Burrell duo heads to Hershey with one job left to do

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 | 7:48 PM

Three Burrell wrestlers and Knoch’s Eli Reese are heading to Hershey on Friday for the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling tournament, and they’re all hoping to come home with a gold medal around their neck.

A year ago, Burrell seniors AJ Corrado and Ian Oswalt came home with runner-up finishes and have been working toward this time of the year all season long. Between them, they’ve won two WPIAL championships and 52 matches this season. Now, they are both looking to finally get over the hump and capture a state title.

Corrado, who won the 160-pound Class AA West Super Regional title this past weekend at IUP, said he was looking to take advantage of this week to clean up some details heading into his final state tournament.

“I’m still looking a little sloppy on some stuff, and there’s still some stuff that I still need to work on,” Corrado said. “But all these extra tournaments have just been extra time to prepare for the state tournament, so it’s helped.”

Corrado was awarded the No. 2 seed in the 160-pound bracket. Oswalt, who finished as the Super Region runner-up this past weekend, was given the No. 5 seed.

While Corrado and Oswalt are savvy veterans, Burrell freshman Cooper Hornack is going to be experiencing it all for the first time.

With a record of 26-2, Hornack captured his first WPIAL title earlier this season and also won a Southwest Regional title two weeks ago. He said he’s feeling prepared heading into states.

“I’m feeling really fresh, and my body feels really great,” Hornack said. “But I still have some things to work on, and hopefully I can just stay ready for this weekend.”

At the Super Region tournament, Hornack suffered just the second loss of his season in an exciting 1-0 match against Saegertown’s Hunter Robison. The wrestlers went back and forth for three periods, and Robison’s escape in the second was the ultimate decider.

For Hornack, the goal is never to lose, but in this situation, as the wiry freshman prepares for his first state tournament appearance, he thought it helped him.

“I definitely saw some of my weak spots, and I didn’t wrestle that good during that match,” Hornack said. “So, I’m working on what I did wrong and what I can fix up for this weekend. I’m just going to keep wrestling the way I’ve been wrestling, but I’m going to touch up certain positions that I struggled with during that match.”

A multitude of successful wrestlers have come through the Burrell program over the years, and after a standout freshman year, Hornack looks to be the next one.

Just like Oswalt, Hornack is the No. 5 seed entering the state tournament this weekend and will face off with Montoursville’s Branden Wentzel in the first round.

Hornack isn’t the only state tournament newcomer from the A-K Valley. Reese is heading to the state tournament for the first time as well. The 215-pounder from Knoch placed fourth at the Super Region tournament and third at the Southwest Regionals.

Reese is just the second wrestler in program history to qualify for the state tournament. Guy Deleonardis was the first last season.

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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