No. 1 Burrell wrestlers roll past rival Valley, clinch top spot in Section 3B

Thursday, January 18, 2018 | 10:45 AM

The expected battle for the Section 3B wrestling title never materialized Wednesday night.

With four Valley starters out of the lineup, Class AA No. 1 Burrell picked up eight victories by forfeit and rolled to a 60-12 win over the rival Vikings.

The Bucs (3-2, 3-0) clinched the subsection B title, keeping their triple-digit section winning streak going heading into next week's section tournament.

“It's a good rivalry match down here,” Burrell assistant Gino Lanzino said. “I wish they'd had a couple more guys so a couple more of our guys could have got matches. But (it's a) pretty good win. We'll take it.”

Valley, which has an 11-wrestler roster, had four out with various illnesses — Travis Lasko, Logan Rose, Kain Stone and Nicholas Banko, the starters at the 120- through 138-pound weight classes.

The resulting eight forfeits meant Valley (5-1, 2-1) lost the match before it even started. The teams split the remaining six bouts.

“They fight, as always, which is all I can really ask for,” Valley coach Dane Johnson said. “I was just disappointed because it's our biggest section match. Anybody that's going to wrestle Burrell, it's going to be a big match. I want guys to go out and compete and give their best effort, and when you're out four guys, I'm just disappointed about it. Sick or not, I'm disappointed.”

Many of the forfeits came in matches against Burrell's more accomplished wrestlers, and the ones who did get mat time could benefit from the opportunity, Lanzino said. Sophomore Noah Linderman won by pin, and senior Colton Moorhead and sophomore Ricky Feroce picked up decisions.

“The mat time's perfect — it's making us all better,” said Feroce, who beat Valley's Brandon O'Sullivan. “We need all the matches we can get. I love having tough kids, pushing myself, making me better. Seeing where I am as a wrestler and how I can improve is just perfect.”

Valley got decision victories from juniors Matt Ashbaugh and Noah Hutcherson and a pin from junior David Schuffert.

“With all the guys we have, we try to get as many wins as we can,” Ashbaugh said. “It's a killer. We still try to get our wins, just try our best. If you try your best and still don't get it, there's not much we can do about it.”

Burrell will host the Section 3-AA tournament next Wednesday, facing Quaker Valley in the semifinal.

Valley will face South Fayette in the other semifinal.

“I'm disappointed about missing those guys and how we finished some of those matches,” Johnson said, “but I thought the effort was good, and I think those close matches, we've just got to work hard and get better to win those at the end of the year.”

Burrell, the 14-time defending section and 11-time defending WPIAL champion, will prepare for the section tournament by wrestling at this weekend's Ultimate Duals at Brookville High School against a field that includes top WPIAL challengers Freedom and South Fayette and state contenders Brookville, Chestnut Ridge and Reynolds.

“There'll be some good teams there,” Lanzino said. “Everyone should have some good matches there.”

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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