Kiski Area tops Burrell in annual mat battle between neighboring rivals

Friday, January 10, 2020 | 12:08 AM

Kiski Area senior Jared Curcio understands the rivalry.

He appreciates the close matches each time the Cavaliers and Burrell Bucs get together, and he sees the respect the two championship programs have for each other.

“It’s a grind every time, a battle year in and year out,” the 195-pounder said after he and his Kiski teammates finished off a 38-24 victory Thursday on senior night at home. “We wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Kiski Area honored its senior wrestlers and recognized the seniors from Burrell in a ceremony before the match.

Then it was down to business.

Cavaliers 106-pounder Antonio Giordano opened the match with a 5-2 victory over Nikolas Ferra to give the hosts a 3-0 lead.

Burrell responded and took a 21-16 lead after eight matches on the strength of pins by Logan Bechtold at 138 and Damian Barr at 152, a decision by Shawn Szymanski at 113 and a forfeit victory by Ian Oswalt at 132.

Sammy Starr brought Kiski Area to within two at 21-19 with a 1-0 decision over AJ Corrado in a feature bout at 160. It was a rematch of a 2-1 overtime victory for Starr in the 152-pound semifinals at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament last Saturday.

This time, a third-period escape with 1:36 left on the clock was the difference.

“I knew it was going to be a dogfight again,” said Starr, who is third in the Trib’s Class AAA 152-pound rankings. “After I got the 1-0 lead, I felt pretty confident.”

Corrado checked in this week at No. 2 at 152 in Class AA.

Jack Blumer, No. 1 at 160 in Class AAA, followed Starr with a quick pin of Noah Linderman in 1:19 at 170 to give the Cavaliers the lead for good.

Nick Delp scored a major decision for Kiski at 182.

In a battle of ranked wrestlers, Curcio, No. 5 at 182 in Class AAA, edged Ricky Feroce, No. 4 at 195 in Class AA, by a 5-2 count at 195 to move the Cavaliers closer to victory.

Brayden Roscosky won by forfeit at 220 to clinch the win.

“I knew coming in that it would be a tough match,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “It’s like this every year. They have such tough kids. We do as well. It was all about trying to get the matchups. We were both trying to jockey away from each other, but we ended up with the matchups I thought we would get. Then it was just all about the wrestling. I thought both teams wrestled really hard. That last match (285) exemplified the kind of effort both teams want.”

In perhaps the match of the evening, Burrell’s Mikey Scherer fought through a leg issue to record a takedown with eight seconds left to defeat Jack Dilts, 3-2, at heavyweight.

“I told the guys in the locker room after the match that Burrell wrestling prides itself on having tough kids, and what Mikey went out and did was a gutsy and tough performance,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “We expect that from each and every kid we send out there.

“For some of the guys, including some of the top guys, tonight wasn’t their night. They didn’t have that edge. But I know with these kids, it might knock them back a step, but they will do what I know they can do and take two steps forward.”

Also helping the Cavaliers score the victory were Vince Lapiana (major decision at 120), Dom Giordano (decision at 126), and Enzo Morlacci (pin at 145).

“There were a number of close matches, and it was a great feeling to come out on top,” Dom Giordano said. “It was a nice confidence booster as we continue team sections and get closer to WPIALs.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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