Burrell ends drought, wins WPIAL Class 2A wrestling title

Saturday, February 3, 2024 | 6:55 PM

The drought is over.

The WPIAL Class 2A wrestling title is headed back to Burrell after a two-year absence.

Burrell claimed its 18th team title Saturday at Peters Township’s AHN Arena by defeating 2023 champion Burgettstown, 41-20, in the finals. The Bucs decked Quaker Valley, 44-17, in the semifinals.

Burrell (14-2) had a 15-year streak snapped in 2022 by Quaker Valley in the finals and fell to Burgettstown last year in the finals.

This year, the Bucs got revenge for those defeats by dominating both matches.

In both matches they raced out to huge leads.

Against Quaker Valley, the Bucs led 21-0. Against Burgettstown, they built a 23-3 lead.

A big key for Burrell was getting junior Isaac Lacinski back into the lineup. He’d been out since the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament Jan. 6. He returned in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Lacinski recorded two pins for the Bucs.

“It’s good to be back on top, no doubt,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “It seemed like a long time, but we knew where the trophy is going.

“It was a great team effort. We’re a pretty solid team. We really don’t have many holes. We came out and executed. Isaac is one of our best kids and a true team player. Even though he’s an underclassmen, he has a leadership role on our team. Getting him back helps in all aspects of our training.”

Luke Boylan gave Burrell a 4-0 lead in the first match of the day at 215 pounds.

Freshman Ayden Kun then gave the Bucs a boost when he only dropped an 8-5 decision to Burgettstown heavyweight Joseph Baronick. Burgettstown coach Joe Vigliotti was hoping for bonus points in the match but didn’t get any.

“They’re a solid team,” Vigliotti said. “We were playing catch up, and that’s Class 2A dual meet wrestling. We battled. We don’t pull kids from clubs. We don’t pull kids from other schools. We’re a home grown team, and we’re proud of it. We gave max effort.”

After Kun’s effort, the Bucs took over by winning the next four bouts. They got a pin from Cam Baker (107), a technical fall from Carter Thomas (114), a pin by Luca Rosa (121) and a 4-3 decision by Julian Bertucci (127). Bertucci defeated Dylan Slovick.

“Julian got the big win for us,” Burrell senior Cooper Hornack said. “That match was back-and-forth, and it was a tossup match and we got it. It gave us the momentum. We were able to get the lead and keep it.”

Burgettstown pulled to within 23-14 when Parker Sentipal (133) got a pin and Gaven Suica (139) a technical fall, but Hornack’s pin ended that run at 145. Calio Zanella followed with a win making it 32-14.

“We lost the past two years, but we worked our butts off,” Hornack said. “We knew coming in we were going to win. Losing two titles in a row hurt, but it made us work harder in practice. Coach told us that we’d win the WPIAL title.”

For reaching the finals, Burrell and Burgettstown earned trips to Hershey on Thursday for the PIAA team championship. Burgettstown reached the finals by defeating Mt. Pleasant, 55-17.

Quaker Valley grabbed third place by defeating Mt. Pleasant, 42-28. For Quaker Valley and Mt. Pleasant to join them, they must win first-round matches Monday.

Quaker Valley faces the District 6 runner-up (either Bishop McCort or Bald Eagle Area), and Mt. Pleasant gets the District 10 runner-up (either Reynolds or Fort LeBoeuf).

The Vikings were hampered by giving up four forfeits.

“We had a couple wrestlers not make weight and a couple who are injured,” Mt. Pleasant coach Tom Dolde Jr. said. “We had some kids that were selfish and others who sacrificed. Hopefully we’ll learn from this.”

Sophomore heavyweight Dylan Pitzer and seniors Jamison Poklembo (145) and Greg Shaulis (152) each won two matches. One of Pitzer’s wins was a 6-0 victory against Burgettstown senior Joe Baronick.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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