PIAA team wrestling tournament: Slow start costs Burrell in quarterfinals

Friday, February 7, 2020 | 4:17 PM

HERSHEY — Burrell wrestling coach Josh Shields said he doesn’t measure his wrestlers by wins or losses.

He measures by the type of effort they give during their matches.

Shields gave his team high marks Friday after Burrell split its matches at the PIAA Class AA team championship at Giant Center.

Burrell began the day by falling to District 11 champion Saucon Valley, 39-29, in the quarterfinals. The Bucs bounced back with a strong effort in defeating District 10 runner-up Corry, 38-23, in a second-round consolation match.

The Bucs (12-6) will face District 3 champion Hamburg at 9 a.m. Saturday.

“Our goal was to finish in the top four,” Shields said. “We still have a shot at third.”

A slow start proved to be the difference in the quarterfinal match.

Saucon Valley jumped out to an 18-0 lead and held on for the victory.

The win puts Saucon Valley (19-2) into the 8 p.m. semifinals against No. 1 Reynolds, which defeated Forest Hills, 47-20.

Burrell rallied in the light weights, pulling to within 24-20 on pins by Michael Scherer (220) and Niko Ferra (106) and major-decision wins by Shawn Szymanski (113) and Nick Salerno (120).

But a major-decision win by Cael Markle (126) stopped the Burrell run, and a pin by Jacob Jones (138) and a technical fall by Thomas Spirk (145) sent the Bucs to the consolations against Corry.

“We felt it was going to be a close match, but were a little outgunned against Saucon Valley,” Shields said. “We thought there were a couple swing matches. We made them close, but came out on the wrong side of those matches.”

Against Corry, Burrell fell behind 20-6 after six bouts, but after Ferra lost at 106, a wrestler on Burrell’s bench shouted, ‘It’s time to go, guys.’ That’s exactly what the Bucs did, running off five consecutive wins, including a pin by Ian Oswalt (132) and major decision wins by Szymanski (113) and Salerno (120) to grab a 26-20 lead.

Winning decisions during the run were Trent Valovchik (126) and Logan Bechtold (132).

Pins by Damian Barr (152) and A.J. Corrado (160) closed out the win.

“We battled in both of those matches,” Shields said. “I was pleased with the effort in the first match. It’s always tough to come back from a loss like that.

“We had a short memory and had to refocus. The goal and the dream are still alive.”

Scherer proved to be a stopper in both matches for Burrell, winning twice, including a 5-3 sudden victory win against Corry’s Shawn Proctor.

“I like wrestling with the lead,” Shields said. “It takes the pressure off the wrestlers. But our lightweights know what they have to do and did a great job.”

If Burrell wants to reach its goals, it won’t have a break Saturday. Matches are scheduled for 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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