Teams to watch in WPIAL Class AA wrestling this season

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | 5:32 PM

Preseason top 10 WPIAL Class AA wrestling teams:

No. 1 — Burrell

Burrell has won 14 consecutive Class AA titles, and it doesn’t look like the streak will end very soon.

The Bucs return eight starters, which includes four PIAA qualifiers.

Two of those qualifiers, seniors Ian Oswalt (132) and AJ Corrado (152), placed second in the state. The other qualifiers were sophomore Nikolas Ferra (106) and junior Nick Salerno (120).

Also returning are junior Shawn Szymanski (113), junior Aaron Edwards (120), sophomore Logan Bechtold (138) and junior Cole Clark (170).

No. 2 — Freedom

Freedom returns PIAA placewinning senior Trent Schultheis (170, fourth). Another placewinner, senior Kenny Duschek, who took third at 138 pounds, is back at his home district school — Blackhawk. Freedom had a co-op with Quigley, but Quigley closed, leaving Duschek without a school.

The Bulldogs return nine starters.

No. 3 — Quaker Valley

Quaker Valley returns 11 starters including PIAA placewinning junior Patrick Cutchember (182, seventh).

Also back is senior Conner Redinger, a previous PIAA placewinner who got eliminated in the Southwest Regional last season. Look for Redinger to come back strong. He’s a two-time WPIAL champion with a 107-20 record.

No. 4 — Mt. Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant could be the surprise team in Class AA.

The Vikings return nine starters, including 2019 PIAA champion junior Dayton Pitzer (182). Pitzer, 43-1 as a freshman, missed his sophomore season while recovering from knee surgery.

Also back is PIAA qualifier junior Luke Geibig (113). Junior Noah Gnibus (138) and senior Ian Fasano (220) also return.

No. 5 — Burgettstown

Burgettstown returns 10 starters from a team that was runner-up to Burrell.

Back are PIAA qualifiers sophomore Joey Sentipal (120), senior Shane Kemper (152, sixth) and junior D.J. Slovick (170). Kemper was one of the top pinners in 2019-20.

No. 6 — Elizabeth Forward

Elizabeth Forward returns nine starters including junior Dylan Bruce (126), a PIAA qualifier. Another key starter is junior heavyweight Nick Murphy, who couldn’t wrestle in the Southwest Regional because of an injury.

No. 7 — McGuffey

McGuffey returns 12 starters including PIAA qualifiers in senior Nate Yagla (132) and Ethan Barr (160). Also back is WPIAL champion senior Rocco Ferraro (145).

No. 8 — Laurel

Laurel returns two PIAA qualifiers, sophomore Colin Bartley (106 pounds) and senior heavyweight Mitch Miles, and added a third PIAA Class AAA qualifier from North Allegheny, sophomore Grant MacKay. Miles is a returning WPIAL champion.

The Spartans bring back 11 starters, eight who were freshmen.

No. 9 — Derry

Derry returns 10 starters including PIAA placewinning senior Tyler Cymmerman (126, sixth). Cymmerman is a three-time WPIAL champion. Also back is Southwest Regional qualifier junior Brayden Mickinac (195).

No. 10 (tie) — Beth-Center

Beth-Center returns seven starters including Southwest Regional qualifiers junior Kyle McCollum (120), junior Tyler Fisher (126), sophomore Tyler Berish (132) and junior Trevor Pettit (145).

No. 10 (tie) — Southmoreland

Southmoreland returns 10 starters, including PIAA Southwest Regional qualifier junior Anthony Govern (182).

Four returning wrestlers had more than 21 victories.

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

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