Burrell, Valley wrestlers to compete in Saturday’s PIAA Class AA medal rounds
Friday, March 8, 2019 | 11:50 PM
HERSHEY — There won’t be a golden ticket in Chocolate Town for Burrell or Valley wrestlers, but they will come home from Pennsylvania’s biggest high school wrestling tournament with a consolation prize.
The four PIAA Class AA championship qualifiers from the Alle-Kiski Valley — Valley senior Noah Hutcherson and Burrell sophomores A.J. Corrado and Ian Oswalt and senior Austin Mele — will leave Hershey on Saturday with medals they earned with their performances on the first two days of the three-day tournament.
Hutcherson and Oswalt will wrestle for fifth place at 170 and 120 pounds, respectively, after dropping matches Friday night in the championship and consolation semifinals. Corrado will wrestle for fifth place at 138 and Mele will wrestle for seventh place at 160 after battling through the consolation bracket all day Friday.
“There’s no easy matches in this tournament at all,” Hutcherson said. “Everybody that’s up here, they earned it.”
The second day of the tournament carried highs and lows for all four competitors from Burrell and Valley.
In his debut performance at the PIAA championships, Hutcherson continued his underdog run through the 170-pound bracket in Friday morning’s quarterfinals by beating Kutztown’s Tyler Fisher, 10-4. That set up a semifinal matchup with top-seeded Jared McGill, who beat Hutcherson last month at the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regionals and did so again Friday by technical fall.
Hutcherson battled Athens’ David Galasso in the consolation semifinals and lost a tight match, 8-7, on a late takedown.
“My body was real fatigued from that (McGill) match,” Hutcherson said, “but that’s no excuse. It’s pretty hard.”
Oswalt, who finished fourth in the state as a freshman, made it into the semifinals after pinning Titusville’s Hunter Thompson in the quarterfinals. There he ran into Notre Dame-Green Pond’s Ryan Crookham, one of the top-rated freshmen in the country. The two battled into overtime, where Crookham prevailed 3-1 after getting a reversal in the second tiebreaker period.
The semifinal loss dropped Oswalt into the consolation semifinals, where he battled Bishop McDevitt’s Nate Smith and fell by a 4-3 decision.
“That 120 bracket, it’s a tough bracket, a loaded bracket,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “You wrestle it a few different times, you’ll get a different result every time.”
Corrado and Mele lost in the Round of 16 on Thursday but earned their medals with last-second victories in the third-round consolations Friday.
Corrado, who finished seventh at the 2018 PIAA tournament, got a winning takedown with two seconds remaining against Midd-West’s Avery Bassett, sending Shields jumping for joy and pumping his fist in the coaching corner.
The sophomore followed it Friday night with a 4-0 decision over Saucon Valley’s Thomas Spirk in the fourth-round consolations before falling by major decision to Forest Hills’ Erik Gibson in the consolation semifinals, setting him up for Saturday’s fifth-place match.
Mele earned a medal after a pair of narrow 3-2 victories in the consolation bracket. He beat Muncy’s Ty Nixon first, getting the go-ahead takedown with 10 seconds remaining, then beat Notre Dame-Green Pond’s Derek Berlitz on a takedown with 13 seconds remaining.
“They were crazy,” Mele said. “I don’t like being in those situations.”
After getting pinned by Portage’s Cole Sossong in fourth-round consolations, Mele will compete for seventh place Saturday.
The Class AA tournament will conclude at 2 p.m. Saturday with the championship finals and the matches for third, fifth and seventh place in each weight class.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, [email protected] or via Twitter .