Burrell wrestling coach not disappointed with team’s effort at PIAAs

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Friday, February 11, 2022 | 7:46 PM


HERSHEY — Burrell wrestling coach Josh Shields walked away from the PIAA Class 2A team championship with mixed emotions.

While he was disappointed his team was eliminated after a 33-19 loss to Boiling Springs, he was pleased the team reached the tournament and won a match.

“I’m upset about losing, but, at the end of the day, if you would have told me back in November that this team would have made it to the Giant Center and won a match, I would have told you I would have been happy with that result,” Shields said, “I’m going to rest my hat on that.”

Burrell lost a hard-fought match to Bishop McDevitt on Thursday, then battled back Friday morning to defeat Corry Area, 31-26, at Giant Center.

The Bucs flipped the script against Corry. Against Bishop McDevitt, Burrell lost a number of close matches, but against Corry, the tight bouts went the Bucs’ way.

They won eight matches, including pins by Isaac Lacinski (145) and Nico Zanella (160). The close wins were by Cooper Hornack (120), Niko Ferra (138), Damian Barr (172) and Cole Clark (189). Shawn Szymanski (152) won by a major decision.

Against Boiling Springs, the Bucs allowed three pins, a major decision and a technical fall. They got their only bonus points on two major decisions.

“It was a good experience,” Shields said. “We have a really young team, only four seniors. We have a big freshman and sophomore class.

“It was a really good experience for them. The guys really made progress all year long. I always set goals for myself as a coach. The goal this year was to win another WPIAL championship and come here and represent and to wrestle hard.”

And Shields said he hopes the young wrestlers got a good taste of what the state tournament is about and they come back stronger for the individual tournaments next month.

“These team competitions prepare these guys for the end of the year,” Shields said. “When you look at our schedule, we’re always wrestling individual tournaments.

“Our schedule is focused on preparing guys for the individual postseason. That’s what I’ve always been about and the guys before me were all about. I’d rather have 14 state champions than one state team championship.”

Shields said he doesn’t feel anyone has wrestled a tougher schedule than his team. He feels they’re prepared.

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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