Burrell wrestling team comes up short of PIAA goal

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Saturday, February 8, 2020 | 6:35 PM


HERSHEY — Burrell wrestling coach Josh Shields gave his team a stern message after it fell one step shy of its goal in the PIAA team championship Saturday at the Giant Center.

While he was pleased with the Bucs’ effort, he didn’t like losing in the same round and against the same team, Chestnut Ridge, as last season.

Burrell has won 14 consecutive WPIAL Class AA championships but only one state title (2008) during that span.

“I want to put medals around your necks,” Shields told his wrestlers. “I’m tired of coming up short.”

The Bucs’ goal was to finish in the top four.

Burrell (13-7) opened Saturday with a 35-29 victory against District 3 champion Hamburg.

But it lost to District 5 champion Chestnut Ridge in the consolations, a round away from competing for third place. Chestnut Ridge, which won the toss, claimed the first eight matches en route to a 44-10 victory.

“We knew the match would be an uphill battle,” Shields said. “We moved some guys and tried to find seven wins. Sometimes moves don’t go your way. We were in position. We lost the first bout in overtime, and we lost the coin flip.

“Chestnut Ridge is a very good team. They put it to us earlier in the year.”

Chestnut Ridge defeated Burrell, 46-19, at the Brookville Ultimate Duals last month.

Ian Oswalt won a decision in overtime at 132 pounds, AJ Corrado won a major at 160 and Cole Clark rallied for a pin in overtime at 182.

Burrell looked sharp in defeating Hamburg.

The Bucs got pins from Nico Ferra (106 pounds), Trent Valovchik (126) and Corrado (152) and bonus points from Nick Salerno (120) and Oswalt (132) with major-decision wins.

Burrell returns the majority of its starting lineup. The Bucs are losing five seniors: Valovchik, Noah Linderman, Dominic Holmes, Ricky Feroce and Mike Scherer.

Shields said a nice group of eighth graders will be moving up, but he has to find some big wrestlers. The Bucs forfeited heavyweight most of the season.

“The team has to commit to practicing some in the summer to get better,” Shields said. “We can’t wait until January when we can start in June.”

The season isn’t over as the individual tournament begins Friday at Canon-McMillan.

The big thing for the Bucs is getting healthy. Shields said some of the wrestlers are battling illness.

Reynolds won its fourth consecutive state title, defeating Southern Columbia, 34-27. Chestnut Ridge took third by defeating Saucon Valley, 36-31.

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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