Burrell captures 17th consecutive section wrestling title

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 | 9:33 PM

Every time Burrell takes the mat, the Bucs are looking to make a statement, and the defending WPIAL Class AA champions did just that on Wednesday at Elizabeth Forward.

With a 61-15 win over Southmoreland in the semifinals of the Section 3-AA team tournament and another 61-15 victory over Elizabeth Forward in the sectional championship, the Bucs won their 17th consecutive sectional title.

“Each and every one is different,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “Each and every one involves a new group of kids, so each and every one is important. This is something where we come into each season and it’s one of our goals. Sections, WPIALs and then states. This is just the first one we got to accomplish.”

In the championship match with the Warriors, the teams split the first two matches at 170 and 182 pounds. First, Dom Holmes pinned Elizabeth Forward’s Dakota Buchina at the 3 minute, 4-second mark. Then, Elizabeth Forward’s Ethan Cain answered by winning an intense 1-0 decision over Burrell’s Cole Clark.

The Warriors were starting to gain momentum and the home crowd was getting loud as Burrell’s Ricky Feroce and Davontay Brownfield took the mat. As one of the seniors, Feroce said he knew the situation he was stepping into.

“I saw their momentum building up because it was kind of a controversial match,” Feroce said. “So I knew what I had to do for the team and that atmosphere helped motivate me to do better.”

Feroce pinned Brownfield and from there, the Bucs took off. Mike Scherer earned a pin at 220 in 1:14. Nikolas Ferra pinned Austin Wilson in 52 seconds. Shawn Szymanski pinned Donovan Woystek in 4:47.

Then, after Elizabeth Forward’s Ryan Michaels stopped the bleeding with a pin at 126 pounds, the Bucs rattled off five straight wins — a decision then four pins. Trent Valovchik earned a 7-1 decision at 126 and then Ian Oswalt (138), Simon Slahtovsky (145), Damian Barr (152) and AJ Corrado (160) all picked up bonus points.

“You count on those guys to get bonus points,” Shields said. “I tell them every match, ‘It’s simple, but it’s not simple.’ It comes down to who scores bonus points and who doesn’t and you expect guys like Ian Oswalt and AJ Corrado to score those bonus points and they did that tonight.”

Next week, the Bucs will head into the WPIAL Class AA team tournament looking to defend their title for another year. After beating a team like Elizabeth Forward, which is currently ranked third in the Trib HSSN Class AA team rankings, the Bucs got a little bit of a confidence boost.

“This only wants to make us push harder,” Feroce said. “We have a team this year and we are definitely going to try and do something.”

In the semifinals Wednesday at Elizabeth Forward, the Warriors defeated Highlands 57-20 by earning pins in eight of the 14 matches. Dakota Buchina (182), Ethan Cain (182), Davontay Brownfield (195), Nick Murphy (285), Donovan Woytsek (113), Dylan Bruce (120), Ryan Michaels (126), and Caden Brock (132) all won their matches via fall. Jrake Burford (132), Chase D’Angelo (152), Brock White (160) and Jeremiah Saunders all earned victories for the Golden Rams.

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

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