A-K Valley wrestling notebook: Burrell, Kiski Area set for annual showdown

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020 | 5:19 PM


Two of the top wrestling teams in the WPIAL will converge on Thursday at Kiski Area as the three-time defending WPIAL Class AAA champion Cavaliers will host the 13-time defending WPIAL Class AA champions, Burrell.

The teams, which are among the top in their classification, get together each year for a match to test their mettle against each other in preparation for the postseason. This year is no different.

“We look forward to that match every year,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “We both have good programs and we have a long history with each other as far as we compete on time each year with each other. We’re always rooting for each other and we’re always supporting each other, especially since we’re Class AAA and AA.”

Over the past few years, the Cavaliers have gotten the best of the Bucs. Win or lose, both teams are coming into the match with the mentality of getting better, and Burrell coach Josh Shields is looking forward to another challenge.

“Our kids are definitely excited for a good cross-town rivalry,” Shields said. “They have really had our number the past couple years, so we’re looking forward to a good week of practice and then challenging ourselves against one of the top teams in AAA in the state.”

The teams have met this year at individual tournaments like the Powerade and the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament this past weekend, but this will be the first time the teams square up one on one.

Five straight

Just like they have the past four years, the Cavaliers came out on top once again this past weekend at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament, and they did it in front of a hometown crowd.

Kiski Area had four wrestlers — Sammy Starr (152), Jack Blumer (160), Nick Delp (170) and Brayden Roscosky (195) — walk away with titles. Dom Giordano (120) and Jared Curcio (182) earned second-place finishes.

Cavaliers coach Chris Heater said he was happy with his team’s performance in the end, but he was even happier with how they responded to Friday’s performance. Heading into Saturday, they were trailing Latrobe and bounced back to capture a county-record 13th title.

“Saturday was a completely different story,” Heater said “Saturday was more of who we typically are as a team. We were in every match and the matches we lost were close. I think three or four times, we matched up with somebody we had lost to before and we got some wins.”

Ryan Klingensmith (113), Enzo Morlacci (145) and Jack Dilts (285) all turned in third-place performances for the Cavaliers as well.

Oswalt captures WCCA title

Through his first 18 matches of the season, two-time WPIAL champion Ian Oswalt has taken his lumps. He’s gone 14-4, but all four of his losses came against some of the best wrestlers in the state.

This past weekend, Oswalt stood apart from the field and captured the 132-pound title at the WCCA tournament by going 4-0 in dominating fashion.

He ousted his first two opponents with pins in less than a minute and then finished off his third with a pin in 1 minute, 19 seconds. His fourth victory of the tournament came via a second-period escape for a 1-0 decision over Franklin Regional’s Garrett Thompson.

Top Fox

Fox Chapel was the only team from the Alle-Kiski Valley to travel to the Tool City tournament in Meadville this past weekend and the Foxes came away with a 16th-place finish out of 24 teams.

Alex Wecht earned top honors for Fox Chapel as he continued his solid senior season with a third-place finish at 160 pounds. He pinned Saegertown’s Landon Caldwell in four minutes in his final match to improve to 11-1 with nine pins.

His only loss of the season so far came last weekend when Grove City’s Daiveon Say pinned him in 3 minutes, 44 seconds.

Wecht was the No. 3 seed in his weight class and went 4-1 during the tournament. He earned three of his victories by pin, while the fourth came via an 8-6 decision over Caldwell in their quarterfinal matchup.

Three other Foxes finished in the top eight. Eddie Farrell earned a seventh-place finish at 220, heavyweight Jordan White placed sixth, and 152-pounder Josh Miller placed eighth.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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