Burrell’s Ian Oswalt more motivated than ever heading into PIAA tournament
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | 5:45 PM
Ian Oswalt already has placed himself among some of the best wrestlers who have been part of the prestigious Burrell program.
He is a three-time WPIAL Class AA champion, he has more than 130 wins and two weekends ago he fell just short of winning his second Southwest Regional title.
Most would call that a pretty successful high school career, but Oswalt isn’t done yet. On Thursday, the 132-pound junior begins the journey for his ultimate goal.
A state championship.
“I’m feeling pretty good mentally and physically,” Oswalt said. “I’m also feeling pretty confident in my wrestling heading into the tournament, just have to take it one day at a time.”
Last season, Oswalt went into the state tournament as the No. 1 seed at 120 pounds. He won his first two matches by decision and pin, but he dropped his semifinal bout to Ryan Crookham from Notre Dame-Green Pond.
Crookham, a freshman, went on to win the weight class with a 3-0 decision over Reynolds senior Beau Bayless. Oswalt dropped his next match but recovered for a fifth-place finish.
This season, after going 42-6, Oswalt is looking to build on his experience from his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
“Looking at the state tournament, we definitely wrestle some tough opponents,” Oswalt said. “But I think all year our coaches do a good job of putting us in places and situations with what the matches are going to be like at the state tournament. So, I have that match experience, and I’m not scared to go into a close match or wrestle a good kid. I just need to go in and wrestle.”
In addition to his experience in Hershey, the adversity he’s faced in his junior year has helped prepare him.
As a No. 2 seed in the Southwest Regional tournament, he earned a pin in his first match, then punched his ticket to the championship with two straight decision wins.
He matched up with No. 1 seed Brock McMillen, and the Glendale junior recorded a takedown in overtime to earn a 3-1 sudden-victory decision. Though the loss was tough, Oswalt called it a great lesson.
“I think that will definitely be a big thing, and it helped me know what I need to do at the state tournament or what I need to do differently,” Oswalt said. “Out of all of the matches I’ve wrestled this year, I think that was the biggest learning experience that I’ve gotten. It wasn’t a good thing, but I think it was all right that it happened.”
Oswalt said he got right back into the practice room and is more motivated than ever.
“Regionals obviously matters to me, but my main goal is the state tournament,” Oswalt said. “I think that loss has kinda changed my view on the state tournament. I feel like that loss has motivated me even more to win the state tournament.”
Oswalt, along with teammates Nick Salerno (120-pounds), AJ Corrado (152) and Ricky Feroce (182), will begin the tournament Thursday. Oswalt opens with a match against Hayden Ward (36-9), a freshman from Canton.
“Personally, I think I got a good spot, but it doesn’t really matter,” Oswalt said. “I just need to take it one match at a time. It doesn’t matter where I was placed, I just need to go in there and wrestle because I know I can come out on top.”
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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