Burrell wrestling wins 12th consecutive WPIAL Class AA title
By: Doug Gulasy
Saturday, February 3, 2018 | 3:54 PM
Make it a Bucs’ dozen.
A WPIAL championship streak that began when its current seniors were in kindergarten or elementary school continued for Burrell in dominant fashion Saturday afternoon with a 50-23 victory over Derry in the Class AA final at Chartiers-Houston.
With its wrestlers racking up bonus points in almost every matchup, Burrell secured its latest title with three weight classes to spare, extending the longest championship streak in WPIAL wrestling history to 12 seasons.
“It’s awesome. Even though we win all the time, I guess you could say, it’s always good to just keep going,” said senior 160-pounder Shaun Gates, who tallied one of Burrell’s five pins against Derry. “The way the team came up from the (semifinal) match to this match was huge.”
Christie began Burrell’s big run with a technical fall over Trey Weinell, and Gates followed with a 47-second pin to give the Bucs the lead for good. Austin Mele picked up a forfeit at 170, and Feroce and Zach Rupert tallied back-to-back pins to make it 32-8.
“I knew I just had to go out there to give it my all, shoot (for) a takedown,” Rupert said. “I saw the kid, and I took advantage of him. There was a landslide through the lineup.”
Dom DeLuca’s pin at 220 gave Derry a brief reprieve, but Burrell’s Jason Templer picked up a forfeit at 285 and Valovchik and Oswalt added their pins to the Bucs’ total.
“They’re No. 1 for a reason, and until someone can stop that run, we’re going to be No. 2 for a while,” Weinell said.
Derry and Burrell advanced to the finals after hard-fought semifinal matches against Freedom and McGuffey, respectively.
The Trojans won, 36-27, after taking the final four bouts on a forfeit, a Colton McCallen pin and Kace Sabedra and Tyler Cymmerman decisions.
Burrell took a 27-6 lead on the strength of pins by Bryan Gaul, A.J. Corrado and Corey Christie but saw the advantage dwindle to 27-25 after five consecutive McGuffey victories. Trent Valovchik ended the run with a decision at 106, and Ian Oswalt and Colby Christie followed with pins to close out the 42-25 win.
Burrell and Derry advanced to the PIAA tournament, which begins Thursday in Hershey, while third-place finisher McGuffey will wrestle a preliminary-round match Monday.
“I think the Derry match is the best match we wrestled top to bottom,” Shields said. “This team’s goal all year, we wanted to win a WPIAL title, but we had our eyes set on a bigger prize. That’s going to Hershey, battling those guys and hopefully coming home with a medal.”
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @DGulasy_Trib.