Burrell wrestling tops Chestnut Ridge in thriller to advance to PIAA semifinals

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 | 9:09 PM

The Burrell wrestling team has been looking to get the better of Chestnut Ridge since 2014. On Wednesday night, with a trip to the PIAA Class AA semifinals on the line, the Bucs got the job done in a way that no one would’ve guessed.

Heading into the 215-pound match between Burrell’s Cole Clark and Chestnut Ridge’s Baltzer Bollman, the Bucs trailed by six points with three matches remaining. They were in need of a big win.

Clark delivered.

With one second left in the first period, Clark pinned Bollman for the second time this season, which tied the match at 25. Each team forfeited one of the remaining two matches, and Burrell was awarded the victory, 32-31, based on tiebreaker criteria D, which is most matches won including forfeits.

The Bucs won seven matches and the Lions won six.

“It’s unbelievable. You can’t imagine these things,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “Never in 100-plus matchups I did with us and Chestnut Ridge did I see it coming down to 31-31 and Cole Clark getting a pin to win the match. That’s why you wrestle, though. It was a great team effort from top to bottom. The kids never gave up.”

Clark countered a move by Bollman to get him to his back right next to the Burrell bench and finished him off from there.

“It all happened in the blink of an eye,” Clark said.

Nicholas Salerno (132), Aaron Edwards (145) and Damian Barr (152 won via decision. Ian Oswalt (145) picked up a major decision, Cooper Hornack (106) accepted a forfeit, and AJ Corrado (172) and Cole Clark (215) won by fall.

With their win, the Bucs secured their first top-four PIAA finish since 2014 and punched their ticket to Cumberland Valley, where they will wrestle District 10 champion Reynolds at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Making it this far is something that the Bucs have been shooting for, and Corrado, a senior, said it felt great to finally accomplish it, especially after the Lions had knocked them out of the PIAA tournament the past two seasons.

“We have eight seniors on this team and a lot of them never got a state medal,” Corrado said. “We’ve been in the room working, so this is really for them. Me and Oswalt have gotten our medals, and we’re seniors, and we’re pushing the whole team, and then they are pushing everyone because they know that’s what we need to get everyone a state medal.”

Before Clark’s heroics, the Bucs had to battle back from a 13-point deficit. Chestnut Ridge started off the match with a forfeit victory, an 8-0 major decision by Calan Bollman (120) and a 9-7 sudden victory decision by Ross Dull (126) to take the early lead.

The Bucs answered by winning the next four matches, and junior Damian Barr had one of the biggest victories of the night for Burrell. The 152-pounder squeaked out a 5-4 decision over Chestnut Ridge’s Luke Moore thanks to a third-period escape.

“To come out and push the pace and win by a point, that was huge,” Shields said. “Obviously, every match counted during this dual and every point counted, which are so critical in these dual meets, in terms of getting majors and getting tech falls because this match came down to criteria, and it’s going to be the same way on Saturday.”

Earlier this year, when Burrell and Chestnut Ridge faced off at the Ultimate Duals at Brookville, Moore earned a 20-9 major decision over Barr. So, Wednesday’s victory by Barr was a match that swung the momentum.

A pin by Corrado was sandwiched by two Chestnut Ridge pins from Trevor Weyandt (160) and Daniel Moore (189) to push the score to 25-19. That was when Clark stepped in. The junior had pinned Bollman during their match earlier in the year, so heading into the match, he was confident.

“I knew there was a lot at stake,” Clark said, “so I just wanted to kind of start off a little slow and not do anything stupid.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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