Burrell takes down Burgettstown to capture 15th straight WPIAL Class AA wrestling title

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Saturday, February 13, 2021 | 2:20 PM


It didn’t take long for the Burrell wrestling team to let Burgettstown know what was in store for it during the WPIAL Class AA team championship Saturday at Canon-McMillan.

No. 1 Burrell (13-1) used a quick start, winning its first six matches, and rolled to a 38-18 victory for its 15th-consecutive WPIAL title. Burrell has won 45 consecutive matches in the WPIAL playoffs.

The Bucs did to the Blue Devils (13-1) what they’ve done throughout the championship streak: have someone unexpected become the hero of the match.

Junior Damien Barr became that wrestler.

The match started at 138 pounds with senior Aaron Edwards rallying from a 3-0 deficit for an 11-5 victory. Edwards scored nine points in the second period.

Senior Ian Oswalt followed at 145 and won a 12-1 major decision against Anthony Lancos for a 7-0 lead.

“It was a complete team effort,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “We were hoping to score a few more points in the first two matches, but things didn’t go our way. But it was a big win for us at 152. That was a swing match, and we ended up getting the fall.”

At 152, Barr got a late reversal in the first period to tie the score and was in the top position to begin the second period. He was able to catch D.J. Slovick in a guillotine and pin him.

Suddenly, Burrell was up 13-0 and in control.

“All coach asked me to do was wrestle my match,” Barr said. “I was doing what I usually do, working my moves. I was setting up my guillotine when I was on top. I always run it. It’s my go-to move.”

The Burrell momentum carried through the next three bouts: a 10-5 win by Simon Slahtovsky at 160 and pins by Colby Christie (172) and AJ Corrado (189). That put the Bucs up 28-0.

“I’m proud of my kids getting back to the WPIAL finals,” Burgettstown coach Joey Vigliotti said. “It’s good to see them not happy with their performance.

“We have six freshmen starters, and we’re graduating two. I’ll be back.”

Both coaches liked the starting spot of the match.

Vigliotti called it the perfect spot because it gave him choices at 126 and 132.

“What everybody says, Burrell is Burrell,” Vigliotti said. “Everything has to fall into place to beat them. You hear a lot of people talk about why they don’t go Class AAA. That’s complete nonsense. Burrell makes every other Class AA team better. They set the standard for Class AA. You want to win a WPIAL title, you have to get better.”

Burgettstown won three of the next four matches to close to within 31-15. Burrell’s win in that stretch was a 6-0 decision by Cooper Hornack against Parker Sentipal at 106.

The Blue Devils got a pin from Shane Kemper at 215, a 5-0 win by Joey Baronick at heavyweight and a forfeit to Dylan Slovick at 113.

Burrell’s Nicholas Ferra clinched the title with a 4-3 win in ultimate tiebreaker against Gaven Suica on a penalty point.

Suica was called for his third false start of the match in the final period.

“Everyone is special. Everyone is unique, and I’m just the lucky guy to be the head coach of this team,” Shields said. “We made some moves. We moved A.J. up from 172, and they anticipated that by moving their guy up. Colby and A.J. got big pins for us.”

Burrell ended up winning nine of the 13 bouts. Nick Salerno closed out the match with a major decision win against Rudy Brown.

“We went out and handled our business,” Corrado said. “Now we’re pretty prepared for the postseason.

“We have a brotherhood in the wrestling room at Burrell. We grind things out. It was a great pin by Damien, one that wasn’t expected.”

The last team to defeat Burrell was Mt. Pleasant, 32-27, in the 2006 finals.

Check out an archived video stream of the championship on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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