Burrell’s Cooper Hornack earns All-American status

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021 | 6:40 PM


In his first season of high school wrestling, Burrell freshman Cooper Hornack made a name for himself by winning a WPIAL Class AA 106-pound title and making a run to the PIAA finals.

His success didn’t stop there.

This past weekend, Hornack traveled to Virginia Beach with Burrell teammates Shawn Szymanski and Niko Ferra and came home as an All-American at 113 pounds. Between Friday and Sunday, Hornack went 7-2, racked up six decision victories and a pin to place seventh at the 2021 NHSCA High School Nationals.

“I’ve gained a few pounds since the season, but it was pretty cool going against all of that competition,” Hornack said. “It was a step up from what I’m used to.”

Hornack battled with his back against the wall all weekend long, too. He lost his first and only match of the day on Friday, falling to Brycen Arbogast from Virginia by a 4-0 decision. From then on, it was win or go home for Hornack, and the talented Burrell freshman showed what he was capable of.

To start his day on Saturday, Hornack pinned Cole Reisen from Wyoming in the first period and then won five straight matches via decision.

“I had to come back at 7:45 the next morning, and it was like six straight matches, back-to-back-to-back, like 15-minute break in between. It was rough,” Hornack said. “But I was able to do it, and it just showed how good my conditioning was and that I’m always there to battle and I’m not going to give up as long as I’m on the mat.”

In Hornack’s blood-round match against Jake Hammer from Wyoming, he earned an escape with 36 seconds left in the match to take a 1-0 victory. Getting out from the bottom is something that Hornack said he wants to work on leading into his sophomore year.

“The kid was pretty tall. He was taller than me, really lengthy, and it was my sixth match. My body was tired, I was aching, and I couldn’t get off bottom,” Hornack said. “But in that third period, he picked top again, so I was on bottom two periods in a row. I was able to work out of it, though. That was probably my most physical match.”

Hornack’s Saturday ended with a 5-0 loss to Bethel Park’s Mason Kernan, who took advantage of takedowns in the first and second period along with a second-period escape. Hornack bounced back on Sunday and earned his seventh-place finish, and All-American status, with a 7-5 decision against Terry Langley Jr. from Ohio.

Hornack said he wanted to finish better than what he did, but he was proud of how he wrestled. The tournament also gave him a good indication of where he stands heading into the offseason as he ramps his training back up.

“I felt like I did pretty good, but I wasn’t training like I had been during the season, so I kind of just wanted to see where I was,” Hornack said. “I was happy with what I did. Everyone there was good, and my first match I kind of got surprised by how good the competition was and I had to battle my way back, but I definitely saw some things I need to work on.”

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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