Psst, can you keep a secret?
There is a wealth of wrestling talent scattered throughout schools in the B, C and D classifications. Just look at the Wrestling Review of Western New York rankings.
In 10 of the 15 weight classes, there are at least three wrestlers from Classes B, C and/or D schools ranked among the top 6 in each weight class. Three of those weight divisions (113, 152 and 160) feature at least four wrestlers ranked among the top six with the 160-pound class boasting an astounding total of five .
It should make for an interesting Section VI Division II State Qualifying meet on Feb. 15 at Niagara County Community College. But before the best of the best battle for the right to pursue state championships Feb. 28-March 1 at Albany Times-Union Center, they first must survive their respective Section VI Class Tournaments, which will be held Saturday at various schools.
The top four place finishers in each weight class per class advance to the state qualifier.
Out of the 23 wrestlers who represented Section VI in the Division II state tournament last year, 12 came from Class C-sized schools.
Class C got a little deeper this year with Falconer, last year’s Class D team champion, moving up a class. Who are the contenders? A sampling can be found later in this story.
In addition to the class tournaments involving Section VI’s large and small schools (see Large Schools story on Page B1), the All-Catholic Championships take place Sunday at St. Francis.
Early All-Catholic set
St. Francis stars to watch on Sunday include Jake Braunscheidel, who’s ranked third in Western New York at 182 pounds and is the defending All-Catholic champion. At 132, Mike Miller, honorable mention, is a two-time All-Catholic. Matt Muffoletto won at 120 last year and will challenge at 138. Travis Bittner will be at 120 after winning the 113 title last year.
Before Sunday, though, St. Francis and St. Joe’s meet at St. Francis at 6 p.m. Wednesday in a dual that will decide the Monsignor Martin Association regular-season title.
St. Joe’s returns two All-Catholic champions in Derek Penman and Richie Jones. Penman wrestles at 145, while Jones was Catholic state runner-up last year at 152.
• Alex Smythe is ranked first at 160 and with each triumph he continues to increase his Eden school record for career wins. The tally is now up to 219 – 17 more than current American University wrestler Tom Page’s mark.
“There’s only a dozen or so kids in Section VI who have gone over 200 wins,” said Eden coach Tom Page, the father of the younger Page. “It’s a great accomplishment.”
Smythe, who has committed to UB, has made it to states twice in his previous five seasons, taking third at 152 last year after going into the event as the Section VI champion.
• Iowa State-bound Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer of Cheektowaga has been invited to participate in the prestigious Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic March 16 at the University of Pittsburgh. Rodriguez-Spencer, last year’s state champion at 132 pounds and a national champion at 138 pounds, will face a state champion from Pennsylvania. Only the top wrestlers in the country participate in the event dubbed the Rose Bowl of Wrestling.
Here are the contenders for team titles in the small classes.
Class B: Lew-Port, Pioneer, Olean/Allegany-Limestone.Class C: Falconer, Newfane, Eden. Class D: Randolph, Pine Valley/Catt. Little Valley and Panama/Westfield/Ripley/Chautauqua Lake (WRCL).
Here are potential favorites heading into the Class B, C and D tournaments. Lineups have yet to be finalized.
• 99: Icar Simon of Olean and Alden’s Owen Kissel.
• 106: Dunkirk’s Hector Colom is ranked first in WNY. Alden’s Mike Munn is coming off a win at the Ken-Ton.
•113: Tito Colom, Hector’s older brother, is ranked third.
•120: Olean’s Drew Marra and Pioneer’s Jared Price are ranked second and third.
• 126: Amherst’s Kellen Devlin moves up from 120, where he took third at states.
•132: Pioneer’s Austin Aquard, the current No. 1.
•138: Lew-Port’s Andrew Shomers.
•145: Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer of Cheektowaga is the heavy favorite. Steve Qian of Amherst could challenge.
• 152: Lew-Port’s Ryan Kromer is No. 1, while Alden’s Eddie Hutschenreuter is No. 2.
•160: Nick Scheer of East Aurora.
• 170: Lew-Port’s Eric Cerminara and Mitchell Collingridge of Pioneer are favored.
•182: Cheektowaga’s Matt Bartnik, ranked third at 170, is moving up.
• 195: Alex Switzer (Alden).
• 220: Tyler Hall of East Aurora is ranked third.
• 285: Deep field. No. 1 Eric Feitshans of Alden is 33-1.
• 99: Shane Hetrick of Southwestern and Akron’s John Fiebelkorn.
• 106: Medina’s Brandon Collera and Eden’s Jacob Page are among the contenders.
•113: Southwestern’s Ryan Hetrick is ranked second.
•120: Abdul Alshawai of Lackawanna and Sawyer Overhoff of Eden are just a couple from a loaded bracket.
• 126: Jacob Peru of Falconer is the favorite.
• 132: Cody McGregor of Tonawanda is ranked second.
• 138: Fredonia’s top-ranked Dakota Gardner was state runner-up at 126 last year.
• 145: Newfane’s Nate Martin earned MOW at Niagara-Orleans meet.
• 152: Wilson’s Chase Wheeler is ranked third, but there could be some 138s or 145s moving into the bracket.
• 160: Smythe of Eden. Falconer’s Kyle Ross could provide a test unless he moves up to 170 or 182.
• 170: Mason Hoose of Southwestern and Falconer’s Jim Schwab are solid.
• 182: Tanner Hoose of Southwestern.
• 195: Falconer’s Jake Penhollow has a great chance.
• 220: Newfane’s Jake Warner comes in fresh off winning the N-O title.
• 285: Akron’s Dave Case.
• 99: Toss-up.
• 106: Maple Grove’s AJ Putt and WRCL’s Bryce Rowe could bump into each other.
• 113: Ryan Thierman of Portville is tough kid.
• 120: Top-ranked Brad Bihler of Maple Grove gave up three points at states last year en route to a third-place finish. Gowada’s Jon Flynn is 33-8
• 126: Toss-up.
• 132: Toss-up.
• 138: MG’s Trevor Micek has 24-8 mark as a rookie.
• 145: Gowanda’s Lucas McKeever is ranked third.
• 152: Take Gowanda’s Cody Richter or ’13 state-alternate Brian Westerdahl of MG.
• 160: Chris Doubek of Randolph.
• 170: The favorite: Alex Kelly of Pine Valley/CV.
• 182: Pine Valley/CV’s Eben Torres has just two losses.
• 195: Frewsburg’s Trevor Spicer is 32-0 and all of his losses last year came to those who placed at states.
• 220: Brad Cunningham of Salamanca is ranked second in WNY.
• 285: Pine Valley/CV’s Tyson Gugino has five losses, but to the same three foes.