Wrestling's postseason is here. The top five finishers in Classes AA and A (large schools) and the top four in Classes B, C and D (small schools) in the Class tournaments will earn berths to the Section VI championships Feb. 12 at Lake Shore (Division I) and East Aurora (Division II). Pioneer, Albion and Cheektowaga are now small schools.
Wrestling in the Class Tournaments will start Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. Admission is $5 per session. Here's a look at some of the favorites by class:
CLASS AA at Lockport
The competition for the team title will be fierce in this 12-team class with defending champion Clarence, Niagara-Wheatfield, Kenmore West, Lockport, Lancaster and Niagara Falls expecting to have multiple finalists.
Lancaster has been strong in the lightweights, led all year by four-time ECIC champion sophomore Tim Schaefer (130), Steve Michel (112) and Eric Lewandowski (119). Lewandowski is confident at 119 after a recent 7-1 win over Collin Gleason of Frontier. Schaefer and Joe Malvestuto of Niagara-Wheatfield, both multiple Section VI champions, should put on a show in the 130 final. The Falcons look to own the heavyweights with Jake Kelly (189), Adam Donner (215) and Max Antone (285).
Returning Section VI champion Dylan Carauana of Kenmore West looks to win at 125 while teammate Joe Amoia likes his chances at 171. Brandon Lathrop will contend for the title at 285. Tyler Bruce (160) looks to represent North Tonawanda at sectionals.
Lockport's got a solid 96-pounder in Anthony Orefice. After missing the ECICs because his school was closed, Rocco Russo of Frontier (103) will be primed to win a big tournament. Ryan Burns of Clarence has other ideas at 103. Myquan Pringle (140), Joe DeFranceso (145) and Irvin Buck (152), all of Niagara Falls, are among the favorites. Buck was MOW of the Pete Rao Invitational.
CLASS A at Starpoint
Iroquois is the favorite to repeat as champion in this 11-team class. "The A's don't have a ton of depth, but we do have a lot of top kids," said Iroquois coach Keith Maute. Each team is allowed to bring 15 wrestlers and the Chiefs have a realistic shot to qualify all 15 for sectionals.
The Chiefs are the defending champions. They are ranked No. 1 in WNY among large schools and won the ECIC Championship.
Look for junior Jim Kloc (145), eighth-grader Matt Kloc (112), freshman Austin Acquard (96), senior Rodney Offhaus (189, junior Brandon Vernon (215) and Ken Fierle (285) to advance. Acquard's toughest challenge could come from Danny Graham of West Seneca East.
Kellen Devlin of Amherst will be tough to beat at 103. Look for Luke Happ (Hamburg) and John Inglut (Lake Shore) to battle it out at 119. Lake Shore has other potential winners with Pat Mix at 135 and Joe Catalano at 160. Dylan Cohen (125) and Sam Beichner (130) of Williamsville East are expected to be the top seeds. Beichner's father is the wrestling coach at the University at Buffalo. Luke Falzone (Williamsville South) and Dale Wasielewski (West Seneca East) should be the 1-2 seeds at 140.
CLASS B at Albion
Among the favorites of the 13-team class are: Lew-Port, Newfane, Olean, Cheektowaga, Pioneer and Lackawanna. The Steelers should have a great showing with Majed Mohamed (103), Abdulqawi Mohamed (112), Ameen Harhara (152) and Brett Dechent (160).
Lew-Port (19-3 this season) will score points with its depth and some wrestlers who should be champions: Ryan Kromer (96), Dan Reagan (130), Joe Hill (189), Bashar Srouji (215). Seventh-grader Brandon Dallavia (112) has a bright future.
Junior Tony Lock (Pioneer) finished second at the Eastern States this year, and is the top pick at 171. Lock's only loss is to returning state champion Craig Scott of Palmyra-Macedon of Section V.
Freshman Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowaga), named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the ECIC meet, looks to win the tough 119-pound weight class. He's ranked No. 4 in the state. Keep an eye on Edwin Le at 103.
Among's Newfane top talents are Niagara-Orleans League MVP David Ciarmella (125) Jake Summers (285), and Steve Lakes (152).
Olean's Andrew Marra, back from having his appendix out, is someone to watch at 96. It appears Jake Baer is moving up to 130 and Zack Marra is moving up to 135. Marcus Dwaileebe looks to win the title at 171.
Albion's best shot at at title might be with Azael Tapia (145).
Ryan Baer of Depew will try to bring the title home at 152. The Wildcats' Mike Kasprzak and Summers (Newfane) would make an exciting final at 285.
CLASS C at Falconer
Defending champion Fredonia, Roy-Hart and Alden will compete for the title among 13 teams.
Fredonia may place as many as 12 wrestlers. The Hillbillies are ranked No. 1 in the state, No. 1 among Western New York small schools and are 23-0. They won the Lockport Tournament, the Cattaraugus/Little Valley Tournament by 90 points, the Dunkirk Duals (beating Clarence, Lew-Port and V-Penfield along the way) and the Southern Tier Duals. They beat seven of the nine ranked small schools in Western New York.
Roy-Hart's got a real shot at four titles with Greg Johnston (125), Matt McCauley (130), Drew Hall (135) and Drew Albecht (285). The Rams won the Niagara-Orleans League with a 6-0 record.
Zach Bickle of Roy-Hart, who went to states last year, will contend at 103.
Alden has some quality wrestlers in Eddie Hassenbohler (112), Jeff Lake (160) and Jake Wojtusiak (189).
Medina's best chances may be with Dylan Duncanson (140) and Tristan Hamner (152), who went to states last year.
Eden returns two wrestlers with state tournament experience in Alex Smythe (125) and Tom Page (119). They also boast Jeremy Lilga (140) and Zack Wisniewski (152), who is coming off a broken hand.
Southwestern's Pat Langworthy (215) has the tools to not only win the Class tournament, but go deep into the state tournament. Another talent for the Trojans is John Mistretta (171).
CLASS D at Chautauqua Lake
This 14-team Class is too close to call with Randolph, Ripley, Maple Grove and Pine Valley in the mix. It's likely to come down to depth and who can get the most thirds, fourths and fifths.
Randolph's Jerrold Roosa and Frewsburg's Nick Mitchell could meet in the 160 final. The last time they met, Roosa won 2-1. Ben Fluent is a tough out at 285 and Thomas Cornell poses problems for challengers at 189.
Ripley's individual strengths are with Emory Rowe (125) and Justin Hunt (135).
Cattaraugus/Little Valley has the Gray brothers: Ryan (145) and Randy (96). Other title contenders are senior Kris Schimek (Pine Valley) at 171 and senior Frank Sterlace (Silver Creek) at 152. Frewsburg could have three champs: Mitchell (160), Kevin Strong (125) and Austin Lynn (171).
Barker junior Derek Fuerch recorded a pin on Monday night to reach 100 career victories.