A-K Valley wrestling notebook: Roscosky provides boost for Kiski Area

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 | 6:15 PM

Kiski Area’s bench was jumping up and down after the first match of the team’s WPIAL Class AAA wrestling semifinal against Canon-McMillan.

The reaction didn’t come after the Cavaliers got a pin. Instead, one of their youngest starters kept one of Canon-McMillan’s best wrestlers from getting a pin of his own. Sophomore Brayden Roscosky, a first-year starter, held Canon-McMillan junior Gerrit Nijenhuis, a two-time WPIAL runner-up and PIAA medalist, to a 12-7 decision to begin the match.

While wrestlers aim for bonus points in postseason dual matches, they also do everything they can to avoid giving up bonus points of their own. A pin can provide a massive momentum swing in a match.

Roscosky, who got pinned in a nonsection dual against Nijenhuis in December, trailed 11-3 after two periods but got a reversal and takedown in the third period to provide some pressure. Kiski Area teammates Troy Kuhn and Stone Joseph pinned their opponents in the next two matches, and the Cavaliers ultimately won the match 45-26 en route to their third consecutive WPIAL title.

“I’m not so sure what happens if there was another period,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “I like our chances if there’s another period in that match. … That fired our bench up.”

PIAA preview

Burrell might want to consider purchasing some real estate in Hershey, as the Bucs will make their 16th consecutive appearance at the PIAA Class AA team tournament beginning Thursday. That run includes a state title in 2008.

The Bucs, who last weekend won their 13th consecutive WPIAL championship, will take on District 3 runner-up Newport in the first round of the state tournament at 4 p.m. Thursday.

While Burrell is a Hershey regular, Newport is a newbie. The Buffaloes, who beat District 4 runner-up Danville in a preliminary-round match Monday, are making their first appearance in a PIAA first-round match. They got six consecutive pins to overcome a deficit against Danville, surging to a 54-24 win. Their second-place finish in District 3 also was a program record.

The winner of the match between Burrell and Newport will face the winner of the first-round match between District 11 champion Saucon Valley and District 4 runner-up Muncy in the quarterfinals Friday.

Kiski Area, which is making its fourth consecutive appearance in the PIAA Class AAA tournament, will face District 1 third-place team Owen J. Roberts at 8 p.m. Thursday.

After finishing third at the tournament in 2017 and second last spring, Kiski Area is seeking its first title.

Owen J. Roberts is a familiar opponent for Kiski Area — the teams faced each other in the consolation bracket of the 2017 PIAA tournament, where Kiski Area secured a 56-13 win. The Wildcats beat District 3 third-place finisher Cumberland Valley in Monday’s PIAA preliminary round, storming to an early 28-0 lead and holding on for a 40-28 victory.

Super weekend

With a 13th consecutive WPIAL Class AA championship, it’s easy to make a comparison between Burrell and a certain Super Bowl-winning NFL franchise. And Bucs coach Josh Shields likely wouldn’t mind hearing it.

Shields was sporting a New England Patriots T-shirt at practice Monday, one day after his favorite NFL team won its sixth Super Bowl since the 2001 season and two days after his own team dominated Beth-Center and Freedom to maintain its stranglehold over the WPIAL.

“The first time I beat my brother in Madden, I was 10 years old, and I was the New England Patriots,” Shields said earlier this season. “That was in the late ’90s, so I was initially a huge fan of Drew Bledsoe, that era. Curtis Martin, Ty Law. I’ve been along for the ride for a long time.”

Shields twice during a conversation Monday unironically dropped in the phrase “Do your job,” the Patriots’ team mantra, to discuss his own coaching philosophy with his wrestlers.

To paraphrase Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Burrell is on to Newport, the Bucs’ first-round PIAA opponent.

Miller time

Part of Kiski Area’s reward for winning the WPIAL title Saturday included a gigantic Hershey bar. And while the Cavaliers couldn’t partake — they need to make weight for the PIAA tournament, after all — Heater had his eye on one wrestler in particular.

“They’d better keep it away from Darren,” Heater said, referencing senior Darren Miller.

Miller, a four-year stalwart who wrestled much of the season at 132 pounds, got his weight down enough to qualify for the 126-pound weight class in Saturday’s semifinal and championship matches.

The move gives Kiski Area valuable lineup flexibility at an important time of the season for it. Heater used Miller for the 126-pound weight class in the semifinals, where Canon-McMillan opted to forfeit the match to him. In the finals, Heater sent Miller out for the 132-pound bout, where the senior picked up a 3-0 decision over Seneca Valley’s Jacob Geyer.

Toy story

Kiski Area had four resounding victories in the WPIAL Class AAA tournament, but one of the Cavaliers’ coaches had a close shave.

After they closed out their third consecutive WPIAL title, Kiski Area’s wrestlers shaved off the ever-present mustache of volunteer assistant Don Toy.

An assistant with Kiski Area’s program for more than 25 years, Toy reportedly last shaved off his mustache about 15 years ago.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at [email protected] or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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