5 WPIAL wrestlers headed to Hershey with Class AA Super Regional titles

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Saturday, March 6, 2021 | 9:23 PM


AJ Corrado did something Saturday at IUP’s Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex no other Burrell wrestler has done.

He also hopes he is the only one to do it.

With a 3-2 ultimate tiebreaker decision over Johnsonburg’s Cole Casilio in the PIAA Class AA West Super Regional 160-pound championship, Corrado became the first super regional champion in Burrell history.

“Hopefully, they move on from this, and covid is a thing in the past by next year,” Corrado said about being the first and possibly only super regional champion in program history.

Corrado won his first two matches of the day by 3-1 decisions: one in regulation and on in sudden victory. His championship match against Casilio was much of the same.

The wrestlers traded escapes in the second and third periods and went into overtime tied 1-1. The fifth and sixth periods were the same until Corrado recorded an escape in the seventh period to lock up the match.

It seemed like Corrado was being conservative at times throughout the match, but he said his opponent’s approach didn’t allow him to open up much.

“I feel like a lot of the kids I wrestled today were so stiff and were in a box kind of, so it was hard to get in on my offense,” he said. “But, that’s the kind of stuff I need to work on because not every kid is just gonna be flying and attacking to open up my re-attack’s and stuff like that.”

Corrado will take a 31-0 record into the state tournament next weekend, but he still feels like there are areas to improve.

“I’m still looking a little sloppy on some stuff, and there’s some stuff we need to work on for next week,” Corrado said. “But all these extra tournaments are just more time to prepare and get ready for states.”

Corrado’s teammates, Cooper Hornack (106) and Ian Oswalt (138), finished second in their respective weight classes but still qualified for states. Knoch’s Eli Reese (215) became the second wrestler in school history to qualify for the state tournament and the first to place.

Mt. Pleasant’s Dayton Pitzer continued his strong junior season, pinning all three of his opponents, including a 33-second pin of Parker Moore from Philipsburg Osceola.

“It feels great, and I’m excited for next weekend,” Pitzer said. “It’s going to be fun.

South Park’s Joey Fischer was another WPIAL wrestler who left IUP with a super regional title. The three-time WPIAL champion captured his third southwest regional title last weekend.

“All the postseason stuff before states are just a stepping stone to a bigger goal,” Fischer said. “But me and my coach we’re talking about it before this, and they said, ‘You know when you win this, you are going to be the school’s first-ever super regional champ,’ so I thought that was pretty cool.”

With a first-period takedown and a second-period escape, Fischer earned a 3-0 decision over Hickory’s Connor Saylor. But now he has his sights set on bigger things.

Earlier this week, Fischer tweeted out would be a PIAA champion this year, and he has his mind on capturing his first state title.

“I’m big on self-confidence and me and my coaches preach that, self-belief ya know?” Fischer said. “If you don’t think that you are going to go out there and win, you already lost the battle. So, I’m big on my faith in God, faith in myself. Speaking things into the universe and manifesting them is big, and I tell myself multiple times a day that I’m gonna end up on top.”

Laurel’s Grant Mackay captured the 152-pound title with a dominant 17-6 major decision over Connor Yoder from North Starr.

Frazier 172-pounder Rune Lawrence continued his exceptional freshman season with a super regional title. He bounced back from a 4-0 first-period to capture a 9-4 sudden-victory decision over Malachi Duvall from Penns Valley.

Bentworth’s Chris Vargo (113), Beth-Center’s Kyle McCollum (132) Carlynton’s Oleg Melnyk (160), and McGuffey’s Ethan Barr (172), all earned state tournament berths after qualifying through the consolation bracket.

Blackhawk’s Kenny Duschek and Freedom’s Trent Schultheis advanced to the state tournament after finishing as runners-up in their weight class.

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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