START OF SOMETHING NEW

Paul Battson/contributorNiagara-Wheatfield’s Samantha Pietrzykowski wrestles Andrea Smith (East HS) in a 160-pound class match.

Some wrestlers were challenged with a major decision late in the year. 

Girls wrestling is not a sanctioned sport in the NYSPHSAA, which means girls interested in the sport have to wrestle boys in their specific weight class. 

On Saturday, some of those girls that do wrestle had the opportunity to participate in the first ever girls invitational hosted by Section VI. That also meant, that if they qualified for state, they would have to choose the state meet or the invitational, they could not compete in both. 

Five Niagara-Wheatfield girls wrestlers and several more around Niagara County all made the decision to compete at Niagara County Community College in the girls wrestling invitational on Saturday. 

Leading the way was Wheatfield’s Kendra Cheers who took the 138-pound title over Tonawanda’s Bailey Crouse, a 2-1 decision. Grand Island’s Julianna Neyra took fourth in the 138-pound group. North Tonawanda’s Jenna Manganello took third place in the 99-pound group. 

Also wrestling from Grand Island was Niccolette Williams who took fifth in the 106-weight class. 

Nia.-Whetfield’s Rhylee Jung took second in the 113-pound class after a 4-0 decision loss to Kaylee Swalgin (Holland Patent). Jung defeated Lew-Port’s Gwyneth Edwards and Waverly’s Madison Yeakel in the other two rounds before matching against Swalgin. 

Also from Wheatfield, Kylah Holka, who wrestled the 120-pound bout, placed third in the group, following a losses to Betty Cherry (Attica-Batavia) and Mushirah Sheppard (Salamanca) in the second and third rounds, respectively. Holka did defeat NT’s Emily Barcik in the first round with a pin in 50 seconds. 

In the 128-pound weight class, N-W’s Tristan Davis took second getting wins over Jade Eldridge (Newark) and Shaina DeJesus (Byron Bergon) before being defeated by Danielle Stanley (Alden), who won the group, in the fifth round.

Samantha Pietrzykowski (N-W) took second in the 160-pound weight class, grabbing two wins in the group before she was defeated by Morgan Davidson (Alfred Almond HS) with a 6-0 decision. 

The invitational put an end to the season for the girls that competed on Saturday. But the invitational meant more than each individual outcome. It’s a step in the right direction for getting girls wrestling sanctioned in NYS.

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