The third edition of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Dual Meet Championships kicks off on Saturday, February 1st inside SRC Arena at Onondaga County Community College in Syracuse. Section VI will be represented by four teams for the second straight year as sectional champion Niagara Wheatfield and wildcard entry Lancaster will compete in the large school tournament while Section VI Division II champion Falconer and runner-up Iroquois will compete in the small school division. Wheatfield and Lancaster will both make their second program appearances while the Golden Falcons are competing in the event for the third straight season. The Chiefs will make the program’s first appearance at the Duals after Section VII’s Saranac backed out of it officially on Thursday night.
The tournament consists of twelve teams in both divisions I and II and the top eight teams in each are seeded. The first round is conducted by pool wrestling where three teams compete against one another in four different pools. The four 2-0 teams in both divisions advance to the semifinals while the others are eliminated.
In the two year history of the tournament, Long Island has claimed all four state titles as Section VIII has had a pair of large school champions in Wantagh (2018) and Massapequa (2019) while Section XI’s Mt. Sinai has captured both small school titles thus far.
The 2018-2019 Niagara Wheatfied Falcons made the program’s first appearance at the Duals as a wildcard entry into the event. With a roster that featured five sectional champions, Wheatfield cruised past Section I champion Fox Lane, 50-30, and Section IV wildcard Chenango Forks in the pool match round to advance to the state semifinals. However, Section V champion and eventual state runner-up Hilton ended the weekend for the Falcons in the semi.
Wheatfield has earned the 7-seed going into this weekend’s event and officially drew now three-time defending Section I champion Fox Lane again as well as Section VIII champion MacArthur HS, who cruised past the defending state champion Massapequa Chiefs 46-24 in the Nassau County final last weekend. The Chiefs defeated the first NYSPHSAA Duals champion Wantagh 40-34 in the Section VIII Duals semifinal before falling to MacArthur. Fox Lane enters the tournament as the 2-seed while MacArthur is unseeded and making their first Duals appearance. The Generals are currently the #3 ranked big school team in NYS (according to New York Wrestling News) while the Foxes are this week’s 6th ranked large school. Wheatfield is an Honorable Mention in the latest ranking.
The Falcons will certainly be up against some talented teams on Saturday as Fox Lane will be looking for revenge on NW while the Generals will be looking to make sure NYS knows that they belong in the championships conversation with their Section VIII rivals. However, as history has shown, don’t take Niagara Wheatfield for granted…
Pool team info:
Niagara Wheatfield Falcons
Head coach: Rick Sweney
Location: Sanborn, NY
Record: 5-2 league, 15-5 overall
Notable returners: Collin Coughenour (2x Section VI champion), Justin McDougald (4x Section VI champion, 2x NYS finalist, Eastern States champion, NW all-time program wins leader)
Location: Levittown, NY
Dual record: 22-0
Returners: Killian Foy (Section VIII finalist, Division I 99-pound NYS finalist, Eastern States placer), Jake Schneider (Section champion, Eastern States placer)
Fox Lane Foxes
Head coach: Anthony Rodrigues
Location: Bedford, NY
Dual record: 24-1
Returners: Jake Hoffman (Section I champion), Quincy Downes (Sectional champion)
Lancaster returns to Syracuse after having competed in the first state duals in the 2017-2018 season. After winning the ECIC I title on Wednesday, the Legends improved to 18-1 overall this season and earned the 8-seed for this weekend’s state tournament.
The Legends will see top seeded Section IX champion Minisink Valley and Section XI wildcard team Commack in their pool duals. Minisink is currently the top ranked team in NYS large schools and the three-time defending Section IX champion. Legendary head coach Kevin Gallagher just recently achieved his 5ooth career win as head coach of the Warriors. The Legends met Minisink in the 2018 state duals before the Warriors went on to a runner-up finish in the final. Commack earned a wildcard into the event after a runner-up finish in the Section XI Duals, falling to Patchogue-Medford 42-35 in the final. Commack defeated another NYS Division I heavyweight in Hauppauge HS 33-32 in the Section XI dual meet semifinal. The Cougars are currently ranked 8th in NYS large schools while the Legends are an Honorable Mention in this week’s ranking.
Lancaster may have drawn two of the toughest teams in the state in their pool duals this weekend. Minisink Valley is looking for its first title after falling in the championship match two years ago while Commack has turned up the heat over the course of the last month of their schedule. If there has ever been a program that refuses to bow to anyone though, it has to be Lancaster. Expect the Legends to challenge their heavyweight opponents and throw the odds out the window.
Pool team info:
Head coach: Ron Lorenz
Location: Lancaster, NY
Dual record: 7-0 ECIC I, 18-1 overall
Returners: Ryan Stencel (2x Section VI champion, 3x NYS tournament participant, 5th place NYS 2019, 3rd place Eastern States)
Minisink Valley Warriors
Head coach: Kevin Gallagher
Location: Middletown, NY
Dual record: 21-3
Returners: Zack Ryder (Section IX champion, NYS 106-pound finalist, Eastern States placer), Nick Picariello (state tournament qualifier), Jordan Suarez (Sectional champion), Sean Savacool (Sectional champion), Adam Fenner (Sectional champion, NYS 5th place finisher, 3rd at Eastern States), Mia Macaluso (Cadet Freestyle national champion), Ethan Gallo (Eastern States placer)
Location: Commack, NY
Dual record: 17-4
Returners: Jack Eckerle (state tournament qualifier, Eastern States placer), Gavin Domasco (Eastern States placer)
The NYWN state ranked #1 Falconer Golden Falcons will make their third straight appearance at the state dual meet tournament and have improved one round in each of the last two events. After winning their pool round in 2018-2019, Falconer fell to eventual NYS small school runner-up team Central Valley Academy out of Section III in the semifinals.
Falconer enters this weekend’s tournament with a 27-1 record and have earned the 6-seed in Division II following the redraw after Saranac backed out allowing Iroquois into the tournament. The Golden Falcons will face off with 3-seed and now three time Section III champion Central Valley Academy in a rematch of last year’s semifinal in what should be one of the best duals of the weekend. Either way, a team that deserves to be in the semifinals won’t be after this match. The Thunder were 48-24 winners over Falconer in 2018-2019 and feature an explosive unit of lower to middle weights, including four wrestlers with state tournament experience and a NYS champion in Marek Bush. NYWN has CVA currently ranked #9 among small schools in the state.
Falconer will also meet a familiar foe in Section V champion Palmyra-Macedon in the pool round. The Golden Falcons have already beaten the Red Raiders twice this season by scores of 53-24 and 53-30. However, Pal-Mac returns some high quality individuals including 2019 NYS champion Jace Schafer in the lower weights. NYWN has Palmyra currently ranked #18 in small schools in the state.
With all due respect to their past and future opponents, the Golden Falcons have a serious task in front of them with CVA. A win over the Thunder would be an excellent achievement for head coach Drew Wilcox’s squad that doesn’t return any wrestlers with state tournament experience. With two wins by nearly identical scores over the Red Raiders this season, Falconer should be favored in another head to head over Palmyra, however, at the state duals, one cannot take any team lightly.
Pool team info:
Falconer Golden Falcons
Head coach: Drew Wilcox
Location: Falconer, NY
Dual record: 6-0 CCAA I, 27-1 overall
Returners: no returning NYS tournament representatives
Central Valley Academy Thunder
Head coach: Bob Bush
Location: Ilion, NY
Dual record: 29-2
Returners: Mason Bush (2x Section III champion, 3x NYS place winner, Eastern States placer, 230+ wins), Marek Bush (2x sectional champion, 3x state placer, 2018 NYS champion, Eastern States placer, 200+ wins), Sixx Cook (Section III champion, NYS 6th place finisher), Dawson Mower (state tournament qualifier), Keagan Case (Eastern States place winner)
Palmyra-Macedon Red Raiders
Head coach: John Burgess
Location: Palmyra, NY
Dual record: 21-11
Returners: Jace Schafer (Section V champion, 2019 NYS champion, Eastern states placer), Ethan Ferro (sectional champion), Kaleb Burgess (state tournament qualifier, Eastern States placer)
Section VI runner-up team Iroquois found out late Thursday evening that Section VII’s Saranac High School was going to back out of Saturday’s state tournament and that, due to some other team’s unavailability to attend, Iroquois would be next in line to qualify for an invitation. As it turns out, the Chiefs are in for the program’s first appearance at the state duals on Saturday. Because Saranac was the 5-seed, the tournament seeds had to be re-examined between Thursday night and Friday morning which did cause some shuffling of the existing matchups, as is the case with Falconer.
Iroquois has been drawn into a pool with top seeded Cold Spring Harbor (VIII) and Section X qualifier Gouverneur. The state ranked #12 Chiefs will have their hands full with the #11 Cold Spring team that was expected to capture the Section VIII title, but fell to Clarke HS in their sectional final. Cold Spring has a handful of impressive wins on their resume including victories over Commack, Rocky Point, Seaford, and Clarke, to name a few. The Seahawks are led by a trio of returning state tournament representatives. The Iroquois/Gouverneur dual will be an interesting matchup, as it will pit two upstate NY blue blood traditions against one another. The Wildcats are currently ranked #2 in the latest NYWN poll and return a handful of state tournament qualifiers but no place winners.
The Chiefs will have their shot at the Seahawks while the Gouverneur dual might be the more winnable match of the two. Either way, head coach Jim Kloc’s squad will be excited to compete and have a chance to knock off some talented teams with the full support of its strong alumni base.
Pool team info:
Head coach: Jim Kloc
Location: Elma, NY
Dual record: 6-0 ECIC I, 25-3 overall
Returners: Donovan Bukaczeski (sectional finalist, NYS tournament qualifier)
Cold Spring Harbor Seahawks
Location: Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Dual record: 14-5
Returners: Jackson Polo (Section VIII champion, 5th place NYS finisher, Eastern States placer), Gaven Bell (sectional champion, 4th place NYS,3rd place Eastern States), Kolton Gagnon (sectional champion, 5th place NYS), Christian Hansen (3rd place Eastern States)
Head coach: Joel Baer
Location: Gouverneur, NY
Dual record: 7-1
Returners: Carter Baer (5th place NYS 2018)
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