Burrell’s Hornack following game plan at state tournament

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Thursday, March 10, 2022 | 9:41 PM


HERSHEY – Burrell sophomore Cooper Hornack said he would like to follow the same game plan this weekend that he used in reaching the 106-pound finals in the 2021 PIAA Class 2A Wrestling Championships.

He’s off to a good start.

Hornack started the first day of the 2022 tournament at the Giant Center on Thursday with a first-round pin of Archbishop Ryan senior Sean O’Toole at 120 pounds.

The win advanced Hornack to the quarterfinals Friday morning against No. 1 seed and returning 113-pound champion Jaden Pepe of Wyoming Area.

“The goal is to win it all,” Hornack said after his dominating win. “That’s been my goal since I lost here last year. I can’t get it out of my head. It motivates me.”

The fact that Hornack made it to the finals in 2021, defeating West Branch’s Landon Bainey in the semifinals, gives him added confidence.

“I figure I did it once, I can do it again,” Hornack said. “I just have to go, go, go. You have to put everything on the line.”

The Bucs had four other wrestlers competing in the tournament.

Seniors Shawn Szymanski (145) and Damian Barr (160) won their preliminary matches but dropped their first-round bouts to fall into the consolation second round Friday morning.

Szymanski (33-10) pinned Reynolds senior Camren Klenke in 4:46 but fell to Faith Christian Academy senior Eric Alderfer, 11-4. Alderfer is seeded No. 2.

Szymanski will face Canton junior Hayden Ward in the consolations.

Barr (23-10) started his day with a 4-3 victory against Towanda senior Bryant Green. He fell to Notre Dame-Green Pond junior Holden Garcia.

He’ll face Conneaut Area junior Collin Hearn.

It wasn’t such a good day for junior Niko Ferra (34-20) and senior Cole Clark (34-17). Both went 0-2.

The WPIAL brought 38 wrestlers to the Class 2A tournament and 15 advanced to the quarterfinals.

In Class 3A, meanwhile, Kiski Area senior Enzo Morlacci recently announced that he won’t be wrestling in college to pursue a film career, so he’s making sure ends his high school career in style.

Morlacci (34-6) won two matches Thursday and advanced to the quarterfinals at 2:15 p.m. Friday.

He pinned Central York junior Macon Myers in the preliminary round and then stunned fourth seed Kyler Everly of Mifflin County, 2-1, in the first round at 160 pounds.

He’ll face Nazareth senior Ryan Fairchild (34-8).

Kiski Area senior heavyweight Stone Joseph seemed to battle a left shoulder issue in his match against Williamsport senior Charles Crews, which hampered his ability to hand fight, and he was eventually pinned. He then dropped a 3-1 decision to Butler senior Jake Pomykata, 3-1, to bow out of the tournament.

Highlands senior Jrake Burford dropped into the consolation round, falling in overtime to Boyertown senior Chance Babb, 6-3. He opened the tournament with a 34-second pin of Abington Heights senior Austin Smith. He’ll wrestle in the second round of consolations.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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