Burrell wrestling dominates Beth-Center, advances to WPIAL team semifinals
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | 11:26 PM
The Burrell wrestling team left no doubt it was ready to defend its WPIAL Class AA team championship as it kicked off this year’s tournament in dominant fashion on its home mat Wednesday.
The top-seeded Bucs, in pursuit of their 14th straight WPIAL crown, won 11 of 14 bouts in their quarterfinal with No. 9 Beth-Center. Seven of the victories came by fall in a 58-15 victory.
“It was a really good win for us,” said Burrell 195-pound senior Ricky Feroce, who won by pin in 1 minute, 30 seconds.
“We were well prepared and knew what we had to do. From 106 up, we got the job done.”
Burrell moved into the semifinals Saturday at Chartiers-Houston and will face No. 4 Quaker Valley at noon.
Burgettstown, the No. 2 seed, and No. 3 McGuffey will meet in the other semifinal, and the winners will wrestle for the title at 2.
“Each and every team from here on out is going to get a little tougher,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “We’ve got to clean up some things, and there are some things we have to focus on with technique. We’re in a prime position to repeat as WPIAL champions, but it’s not going to be easy. Quaker Valley has some studs. That will be a very challenging first match.”
Burrell earned a bye into Wednesday’s quarterfinals, while Beth-Center advanced past the first round with a 34-31 come-from-behind win over No. 8 Southmoreland.
The Bulldogs finished their season 9-6.
“We knew our backs were up against the wall,” Beth-Center coach Gary Welsh said.
“We saw that as soon as the WPIAL bracket came out. But our boys came out and battled. We knew what to expect from Burrell. Coach Shields and his staff do an amazing job each year. The product is what it is. There were some matches where we held our own and battled, but it’s just a different kind of animal.”
Beth-Center sophomore Trevor Pettit, No. 2 at 145 in this week’s TribHSSN Class AA rankings, opened the match with a 7-2 decision over Simon Slahyovsky.
It was all Burrell after that.
The Bucs took the lead for good as the Bulldogs forfeited the 152-pound match to AJ Corrado. Burrell then won 11 matches in a row, starting with a five-bout pin streak from 160 to 220.
Noah Linderman wasted no time with a 45-second fall at 160. Dom Holmes (171), Cole Clark (182) and Mikey Scherer (220) joined Linderman and Feroce in picking up six points as Burrell led 36-3.
Nico Ferra’s 11-2 major decision at 106 clinched the win for the Bucs.
“In the past, we sort of wrestled down to the talent level of the other team, but tonight, we wrestled a Burrell-type match,” Shields said. “We were aggressive and pushed the pace.”
The Bucs didn’t slow down after Ferra’s clinching win. Sean Szymanski pinned Joey Holmes in a matchup of wrestlers in the Trib top five at 113.
At 120, Nick Salerno scored a 4-0 decision over Kyle McCollum. Both are ranked in the Trib top five.
“That was a good win for Nick,” Shields said. “(McCollum) is a tough kid who has a good chance at qualifying for states.”
Trent Valovchik scored a 7-0 decision over Tyler Fisher at 126, and Ian Oswalt pinned Tyler Berish in 1:21 at 132 to cap the scoring for the Bucs.
“Ian beat his kid last week 11-3 (at the Bedford Tournament), so to get that pin in the first period, that’s what we expect from our leader,” Shields said. “He went out there and delivered.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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