For those who like to watch wrestling, this weekend provided an opportunity to watch the sport on the youth, high school and college levels all in one place – Niagara County Community College (NCCC).
“It was definitely a busy weekend,” said Keith Maute, head coach at NCCC and Executive Director of the Cobra Wrestling Club.
No doubt about it.
NCCC hosted the Niagara Frontier Wrestling Officials Association High School event on Friday and Saturday, featuring more than 35 teams, including some of the best from Sections 5 and 6. Then on Saturday night, the Thunderwolves defeated Mercyhurst in NJCAA action.
And on Sunday, the competition concluded with the second annual NYWAY Kickoff Classic for grapplers between the ages of 5 and 14.
The NYWAY event included over 300 wrestlers from a number of states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
“The competition level was really, really good,” Maute said. “With the clubs coming from New York plus the out of state wrestlers, the tournament was tough. Ohio brought 42 kids and they were all really good – they had a qualifying tournament before to determine who would be there. Jason Locke, the coach from Ragin Raisins (in Pennsylvania) told me he was very impressed with the competition too.”
Several teams stood out, with G2 World Wrestling Academy declared the team champions. The Rochester-area club boasted a trio of first place finishers – Luca Pirozzolo, Jayden Scott and Elijah Diakomihalis.
Pirozzolo prevailed in a large 22-man bracket while Scott captured his second title of the weekend after traveling to Pennsylvania on Saturday and winning an event in the Keystone State.
Also making the finals for G2, according to co-owner Adam Burgos, were second placers Nicholas Callaghan, Max Kropman, Karamvir Hothi and Greg Diakomihalis.
Team OHIOWAY certainly made the trip to the Empire State worthwhile. While the squad wasn’t entered into the team race, the Buckeye State wrestlers led the way with nine total champions and several other place finishers.
In addition, the host club, Cobra, also sent a large number of wrestlers to the podium, including seven champions and at least seven silver medalists. (Note: runner up results were not available for Division 3 at the time of the article).
Those titlewinners for Cobra included two pairs of brothers – Jakob and Andy Lucinski as well as Hector and Tito Colom. In addition, Carson Alberti, Cooper Gronowski and Phil Calandra won their brackets.
Taking second for Cobra were Isreal Walker, Myles Gronowski, Trent Reid, Mitch Gaiser, Jack Walters, Jacob Brewer and Billy Seiders.
In addition to the NYWAY Kickoff, several of the youth wrestlers had the thrill of wrestling alongside a college match on Saturday night. While NCCC and Mercyhurst battled, New York youngsters faced off on adjacent mats against their counterparts from Ohio.
“The kids loved it,” said Kevin Lucinski, NYWAY’s Far Western Director. “The gym was packed and the response from the crowd was great. To be able to wrestle in front of all those fans and the high school wrestlers that were there was exciting for them.”
Those bouts preceded the finals of the Niagara Frontier Officials Tournament, which provided a chance to catch a glimpse of several high school wrestlers who are serious contenders for state titles in February.
The 120-pound bracket included multiple former qualifiers, including Steve Michel of Lancaster, Kellen Devlin of Amherst, Anthony Orefice of Lockport and Austin Acquard of Iroquois. Orefice, an All-Stater wrestling up a weight, dropped a 4-2 decision to Michel in the semis. And in the finals, the Lancaster grappler edged Devlin, 3-2. Fans can expect to see those competitors go deep into the tournament in Albany.
Speaking of going deep at the Times Union Center, the 145-pound finals paired two wrestlers who have done just that. Royalton Hartland’s Drew Hull, a runner up in 2012, topped Lancaster’s Eric Lewandowski, also a former silver medalist, 2-0. In addition, highly ranked wrestlers such as returning New York champion Tony Recco (Lyndonville, 106), Rocco Russo (Frontier, 126), Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowoga, 132), Dan Reagan (Lewiston Porter, 138) and heavyweight Matt Montesanti (Medina) all won crowns. For full results, see here.
“We were extremely happy with the weekend,” Lucinski said. “We believe the NYWAY event is growing and we look forward to having more representation from the whole state next year. We still want to bring in great wrestlers from out of state too. It’s great that events like these showcase the youth, high school and college levels of wrestling together as we work to grow the sport.”
Below are Results from the NYWAY Kickoff:
Division 1- Top Three Placers By Weight
37 Pounds: JJ Lucinski (Cobra/Lockport), Thomas Crumpler (NFPC), Brandon Jopp (Tonawanda)
40 Pounds: Simon Inboden (OHIOWAY), Isreal Walker (Cobra), Mason Dole (Eden)
43 Pounds: Cooper Gronowski (Cobra), Lucas Mason (Canisteo), Holden Kelly (Powerhouse)
46 Pounds: Jacob Stephenson (NWAA), Noah Leitten (Powerhouse), Griffin LaPlante (Tonawanda)
50-55 Pounds: Teshaun Matthews (NFPC), RJ Rudolfs, Bronx Buchholz (Batavia)
60-65 Pounds: Elijah Diakomihalis (G2), Shey Williams (Lockport), Gage LaPlante (Tonawanda)
Division 2- Top Three Placers By Weight
45 Pounds: Casper Caizzo (OHIOWAY), Jaden Crumpler (NFPC), Gavin Ciarfella (Roy-Hart)
50 Pounds: Ashton Homan (OHIOWAY), Myles Gronowski (Cobra), Korey Halford (NWAA)
55 Pounds: Carson Alberti (Cobra), Nicholas Callaghan (G2), Colin Bradshaw (Phoenix)
60 Pounds: Nick Molchak (OHIOWAY), Julien Griffin (OHIOWAY), Carter Schubert (Superior)
65 Pounds: Carter Neves (OHIOWAY), Trent Reid (Cobra), Gannon Jaquay (Ragin Raisins)
70 Pounds: Jayden Scott (G2), Mitch Gaiser (Cobra), Casey Bixby (Titletown FC)
75 Pounds: Brian Bielec (Grand Island), Ethan Sanderson (Titletown FC), Shane McClellan (NFPC)
80-85 Pounds: Simon Lingle (Newfane), Scott Winchell (Titletown FC), Kevin Daskavitz (Lockport)
Hwt: Logan Ramadan (Grand Island), Drew Mascio (Hamburg), Herman Wooten (NFPC)
Division 3- Champion By Weight
50 Pounds: Lucas Randisi (Superior)
55 Pounds: Jace Schafer(Superior)
60 Pounds: Andy Lucinski (Cobra/Lockport)
65 Pounds: Bryce Hepner (OHIOWAY)
70 Pounds: Luca Pirozzolo (G2)
80 Pounds: Justin McDougal (Niagara Falls)
85 Pounds: Donald Sinclair (Niagara Falls)
90 Pounds: Austin Leber (Niagara Wheatfield)
110 Pounds: Elijah Sobas (OHIOWAY)
Division 4- Top Three Placers By Weight
65 Pounds: Liam Logue (Malvern), Greg Diakomihalis (G2), Cole Skinner (OHIOWAY)
70 Pounds: Michael Gonyea (Journeymen), Eamonn Logue (Malvern), Ethan Turner (OHIOWAY)
75 Pounds: Trey Finnearty (OHIOWAY), Max Kropman (G2), Ryan Burgos (G2)
80 Pounds: Sam Bacon (Ragin Raisins), Christian Bradshaw (Phoenix), Danielle Stanley (Cobra)
85 Pounds: Wyatt Smith (Midlakes), Brandon MacDonnell (Midlakes), Nick Kruger (G2)
90 Pounds: William McDougald (NFPC), Sam Wolf (Warsaw), Corry Day (Bagura)
95 Pounds: Zachary Brown (Newfane), Jack Walters (Cobra), Jacob Tomlinson (Ragin Raisins)
100 Pounds: Bricker Thiel (OHIOWAY), Aaron Poe (NWAA), Nicholas Rouse (Titletown FC)
110 Pounds: Hector Colom (Cobra), Kevin Halford (NWAA), Jazzario Warr (Ragin Raisins)
120-130 Pounds: Steven Hark (Ken-Ton), Craig Pellow (Lew-Port), Henry Grunzweig (Grand Island)
140-150 Pounds: Steven Daskavitz (Lockport), Mike Leibl (Titletown FC), Hunter Thiel (OHIOWAY)
Division 5- Top Three Placers By Weight
80 Pounds: Drew Schafer (Superior), Dylan Curtis (Lew-Port), Lucas King (Superior)
88 Pounds: Tyler McKinney (Ragin Raisins), Jacob Brewer (Cobra), Seth Kerscher (Ken-Ton)
96-103 Pounds: Phil Calandra (Cobra), Billy Seiders (Cobra), Brent Bachman (Barker)
112 Pounds: Tito Colom (Cobra), Jacob Braeden (Ragin Raisins), Jacob Smeader (Hamburg)
120 Pounds: Dillon Knoll (Hamburg), Andrew Lorenz (Clarence), Austin Lutz (Ragin Raisins)
130-140 Pounds: Sean Galla (Titletown FC), Tyler Simons (Newfane), Justin Kimble (West Seneca E)
150-160 Pounds: Ian Malesiewski (Ragin Raisins), Michael Daskavitz (Lockport), Tyler Skidmore (Newfane)