A-K Valley wrestling notebook: Kiski Area, Burrell set for rivalry match
By: Doug Gulasy
Tuesday, January 9, 2018 | 11:23 PM
The match is taking place later than usual, but Burrell and Kiski Area will renew their Alle-Kiski Valley wrestling rivalry next week.
Class AAA No. 2 Kiski Area will host this time at 7 p.m. Tuesday, seeking its seventh consecutive victory over Class AA No. 1 Burrell. The Cavaliers won 65-3 a year ago.
Last season saw Burrell and Kiski Area win WPIAL team championships, the second time that occurred in A-K Valley history, and both figure to be among the favorites for another title in February.
The Kiski Area match is part of a difficult stretch to the schedule for Burrell, which hosts Class AAA No. 4 Hempfield on Friday and faces Valley, its biggest Section 3-AA rival, Jan. 17.
Burrell to honor champs
Burrell will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its 2008 PIAA Class AA wrestling championship at the Bucs' nonsection match Friday against Hempfield.
Alumni from the program's only state championship team are expected to attend and will be recognized at the match between the Class AA No. 1 Bucs and Class AAA No. 4 Hempfield.
Burrell won its second consecutive WPIAL title in 2008 — they've gone on to win the past nine, as well — and then won three matches at the state tournament in Hershey, beating Bermudian Springs, 37-29, in the final. Shane Welsh and Jordan Shields later finished in second place at the PIAA individual championships.
Friday's match is a makeup of a December postponement.
Darren Miller crossed off a pair of significant accomplishments in the first week of the New Year.
The Kiski Area junior 120-pounder picked up his 100th career victory when he won by forfeit in an 84-0 blowout of Section 1-AAA opponent Woodland Hills on Jan. 3. Miller followed that with three more wins to defend his Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament title Saturday at Norwin.
“It was a great experience,” Miller said of his 100th win. “Being able to get it at home and getting pictures with my family members, it was great.”
The WCCA title didn't come quite as easily for Miller, who had to fight off his back early in the third period before getting the go-ahead reversal against Latrobe's Gabe Wilochell to earn a 10-9 victory and his second championship in a row.
Miller and Wilochell have a history of tight battles, as Miller beat him by one point in last year's WCCA final and by three at the Powerade Christmas Tournament in late December.
“I felt there was more pressure this year,” Miller said. “Considering I won last year, I had to win it again this year.”
Valley's Noah Hutcherson didn't begin the WCCA tournament the way he hoped, but he closed it on a strong note.
Hutcherson overcame a first-round loss to battle his way back for a third-place finish at the county tournament. He pinned Hempfield's Dallyn Wood in 2 minutes, 16 seconds in the third-place match.
“I could have wrestled better in the first round in the winners' bracket,” Hutcherson said. “I've been losing in the first round a lot lately. I wrestled decent. I'm not liking (third place) too much. I think I can wrestle better, truthfully.”
After getting pinned by Norwin's Ryan Weinzen in the first round, Hutcherson won four consecutive bouts in the consolation bracket, including three by fall.
It was the second consecutive third-place medal for Hutcherson, who also was third at the Southmoreland Holiday Classic in late December. He placed fourth at the season-opening Eastern Area Invitational.
The bigger they come …
Just one of the championship bouts at the WCCA tournament ended in a pinfall, and it just so happened to be the last: Valley's David Schuffert took down Hempfield's Isaiah Vance in 53 seconds in the heavyweight match.
“At first, I felt good,” Schuffert said. “It felt like there's nothing stopping me today winning this.”