Burrell drops controversial match to Muncy at PIAA tournament; Kiski Area advances

Thursday, February 8, 2018 | 8:36 PM

HERSHEY — There have been times the Burrell wrestling team hasn't competed at a level expected of them by their coaches at the PIAA team tournament.

That wasn't the case Thursday at the Giant Center.

Burrell (11-6) wrestled well enough to win, but ended up on the short end of a 34-30 decision to Muncy (21-3) in the first round of the Class AA tournament. It was a controversial call that left Bucs coach Josh Shields and his wrestlers disappointed.

The controversial decision occurred in the 138-pound match between Burrell's Ethan Awes and Muncy's Ethan Gush. Awes was leading 5-0 after two periods and headed to a victory.

But the official working the match called Awes for a series of penalties, one for fleeing the mat (a technical violation resulting in a one-point penalty) and for stalling three times, the last coming at the buzzer, resulting in Gush winning 7-6.

Here's how the third period went: Gush escaped for one point and then was awarded a penalty point when Awes was called for a stalling a second time. Gush then got a takedown to make it 5-4. He gave Awes an escape and trailed 6-4, but Awes was called for fleeing the mat with a minute left to make it 6-5.

The two wrestlers continued their battle for the remainder of the bout, but just before the buzzer the official called Awes for stalling one more time, giving Gush two points and the win.

If Awes won and the results remained the same the rest of the way, Burrell would have won 33-31.

Shields had a heated conversation with the officials after the match and then approached again for a better explanation after he talked with his team.

“In a lot of dual meets, it comes down to one or two matches,” Shields said. “The 138 match is what it is. The bottom line is their studs came up with more bonus points than ours. We didn't fight hard enough to stay off our backs. They were able to score bonus points and we weren't.”

Each team had seven wins and three pins. The difference was Muncy got two technical falls and two decisions and Burrell had four decisions.

Burrell's pins were by Bryan Gaul (126 pounds), Shaun Gates (160) and Mason Slahtovsky (285). Ian Oswalt (120), Corey Christie (152), Austin Mele (182) and Richard Feroce (195) earned decisions.

“We did get a good effort from a lot of guys, especially up top,” Shields said. “We bumped some guys who were giving up a lot of weight. They held it down for us, and that's the type of effort I like to see.”

The Bucs will face Faith Christian (4-12) at 8 a.m. in the consolation bracket. A win would put them in another consolation match at 4 p.m.

“Our goal all season is to finish in the top four in the state,” Shields said. “We still can achieve that goal, but we must wrestle as a team.”

Kiski Area rolls on

Kiski Area found itself trailing Central Dauphin after six matches in the PIAA Class AAA team tournament Thursday.

But Kiski Area showed the District 3 third-place team why it captured a second consecutive WPIAL title a week ago.

Kiski (21-1) ripped off eight consecutive victories and erased a three-point deficit to roll to a 47-16 victory and advance to Friday's quarterfinals against reigning PIAA champion Nazareth.

Technical fall wins by Noah Levett (138) and Nick Delp (160) bookended pins by Cam Connor (145) and Jack Blumer (152) to change the momentum.

“It was a good start,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “We were looking forward to getting this thing going. I felt we wrestled well in the first round.

“I felt we wrestled well even where we lost. We wrestled well at 126 and 132. From the 138 and up, we showed what we are made of.”

Heavyweight Isaac Reid started things off for Kiski with a quick pin. Dom Giordano (113) and Darren Miller (120) picked up wins to give the Cavaliers a 13-6 lead.

“They have great balance,” Central Dauphin coach Jeff Sweigart said. “We felt we could steal a couple at 195 and 220. We had our work cut out, especially with their heavyweight back in the lineup.”

Now Kiski Area will focus on Nazareth.

“Our guys are out there to get the win first and bonus second,” Heater said. “We appreciate their efforts.

“It's going to be a hard-fought match on the mat. They have a lot of good guys. They're still the defending state champions.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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