Here are the Division I and Division II stories from the Section VI wrestling championship. And here are plenty of extras from the Division II meet Saturday night at Niagara County Community College. But first, a couple observations.
1. This was the second straight year NCCC served as host for the event, and it's a great venue. There's plenty of parking, and NCCC coach Eric Knuutilla (one of the nicest men you could ever meet) does a great job having the gym ready. The support staff, including announcers and officials, also do a good job of keeping everything moving as close to on time as possible.
2. Another thank you to Ross Conti, an assistant coach at Fredonia and committee member of the Wrestling Review of Western New York, the group that does such a great job seeding and ranking area wrestlers. Conti is a walking encyclopedia of wrestling knowledge.
112-pound champion Tom Page, Eden: Page moved ahead with a takedown in the second period to defeat teammate eighth-grade teammate Alex Smythe. Here's Page's father, also Tom Page, on what it's like for two teammates to wrestle each other: "It's extremely difficult because they're so familiar with each other's style. It's unfair to both, but some coaches say it's a privilege. I'm proud of both of the athletes, because they've done a fantastic job."
The elder Page said he wrestled both at 112 because they were the best at that weight class and deserved a chance to showcase what they could do at the sectional level. Nothing wrong with that logic.
119-pound champion Kevin Strong, Frewsburg: It's the second trip to states for Strong, who improved to 43-2 on the season. Here he is on his game plan from Saturday: "I was working on holding him down and taking it slow. Once I got my points I was very careful." Strong beat Newfane's David Ciaramella, 9-0.
125-pound champion Emory Rowe, Ripley: The smallest wrestling school in Western New York had two finalists, including one champion in Rowe. He scored a late takedown to earn a 5-3 decision over Jake Baer of Olean, a raw talent in just his third year of wrestling. Here's Rowe on the end of the match: "I was just looking for an opening and I saw him loosen up, so I dove for it and got it."
140-pound champion Devin Kramer, Depew: The Most Outstanding Wrestler of the meet scored three late points to break a 2-2 tie with Ben Haas of Salamanca and win his second sectional title (he won at 130 last year). The 130- and 140-pound divisions are packed with talented wrestlers. Kramer, a senior who is a member of the Cobra Wrestling Academy, is 36-4 on the season.
145-pound champion: Dominic Montesanti, Medina: Montesanti put forth a dominant performance despite being hampered by a knee injury. He's wrestling on a torn meniscus in his right knee. Here he is on competing hurt: "It's been a real bother, but it's my senior so I couldn't get surgery. It would put me out for the rest of the year. I have one last chance to be a state champion, so I have to tough it out."
Montesanti took sixth at the state tournament last year after dislocating his elbow and having to injury forfeit two matches at 140.
171-pound champion John Mistretta, Southwestern: Mistretta beat Greg Burroughs of Fredonia for the third time this season, never the easiest thing to do. Mistretta has a unique style that could make him a tough out at the state tournament.
189-pound champion Colin Palmer, East Aurora: Palmer is unbeaten on the season (24-0) after missing time early due to injury.
215-pound champion Pat Langworthy, Southwestern: Langworthy (33-6), a junior, won a wild weight class. Consider: the seventh seed, Panama's Cody DiDomenico, beat No. 2 Bashar Srouji of Lew-Port in the quarterfinals. Langworthy, the third seed, then beat DiDomenico. On the other side of the bracket, top seed Justin Taylor of Portville was upset by fourth seed Jake Eddington of Gowanda in the semifinals.
285-pound champion Theo King, Roy-Hart: King and 96-pounder Zach Bickle won titles for the Rams. Here's King on what he hopes it means for the Niagara-Orleans League school: "I hope it can inspire more people to come out for the team next year and continue to build the tradition of the program."
That's it for now, although we may have some video later of a few matches (if I can figure out the technology).
Greetings on the busiest night of boys basketball all year. Lots of games, lots of big matchups.
4:51 p.m. Just got a call from fellow reporter Lauren Mariacher, who headed to Burgard to shoot video of Grover Cleveland's 4:15 p.m. game there. There was no game and she was told by a student that it had been called off.
She's headed to McKinley's hosting of East (5:30), and so am I. The plan is to head to Niagara Falls at North Tonawanda and possibly Maryvale at Depew after that.
6:39 p.m. Quite the developments here at McKinley, which took a 42-26 halftime lead on East. Yes, you read that right.
Ten of East's players, including all five starters, were suspended prior to the game and the Panthers were forced to go with JV callups to fill out its lineup for today. The suspensions were due to academic reasons.
The length of the suspensions is not known -- they are at least for one week, according to coach Starling Bryant. The length of the suspensions could also differ for different players.
Said Bryant during halftime: "It could be one week, it could be two weeks or it could be permanent. They didn't do what they were supposed to do academically. They didn't hold up their end of the bargain. At East, it's academics first. It could be a week, or it could be sectionals, and I'll go with the young boys."
East entered the game 12-2 overall, co-ranked second among large schools in Western New York, and 9-0 in the Yale Cup. The Panthers were one of two unbeatens in the Yale Cup (along with Middle College, which won Monday to go to 10-0).
6:46 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, McKinley leads East, 59-41.
The five East starters who were suspended were Domonique Jackson, Tremell Fisher, Andre Jackson, Dale Gray and Deon Robinson.
The only two regulars not to get suspended are Jason Oden and Chris Boyd.
6:49 p.m. The McKinley lead is up to 63-41 with 6:44 left in the game.
This is clearly a major blow to East, which I had voted No. 1 in the large school poll the last three weeks. The Panthers were the favorite in A-2 and had the kind of team, I thought, that was capable of a run to Glens Falls. Many fans were already looking forward to a East-Williamsville South overall Class A final.
We'll have to see. If East gets enough of its players back by sectionals, they may still be able to make that kind of run. The Yale Cup is a much different story, and Middle College is now firmly in front of what was expected to be a thrilling finish. Middle, Grover and East have yet to play this season -- the first game among them over an exciting final two weeks is Middle College's game at Grover Cleveland on Thursday.
6:53 p.m. McKinley 71, East 44 with 4:30 left in the game. Stunning stuff.
Many of the suspended East players are watching the game from the front row of the bleachers. Tough lesson to learn for those guys. Hopefully it's not to late for them to perhaps turn things around -- in the classroom and then on the basketball court.
7:02 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: McKinley 84, East 53.
I'm off to NT. I'm hoping WLVL-AM is on the air for my ride up there :-)
7:37 p.m. No WLVL for the ride, but it's still the second quarter so we'll be fine.
I walked into NT with the home team having a two-point lead, but while I was getting set up Darrik Bloomfield followed a three-pointer with a sweet putback of a teammate's airball -- Bloomfield caught it from under the basket and reverse layup-ed it all in midair -- to put NT up, 30-18 over Niagara Falls with 3:50 left in the second quarter.
7:39 p.m. Falls gets a bunch back in a hurry and cut it to 30-24 with 2:44 left in the quarter.
7:45 p.m. At halftime, North Tonawanda leads Niagara Falls, 38-27.
NT coach Erik O'Bryan seems pretty loose -- he walks by me as I'm hunched over the laptop and I hear, "say hello to Prep Talk Nation."
It was 16-16 after one quarter. Aaron Davis leads NT with 12 points while Bloomfield had all 10 of his in the second quarter. Davon Marshall leads Falls with 12.
The reports regarding Jordan Street are correct. He is ineligible and not listed in the scorebook for Falls.
7:58 p.m. An early timeout on a scramble on the floor -- NT leads, 37-29, with 6:33 left in the third.
8:07 p.m. Falls calls a timeout with NT having taken a 46-35 lead with 2:14 left in the third.
UPDATE from Wilson: Host Lakemen lead Medina, 30-16, at halftime.
8:13 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, North Tonawanda leads Niagara Falls, 46-35.
UPDATE from Depew: Host Wildcats lead, 15-14, over Maryvale after one quarter.
8:21 p.m. NT calls a timeout with 5:11 left and holding a 51-41 lead. Marshall has hit back-to-back threes for Falls.
8:27 p.m. With 1:44 left in the game, NT calls a timeout with a 55-45 lead.
8:30 p.m. Two free throws by Maurice Respress and Falls calls a timeout with 1:21 left; NT leads, 55-47.
8:40 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: North Tonawanda 61, Niagara Falls 54.
North Tonawanda SWEEPS Niagara Falls. What a season.
The scorebooks from the game are to the right.
Who thought Niagara Falls was going to lose in the Niagara Frontier League this season? Who thought Niagara Falls was going to get swept this season? Wow.
NT handled the Falls pressure early, then just beat the Wolverines the rest of the way. The Jacks were an extremely confident team, moving the ball well on offense, rebounding well and playing good defense. Falls was limited largely to outside shots, and they didn't have a good shooting night.
8:50 p.m. Finished with some interviews and some video stuff and we're going to try and make it to Depew for the end of what has been a close game (Maryvale led, 24-23, at halftime).
9:36 p.m. Made it to Depew in time for interviews, but not in time to catch the game that ended with this FINAL SCORE: Maryvale 54, Depew 49. Maryvale clinches at least a tie for the ECIC III title.
Hey, we tried to get there in time, but when we arrived we were swimming upstream into the huge crowd leaving the gym. (Thanks much to Sean Bruso for texting me updates from Depew).
More details, video and scores to come so stay tuned.
10:10 p.m. Got some details sent in to the paper.
Here are a few notable finals that are in (we'll have the scoreboard up as soon as possible):
* Wilson takes control of the Niagara-Orleans race with a 52-34 victory over Medina;
* Grand Island makes some noise by thumping visiting Lockport, 79-67;
* Cleveland Hill with a very nice ECIC IV win, 53-45, at Alden -- where Lackawanna fell just last week;
* Bishop Timon-St. Jude wins at home over St. Francis, 58-54, bouncing back from Monday night's loss at Nichols;
* Some drama in ECIC I as Clarence handles visiting Frontier, 61-55, after the Falcons had wins over Jamestown and Orchard Park. Speaking of OP, they escape Lancaster with a 61-60 win.
11:12 p.m. Man, this video stuff is not easy. "Keith talking, take 47." ... "Cut!"
Among the later scores to come in came from one of the later starts -- St. Joe's wins at Maple Grove, 72-44. I'm not sure many expected that kind of margin no matter which team came away with a victory.
First of all, the Yale Cup games are eariler, so I should be able to catch at least part of one (maybe two if my pickup hoops game goes short and the first Yale Cup game goes long) before moving on to one of the above prime-time contests.
Grover Cleveland is at Burgard at 4:15 p.m. and East is at McKinley at 5:30. (Note: the Hutch-Tech vs. Middle College game has been moved to 5:30 p.m. today at Hutch-Tech.)
Among the games listed above, there are four major rematches from this year and an intriguing nonleague rematch from last year.
The biggest upset of the season, and one of the biggest of the decade (whether it is last decade or this one :-) ) was North Tonawanda's64-62 overtime win at Niagara Falls, the first-ever Niagara Frontier League loss for the Wolverines. Falls' first-ever attempt to avenge an NFL loss gets started at 7 p.m.
St. Francis started making noise in the Monsignor Martin Association when it beat Bishop Timon-St. Jude at home, 56-54, on Jan. 20 to start a four-game win streak. The Tigers are coming off a top-notch victory at Canisius while Frannies has stumbled a bit with a loss at Nichols and a home loss to Canisius; tip-off in South Buffalo is 7:30 p.m.
The ECIC III battles between Maryvale and Depew have been outstanding for the last several years -- the Wildcats avenged their only loss of the season by winning at Amherst on Thursday. Back on Jan. 5, Depew won at Maryvale, 42-35. Tonight's battle is at 7:30.
The Niagara-Orleans League race likely rests on the 7 p.m. tipoff of Medina at Wilson. Medina won at home in the teams' first meeting, 62-53, on Jan. 15.
St. Joe's makes its first trip to Maple Grove
for a 7:30 tip. Last year the Red Dragons lost at St. Joe's, 79-64. The Marauders are struggling while the Red Dragons and Chris Secky appear to be primed for that Class D playoff run that everyone has been talking about since last year. A very intriguing matchup here.
Other games on the fast-breaking Tuesday include Lockport at Grand Island in the NFL, Orchard Park at Lancaster in ECIC I, Cleveland Hill at Alden in ECIC IV and St. Mary's at Niagara Catholic in a Monsignor Martin small school battle.
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Part of me wanted to let the voters literally decide where I end up, but due to logistics and some Web work I'll be taking care of with reporter/videographer Lauren Mariacher (stay tuned), I can not completely put my traveling fate in your hands. Not that I don't trust Prep Talk Nation, of course. For instance, the trip to Maple Grove would be great, but the travel time involved would wipe out any possibility of seeing some games beforehand and would also throw a wrench into some significant postgame Web plans we have.
I'd have to say I'm leading to Falls at NT considering the historical impact of the teams' first meeting this year. I thought after NT's home loss to Lockport last week that perhaps the game had lost all of its luster, but then Falls struggled to beat Kenmore West so we're kind of back where we started -- trying to make sense out of the NFL.
But vote early and often (:-) ), and, of course, let me know why in the comments section below. I certainly am looking forward to seeing what the people's choice is.
The Canisius band, featuring an electric guitar, is doing an extended set, which means what? It's halftime. Canisus and Bishop Timon-St. Jude are fittingly tied at 29-29.
I walked in to see the last minute, where Timon scored off a steal but then Canisius beat the buzzer to tie it up.
Our laptop battery is running low due to that work meeting, so we won't be back until the end of the third.
7:26 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, Canisius has a 43-40 lead.
7:27 p.m. Dave Scarcello hits a three and we're tied again to start the fourth.
7:34 p.m. Tied again at 49-49 with 3:05 left as Timon takes a timeout.
7:37 p.m. Still at 49-49 with just over a minute left -- don't know exactly due to the stupid countdown clock for the timeout. Ugh.
7:38 p.m. There's 1:27 left.
With the score tied at 49-49, Dut Dour hit an inside basket with 1:08 left to put Timon ahead.
Mike Scarcello hit the front end of a one-and-one in the video above, then -- after a timeout -- added a second free throw to make it a four-point game with 8.8 seconds left.
7:47 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Bishop TImon-St. Jude 53, Canisius 49.
As if the top 10 large schools needed another wacky thing, huh? Very nice win by Timon.
I'm off to Depew at Amherst.
8:18 p.m. Walked in the door of the oldie-but-a-goodie Amherst gym (with "Physical Education" part of the concrete -- I think -- exterior) just in time for a technical foul
on Amherst and four free throws by Depew's RIck Coburn. That gave Depew an eight-point lead into a 29-17
advantage with about three minutes left in the second quarter.
A great part of this gym is the huge mural on one of the walls that greets opposing teams with a "Welcome the the Jungle."
8:25 p.m. At halftime, Depew leads Amherst, 33-22.
A few schedule changes to pass along, including this weekend's United Way Tournament at Jamestown which was snowed out in early December.
Friday's first round is intact, as Maple Grove takes on Section V power Newark (and UB recruit Javon McCrea) at 6 p.m. with Jamestown meeting Fredonia at 7:45. The Saturday pairings have been moved up: the consolation game is at 4:15 with the final following at 6 p.m.
Depew has shuffled some games due to some weather: The Wildcats will host Pioneer on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. as the second half of a boy-girl doubleheader; Depew is at Pioneer on Tuesday, Jan. 26; Depew hosts Springville on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
As the notice states on that file, if there are rescheduled games in any sport, please notify The News at email@example.com. For boys basketball games, please copy me on the email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Class B field is set, and there are favorites everywhere you turn -- Cheektowaga is tops in the polls, Depew is coming off a tremendous performance against No. 1 large school Lancaster, East Aurora might be the hottest team in the bracket, and Lackawanna is the defending champion.
In case you didn't realize that tonight marks the end of the regular season in high school football, just step outside.
Some high-impact games will have some low temperatures as football playoff weather comes rolling across your Doppler Radar screen tonight. Monday morning's forecast called for lows of 31, highs of 45 and a chance of flurries in the Buffalo area. Down Southern Tier way, there is a greater chance of snow.
For those who want to keep their blood moving tonight, there's a chance to see a lot of action (and see your breath) by bopping around to different sites -- which is what a certain reporter is going to do.
The traditional 5 p.m. Harvard Cup game has South Park meeting East at All High Stadium. The 100th game in the Tonawanda-North Tonawanda series kicks off at 6 p.m. at NT's Lumberjack Sports Complex. Among several 7 p.m. kickoffs is the crucial Class A contest in which Williamsville South plays at Hamburg. The lineup of games at 7:30 p.m. includes Lancaster at Depew, an outstanding rivalry game featuring two ranked teams, as well as a big Class B South game of Lackawanna at Alden.
6:36 p.m. It's going as expected at NT, where North Tonawanda has a 20-0 lead after one quarter. Having some trouble with the youtube-ing, so sit tight. I'm off to Hamburg.
Here's the kickoff of the 100th edition of the rivalry, with the classic voice of Dick Grapes on the call:
Here's Aaron Davis scoring NT's first touchdown on a 3-yard run.
Here's NT's second touchdown on a razzle-dazzle halfback option.
7:18 p.m. Made the long trip to Hamburg and pulled in as Will South scored a touchdown to go up 7-0 early.
Lockport's WJJL reported that NT was five for five on possessions as it built a 35-0 lead in the first half.
8:20 p.m. Spent a good amount of time watching Hamburg-Will South because it sure was entertaining. The teams were tied at 16-16 in the last half-minute of the first half. Hamburg had the ball but had just been pushed back on a penalty when it called timeout -- I don't have much time to spare so I headed out. I'm off to try and catch a few plays of Lancaster-Depew before returning to the office.
There was a light, cold rain adding to a brrrr of a night at Hamburg but both teams were slugging it out. Both defenses had some key stops while Hamburg was showing a nice quarterbacking game to answer some big plays by South's Joe Licata.
Hamburg scored a field goal off an interception, which is right here:
Here's a great connection from Licata to Mark Coppola -- note the nice block by Tyler Krempa.
Hamburg's Nico Zarcone had several nice plays, including this big pass for a TD on third down.
Hamburg stopped Will South late in the first half, including this fourth-down incompletion.
8:53 p.m. We're at Depew, where WXRL tells me that Lancaster has a 20-6 halftime lead. The halftime show on the radio was very enjoyable on the drive here -- Milt Latimer of the Prep Talk blog was the guest! Gotta love it.
We won't be here for long. Gotta run.
9:30 p.m. We're back in the One News Plaza parking lot. We caught a touchdown by Depew that made the score 20-12, but as we headed to the parking lot, Lancaster returned the ensuing kickoff for a score and added another touchdown.
Here's a video of a nice run by Lancaster's Justin Juda.
Depew got a big gain on an Anthony Emmanuele run which got the big crowd around the blue track going.
That run helped set up Depew's pass play for a score at the jam-packed Frank Constantino complex. Great venue.
In the fourth, Lancaster is up, 34-12.
10:40 p.m. In the midst of deadline madness at the home office right now ... here is the scoreboard that we will be updating as soon as we can.
The big score in so far is Hamburg 23, Williamsville South 22.
11:14 p.m. Just got off the phone with Dan McGrath, whose Depew team lost to Lancaster, 41-40. Wow.
Stay here through the night as we'll have updates and scores as soon as we get them.
Also, tune your twitter to "bufnewspreptalk" to get instant updates of the scores as soon as they are reported to us. We also have a fan page at Facebook -- just search "The Buffalo News' Prep Talk blog" -- and you'll get updates with links to our high school sports stories.
If you are at a game, or saw one tonight, be sure to let us know what you thought of the action in the comments section below.
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Our end of business report:
* Here's our roundup which is led off with the big wins for Lancaster and Hamburg, both of which include more information than we could squeeze in the paper. There are several other games which have bonus coverage -- the nice road win for St. Joe's is just one of them.
* The High School Extra delves into soccer, field hockey, swimming, cross country -- and swine flu!
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Some random blabbity-blah: I'd have to think there were crowds of over 5,000 at both the T-NT game and the Lancaster-Depew game. ... The Hamburg-Will South game was a gritty, cold, tough game where South (not surprisingly) went for two and the win at the end. They've been playing aggressively all year. Class A is going to be pretty crazy the next couple of weeks. ... I tried to squeeze in a trip to the South Park game to start the evening off, but the Main St. construction made that a no sale. I had to U-turn it to the 198 and head to T-NT land. I wanted to catch the opening kickoff; Tonawanda, on the other hand, didn't -- but that was just the start of an expectedly tough night for the Warriors.
Should they keep playing the game? Absolutely. Class B teams can be competitive with Class AA teams. Just ask Lancaster and Depew.
I'll have more videos posted when I get a chance to dig the best stuff out of the iPhone. See you back here for Saturday Afternoon Live.
Here are some additional notes on the eighth-graders as well as notes on all sorts of cross country topics:
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Among the top 18 at the 15-team Bemus Point Invitational were more eighth graders (five) than seniors (four).
Caroline Benson of Maple Grove won the race, while two other fellow eighth-graders were teammates … Emma Verdonik (fifth) and Abby Sirwatka (18th). Falconer's Kirsten Holmberg was third and Fredonia's Micaela Tramuta was 11th.
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Kiki Dy is an accomplished swimmer who came to the Newfane program from field hockey, while Sarah Ziemba and twins Kelly and Kate Bocknewetch all excelled in modified track and cross country last year.
Dy "fell into our lap," said Newfane coach Mike Heitzenrater. "Because of the way our league is run in swimming, with the girls competing in the winter, she could never qualify for states. So she said, "I want to do cross country and get to the states.' "
The youngsters have meshed well with senior Bethany Dewey and juniors Erin Hannah and Amy Lanighan.
It may have helped that Newfane had a significant amount of spots to fill in its lineup after graduating much of its team last year.
Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.