The first major weekend in high school wrestling is always extremely critical especially now that postseason seeding criteria for both individual and dual events have completely changed how teams manage their schedules over the last few years.
Competitive dual meet tournaments offer the best possible snapshot of what teams are really made of, as a team could wrestle as many as five duals in a day or ten over the course of two days. While other sports have fun with season opening friendly tournaments on the hardwood and ice, every single match this weekend will be of significance for the squads that are hopeful to earn invitations to their respective dual meet championships.
Area wrestling results from Friday, 12/6 – Saturday, 12/7
21st Annual Tonawanda Team Duals @ Tonawanda HS
The strong teams and high-level individuals wrestling in this tournament make the Tonawanda Duals an annual must see, and this year’s event didn’t disappoint. #4 small school Newfane stole the show going a perfect 7-0 over the two-day event, surprising #3 big school Clarence 52-30 in what proved to be the “championship” match as the Red Devils finished 6-1 in the event. The young Williamsville North Spartans made their presence known with a 5-2 record and 3rd place team finish at Tonawanda, earning wins over quality Amherst, Starpoint, and Niagara Falls squads along the way. The defending champion Wolverines finished 4-3 overall with a very young but scrappy lineup. The event was also highlighted by a handful of big individual matchups, like NYS champion Willie McDougald’s down to the wire 3-1 win over Clarence’s three-time NYS tournament representative Aiden Rabideau at 145-pounds. Newfane’s Jaden Heers also picked up a nice 3-0 win over Amherst’s Ryan Bitka at 285-pounds in a battle of big gridiron stars. The tournament also gave a preview of duals between league teams that will face off again this season, like Starpoint vs. Amherst (ECIC II), and Clarence, West Seneca, and Williamsville (ECIC I) all going head to head.
The final team standings were: 1. Newfane (7-0) 2. Clarence (6-1) 3. Williamsville North (5-2) 4. Niagara Falls (4-3) 5. Starpoint (3-4) 6. Amherst (2-5) 7. West Seneca (1-6) 8. Tonawanda (0-7)
48th Annual Joe Shifflet Sweet Home Wrestling Invitational @ Sweet Home HS
After switching from a traditional individually bracketed tournament a few years ago, the “Sweet Home Duals” have become another can’t miss event. As usual, this year’s tournament pitted local top ranked large and small school teams against one another in exciting yet highly consequential inter-divisional crossovers. #2 large school Lancaster won the event in their first year back to the tournament with an 8-0 dual meet record. Lancaster met #2 small school Iroquois in the critical match of the weekend and came out 38-32 winners over another strong Chiefs team. With a few forfeits and a double forfeit sprinkled in, the Legends captured wins from 170 to 106-pounds, sealing the victory with four bouts still remaining in the contest. As could be expected, the Legends upper weights and the Chiefs lower weights controlled the scoring for each team. The Chiefs ended up with second place overall with a 7-1 record holding off a strong Frontier team in the final bout of the weekend and added quality wins over Churchville-Chili (V) and Grand Island squads. Individual bouts specifically in the 160 to 182-pound weight classes across the board provided the highlight material for showcasing some of the area’s best wrestlers as some extremely competitive matches took place.
The final team standings were: 1. Lancaster (8-0) 2. Iroquois (7-1) 3. Frontier (7-1) 4. Churchville-Chili (6-2) 5. Grand Island (4-4) 5. Kenmore (4-4) 5. North Tonawanda (4-4) 8. Barker/Royalton-Hartland (3-5) 9. Southwestern (2-6) 10. Sweet Home (2-6) 11. Eden (1-7) 12. Akron (0-8)
14th Annual Queen City Foods Southtowns Duals @ St. Francis HS
#5 Hamburg and #10 Orchard Park essentially handled the field at St. Francis on Saturday, both ending 8-0 but not meeting head to head since the squads will do so on Wednesday, 12/11. Orchard Park was declared the tournament champion team on tie breaking criteria.
The Bulldogs and Quakers posted nearly identical scores over their competition which consisted of mostly all smaller programs. East Aurora had a strong showing as well earning quality wins over an upstart Lackawanna team and St. Francis. The Steelers finished right behind with a 5-3 dual record. Hamburg’s Tim Cordwell may have personally wrestled the best individual slate of anyone so far in just one week of competition. On Wednesday he took on Williamsville North’s Cam Catrabone, and at St. Francis he saw Lackawanna’s Mohamed Alshawi, Alden-Depew’s Carson Alberti, and East Aurora’s Alex Skowronski. He’s held all four sectional champions to decisions. The Bulldogs were also without John Haberman in the lineup.
The final team standings were: 1. Orchard Park (8-0) 2. Hamburg (8-0) 3. East Aurora (6-2) 4. Lackawanna (5-3) 5. St. Francis (4-4) 6. Springville (3-5) 7. Alden-Depew (3-5) 8. Gowanda (1-7) 8. Salamanca (1-7) 8. St. Mary’s (1-7)
24th Annual Triple-O Mechanical/Byron-Bergen Invitational @ Byron-Bergen HS (V)
A handful of WNY teams competed in this individually bracketed event. Pioneer finished in second place with 140 team points behind Section V’s Wayne with 154.5. The Panthers took only ten wrestlers, eight of whom placed led by individual champions Daniel Kirsch (120) and Kam Riordan (152). Three more Pioneer wrestlers placed 3rd and three more were 4th. Pioneer will host their dual meet tournament next weekend which is guaranteed to have results that will be monumental on the rest of the season. Chautauqua Lake was 4th in team scoring, only 2.5 points behind Section V’s Irondequoit. Jordyn Joslyn was the only individual champion at 99-pounds for the Thunderbirds. Trent Burchanowksi, Hunter Harris, and Brendon Ramsey were runners-up. Harris met one of the top wrestlers in NYS in Honoeye Fallls-Lima’s (V) three-time state champion Anthony Noto in the final. Medina and Albion also attended the event. Medina’s Rashawn Bloom and Davon Shine both earned runner-up finishes. Yeshua Robles-Nunez and Dayne Aina were runners-up for the Purple Eagles.
Matthew Marino Duals @ Webster-Schroeder HS (V)
One of the Rochester area’s longest running and most respected individual events made the switch to a team duals format and produced one of the most consequential results of the weekend. #3 small school Fredonia took down #1 big Niagara Wheatfield 39-33 in a match that will certainly cause a ripple effect in the coming weeks. The Hillbillies won eight matches to Wheatfield’s seven without Jake Skinner in the lineup. Wheatfield was without sectional champion Colin Coughenour and young star Te’Shaun Mathews in the forfeit-less contest. Justin McDougald edged Dalton Gardner in a close 4-3 victory scoring two takedowns in the bout between two individual state title contenders. Dave Ball also had a great day for Fredonia going undefeated with decision wins over Schroeder’s Anthony Surace and Brockport’s Tyler Daly. Surace and Daly were 3rd and 4th, respectively, at 113-pounds in Section V Division I last season. Fredonia went 5-0 to win the event while Wheatfield placed 3rd with a 3-2 dual record after falling to Brockport 45-31. Section IV powerhouse Tioga was originally scheduled to go to Webster, so a Tioga/Fredonia dual could possibly have been a preview for a rematch at the state dual meet tournament.
Holley Team Tournament @ Holley HS (V)
After winning the event last year, the Canisius Crusaders went 2-2 with wins over Section V squads North Rose-Wolcott and Eastridge-East Irondequoit. Brayden Vandenberg, Joe Dixon, and Cody Franklin led the Crusaders as each went 4-0 and were named to the All-Tournament team.
Avoca Duals @ Avoca HS (V)
Portville continued their undefeated start winning this year’s Avoca Duals with a 5-0 team record. The Mascho-Lassiter-Thompson trio was perfect back-to-back-to-back in all but one dual as Mascho fell by a tight score of 4-2 to state tournament qualifier Justin Smith from Marcus Whitman-Penn Yan HS. The Panthers are 7-0 and host the annual Portville Invitational next weekend.
Jarvis Memorial Tournament @ Athens, PA
Falconer placed 3rd in the team scoring only four points behind Wilson, PA without four regular starters in the lineup at the strong Jarivs Tournament. Bryce Baglia and Hudson Johnson each captured tournament titles for the #1 Golden Falcons. Collin Mower and Collin Beichner were runners-up and and Joey Pillittieri was 3rd. The Golden Falcons will be making an appearance at Pioneer next weekend.
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