5 things to watch at the PIAA team wrestling championships

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 | 8:47 PM

The PIAA team wrestling championships begin Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey.

The WPIAL will be represented by five teams — Waynesburg, Seneca Valley and Canon-McMillan in Class AAA and Burrell and Burgettstown in Class AA.

Carrick from the Pittsburgh City League qualified for the Class AAA tournament but fell to Canon-McMillan in a pigtail-round match on Monday. Quaker Valley qualified for the Class AA tournament but fell to District 10 Corry on Monday.

Here are five things to watch for this weekend.

1. Can Waynesburg win it all? The Raiders are making their first trip to the state tournament and are on the same side of the bracket as District 11 power Bethlehem Catholic. The Raiders open against Central Dauphin on Thursday and then must face a talented Erie Cathedral Prep squad in the quarterfinals on Friday. Canon-McMillan has a tougher route. The Big Macs face District 3 champion Gettysburg in the first round and if they win, they’ll get the winner of the Bethlehem Catholic-Williamsport match on Friday.

2. Can Burrell find a different gear? The Bucs have made the state tournament 14 consecutive seasons but only reached the finals once, winning the Class AA title in 2008 by defeating Bermudian Springs, 37-29. Shady Side Academy (2001 and 2009) is the only other Class AA team from the WPIAL to reach the finals. Burrell opens the tournament against District 4 third-place team Montoursville, which defeated Boiling Springs, 45-25, in a pigtail-round match. Burrell’s overall record in the state tournament is 32-24.

3. First timers: Waynesburg and Burgettstown are making their first trip to the state team tournament. This might not be a one-shot deal for both teams. Both are loaded with underclassmen. The Raiders are capable of winning the state title because of freshmen Mac Church (106), Nate Jones (113), Rocco Welsh (126) and Eli Mackel (170). The Raiders do not start a senior.

4. Big Mac attack: Canon-McMillan will be looking for its third state title. The Big Macs won in 2012 and 2013. Franklin Regional won consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015. The only other WPIAL team to win a title was Connellsville in 2005. Connellsville also reached the finals in 2000 and 2004. Kiski Area lost in the 2003 and 2018 finals and Latrobe fell in 2014. Canon-McMillan’s overall record is 26-14.

5. Reynolds wrap: District 10 Class AA power Reynolds has won six state titles, including the past three. Bethlehem Catholic has won seven titles, the first four (2011-14) in Class AA and the past three (2016, 2018, 2019) in Class AAA.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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