The Niagara Wheatfield Falcons battled the Lockport Lions Tuesday night in a classic meeting of #1 and #2 ranked Section Six large school wrestling squads. It was a great night for high school wrestling and the type of “old school” match-ups many of us veterans of the sport remember and miss. In the end Niagara Wheatfield prevailed 42-25 and won the Niagara Frontier League title and the top ranking of Division One teams in the Section.

Niagara WheatfieldSo how high should the Falcons now be ranked across New York State? Well, a case could be made that Wheatfield could climb as high as #1 one, at least if you follow the criteria used by the New York State Sports Writers Association, widely accepted as “THE” ranking body.

The NYSSWA basically uses dual meet results to rank the high school wrestling teams across the State once the season begins. To climb in the rankings a team must defeat teams ahead of them in a dual meet contest, or defeat a team that has defeated a team ahead of them.

The NYSSWA explains on their web site that the rankings are dual meet based and individual tournament results are factored in when decisive and significant. As a result Niagara Wheatfield is only ranked 17th in the current rankings put out on January 6th and Lockport is ranked 14th. What is significant and key to this argument is that Lockport is ahead of 15th ranked Hilton on the merits of 33-29 victory over the Cadets on December 22nd.

Hilton took second at the prestigious UE Duals on January 10th defeating top ranked Monroe Woodbury 37-35 before losing to Long Beach in the final match 34-31. Hilton battles Section Five power Brockport tonight, but would expect to climb very near the top of the State rankings after their performance on the 10th.

So to follow the train tracks of logic being laid out here, Hilton defeats top ranked Monroe Woodbury, Lockport defeats Hilton and Niagara Wheatfield defeats Lockport.

Some may say, well Hilton had a wrestler out against Lockport on December 22nd. However, both Wheatfield and Lockport had key starters out of their lineups Tuesday night. Teams in all sports compete for Championships with who is available to compete, just ask the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers playing in Super Bowl 50 with several key starters out of the lineup.

It is difficult for Section Six teams to receive high rankings State wide because they rarely compete in dual matches against teams from the Albany and downstate area where the perennial powers compete. There have been some exceptions , but it is rare for WNY teams to be ranked in the top ten rankings at the end of the season.

It will be interesting to see just how high the Falcons of Niagara Wheatfield climb in the new rankings coming out next week. There will certainly be those pulling for NW to be placed near or at the top of the heap when the voting is done.

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