Panthers ready for Class D championships

OBSERVER File Photo The Gowanda Panthers wrestling team will compete at the Section VI Class D wrestling championships this Saturday at Cattaraugus-Little Valley.

The Gowanda Panthers are set to compete in the Section VI Class D wrestling championships Saturday at Cattaraugus-Little Valley.

The finals are slated for 4:30 p.m.

Class D consists of Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Gowanda, Randolph, Portville, Maple Grove, Wilson, Franklinville, Frewsburg and Salamanca.

Gowanda coach Mark Leous feels his team is ready for the challenge.

“We are hoping to win it,” he said. “We will see. We have to wrestle well and we will be OK. We have to get kids who have .500 records to place in the tournament.”

When asked who he thought the top teams in the tournament were, Leous noted Randolph, Portville and Maple Grove pose the strongest competition.

The Panthers bring some strong wrestlers into the tournament, led by David Poff at 120-pounds. Poff is 38-3 on the season and ranked No. 1 in Western New York. He owns the school record with 164 career wins. He placed third at Sectionals last year.

Meanwhile, Chuck Valone is wrestling at 220 and has a 37-3 record and eighth grader Dave Ball will compete at 99 with a 33-9 record.

The top four wrestlers from this weekend’s tournament advance to next weekend’s Sectional tournament.