Burrell wrestlers open WPIAL team tourney with 2 victories
Wednesday, February 1, 2023 | 10:10 PM
The WPIAL wrestling pairings committee slotted Burrell as the No. 3 seed for the WPIAL Class 2A tournament.
Junior Cooper Hornack said the Bucs used that to their advantage in the opening two rounds Wednesday at Burrell High School.
Burrell overwhelmed Knoch, 71-3, in the first round and topped Laurel, 39-19, in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals Saturday at Chartiers-Houston.
“Somebody might think that (No. 3 seed) might have stopped our confidence, but that really motivated us,” said Hornack, who scored a pin at 139 in the first round and a second pin at 133 against Laurel to improve his record to 24-5.
“We have Quaker Valley in the semifinals, and we want some revenge for last year. We’re going to be ready. We’re coming at them with all we’ve got.”
The No. 2 seed Quakers upped their season record to 14-4 and punched their tickets to the semifinals with a 42-36 win over Jefferson-Morgan and a 44-21 win over McGuffey in the quarterfinals.
Quaker Valley edged Burrell, 30-28, in last year’s championship match to snap the Bucs’ 15-year WPIAL title streak.
Burrell, the Section 6 champion, improved to 10-3 and will wrestle QV at noon. The other semifinal, also at noon, will feature top-seed Burgettstown against Frazier.
“It’s always that thought of taking it one match at a time,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “It really doesn’t matter what we did a week ago, two weeks ago, or two months ago. The time is now for these guys.
“They took care of business like we expected them to, and now we can focus on Saturday. Our next match is the most important match. We want to get back on top.”
Senior Niko Ferra authored the match-clinching victory for Burrell at 139, a pin of Laurel’s Noah Spencer in 1 minute.
The match started at 160, and two of the first three bouts featured both wrestlers situated in the Trib HSSN Class 2A top-five rankings.
Laurel’s Grant MacKay, No. 1 at 160, wrestled at 172 and used a combination of takedowns and nearfall points to score a 21-8 victory over Burrell’s Isaac Lacinski, ranked second at 172.
At 215, Burrell’s Luke Boylan (fourth, 215) used a second-period escape and three nearfall points in the third to close out a 4-0 victory over Laurel’s Chase Tintsman (third, 189).
The Spartans enjoyed their final lead of the match at 7-6 when Coltin Hill, ranked second at 285, edged Burrell’s Ian Quinn, 2-1, in overtime.
“They have some really tough kids in their lineup, especially up top, which helped them get to this point,” Shields said.
“We started with the meat of their lineup. We were able to get a couple of nice wins, and then were able to put it away.”
Cam Baker (107) and Julian Bertucci (121) won by forfeit, and Luca Rosa pinned Reid Ketzel at 114 to push Burrell into the lead at 24-7.
Nico Zanella closed out the match for Burrell at 160 with a 6-0 decision over William Moore.
“We didn’t make it easy for them,” Laurel coach Kevin Carmichael said. “We got the team ready, and the guys got themselves ready for this match. We explained to them that they were going to walk into a gym with a lot of banners, and they couldn’t be intimidated by that. We just had to go wrestle. The scoreboard didn’t reflect a win for us, but the guys went out and wrestled hard. From where this program was 10 years ago to where it is today, being here and getting this chance, it’s an absolute win for us.”
It didn’t take long for Burrell and Laurel to finish off their first-round opponents.
The Bucs used six pins, five forfeits and a technical fall to defeat Knoch in 34 minutes.
Laurel parlayed four pins, seven forfeits and a decision in a 57-12 victory over Central Valley that took just 24 minutes to complete.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
Tags: Burrell, Central Valley, Knoch, Laurel
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