High School wrestlers and coaches in Erie County push for season to start next month

Local News

(WIVB) — High school wrestlers and their coaches throughout Erie County are stuck in limbo wondering if students can compete on the mat. Section VI gave the ok, but not every county with section six agrees.

Of the five counties Section VI covers, Erie County was the only one not in favor of allowing student wrestlers to complete next month and coaches told News 4 this could get confusing.

Because technically the Erie County Health Department is recommending that the wrestling season does not start. It’s not prohibiting it, though.

Aidan Walline and Tyler Barry attend different high schools in Erie County but both were hoping to spend their senior year doing what they’ve trained years for, and that’s wrestle.

A senior at Iroquois High School Tyler Barry said, “Some stuff just doesn’t make sense. I wish we could have a season this year because this would’ve been my last season.”

“Honestly no matter what it is I just want to get out there with my high school team because I’ve been on the team since 7th grade.”

“I know with it being delayed it’s a lot harder to get looks for college, but it’s just tough. It would mean a lot,” said Aidan Walline, a senior at Clarence High School.

Amherst school district’s Head Wrestling Coach Dennis Bauer says this then leaves it up to individual school districts and their athletic directors on which direction to go in.

Eden Central School District Wrestling Coach Tom Page told us, “We were extremely disappointed and what gets us a little confused is that as it’s worded from the Erie county board of health that it’s a recommendation.”

Bauer, along with the wrestling coach in the Eden Central School District tell me they were surprised Erie County is not on board.

“There are certain risks but they don’t seem to be different from other sports, and we think the connections we have with our athletes and the connection that the athletes have with each other, as well as the continuation of the sport and physical activity, we believe all those things outweigh the risks,” said Bauer.

The call from Erie County to postpone the season is based on high levels of community transmission and that wrestlers won’t be able to wear a mask while competing.

The wrestling season is expected to start on May 3.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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