the field on Saturday night to claim his second straight sectional title. Bielec earned two first period pins and held a 10-6 lead over Orchard Park’s Matt Wagner in the championship bout before a pin at the five-minute mark of the match. Wagner edged Hamburg’s John Haberman 4-1 in the semifinal after having lost in all three previous meetings this season. Haberman wrestled back to 3rd place followed by Clarence’s Marquis Carns (4th), Kenmore’s Noah Michael (5th), and Grand Island’s Gavin Larsen (6th).

285: An all-Amherst final saw Ryan Bitka capture the Section VI title with a 3-1 decision over teammate Tyree Orange. After a scoreless first two periods, Bitka earned three near fall points to take the lead less than thirty seconds into the period. Bitka would hold on to win and guarantee a return trip to Albany after a 3rd place finish in 2019 and wildcard to states. NW 4-seed Andre Clause claimed 3rd in the bracket defeating Lockport’s Stefaan Fearon in the consolation final. Kenmore’s Shain Constantin finished 5th and Williamsville North’s Ryan Venohr 6th.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *