AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Starting tomorrow student-athletes across Western New York will get to compete on the wrestling mat once again. That’s except for students in Erie County.
Erie county recommended that schools hold off on the wrestling season, and school districts throughout the county are following that advice.
Amherst wrestling coach Dennis Bauer says he’s disappointed his students won’t get the chance to compete as of right now at least.
“We always encourage students to finish strong their senior year, and they’re ready to do it,” he said. “We have so many seniors who are ready to finish strong if given the chance.”
Section VI gave the ok for the season to start May 3. But out of the five counties in the section, Erie County was the only one that recommended districts not allow their students to compete.
Bauer says despite being ready and prepared, schools don’t want to go against the county.
Bauer tells us if the county was ok with moving forward, Monday would be a different story for student-athletes.
“I don’t think it’s quite accurate for the department of health to say that it’s just a recommendation and people can do what they wish because that’s certainly not how the districts feel and I think many of the districts were ready to move forward with wrestling if the department of health would change its recommendation,” said Bauer.
Bauer says he’s still hopeful Erie County will change their mind, especially if COVID-19 numbers stay low.
Amherst High School senior Tyree Orange is also remaining hopeful.
“Not just me but other seniors, have been waiting all year for stuff like this. Senior year is the big year. Everyone’s looking at you and you know it’s just heartbreaking for a lot of people who love the sport of wrestling but there’s always hope,” he said.
He’s happy students in other counties, such as Niagara County, will still get the chance to compete.
“We’re really happy for them and we’re happy for all of the wrestling community that’ll be starting tomorrow as well,” Bauer said. “Trying not to be jealous cause that doesn’t do us much good.”
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.