Szymanski keeps Burrell’s WPIAL champion streak alive

Sunday, February 20, 2022 | 12:00 AM

One historic run at Burrell ended this season, but an even longer one continued.

Burrell senior Shawn Szymanski used a takedown to defeat Jefferson-Morgan sophomore Chase Frameli, 5-4, at 145 pounds to win a WPIAL Class AA title and extend his school’s streak of WPIAL champions to 23 years. The Bucs saw their streak of consecutive WPIAL teams titles end at 15.

Szymanski (28-6) actually used two third-period takedowns to rally for the win.

“It feels great,” Szymanski said about winning the title. “It was a match that I knew my conditioning would be better than his. He came out strong scoring first, but I knew I was still in the match and all I had to do was battle back and get some tough takedowns.

“At the beginning of the third period, I was going to try to ride him and turn him and it didn’t work out. So I cut him and took him down twice.”

Szymanski said winning the title feels good, but he is not done yet.

“We have a bunch of tough kids going to regionals, and I’d like to go to states and continue the streak at states and get some medalists,” Szymanski said. “My dream is to win the state title, but winning the WPIAL is a plus.”

Burrell coach Josh Shields said he was proud of Szymanski because he does things right.

“He works hard,” Shields said. “It’s nice to see all things come together in the postseason. We train to peak at this time.”

Sophomore Cooper Hornack came up short in winning his second WPIAL title.

In the battle of returning champions, Bentworth sophomore Chris Vargo (23-2) dominated in the top position and posted a 5-0 win at 120 pounds.

The bout was scoreless into the third period when Vargo (23-2) went to work from the bottom position. Vargo recorded a two-point reversal to grab a 2-0 lead and then exposed Hornack’s back to the mat for a three-point nearfall.

Hornack (34-7) was the champion at 106 last year, and he placed second at states. Vargo was the 113-pound champion and finished third at the PIAA championships.

“I’m going out trying to make history,” Vargo said. “Cooper is a solid wrestler. He’s no joke. I wouldn’t say I’m great on top, but I’ve won a lot of matches on top. I learned a wrist ride that kids from Blair (Academy, N.J.) use. It works well for me.”

Hornack said he was disappointed he didn’t score off the bottom.

“I was horrible on the bottom,” Hornack said. “You have to be able to score from the bottom. I need to be better.

“I know there have been wrestlers who didn’t win WPIALs or regions and came back to be a state champion. My goal is to be atop of the podium in Hershey next month.”

Burrell advanced eight to the PIAA Southwest Regional on March 4 and 5 at Peters Township.

Cole Clark ended up third at 189, Damian Barr fourth at 160, Calio Zanella fifth at 113, Niko Ferra fifth at 132, Isaac Lacinski fifth at 138 and Luke Boylan fifth at 215.

“We lost a tough one at 120,” Shields said. “Winning that much here is important. It gives you momentum moving to the regionals. We’ve made a lot of progress.”

Valley had three wrestlers advance. Chuck Perkins placed fifth at 145, Donovan Thomas was sixth at 106 and Micah Hughes placed eighth at 132.

Perkins said he can wrestle better, and working hard at practice is key for him and his teammates.

“It’s a fresh start,” Perkins said. “I did OK. We have to continue to work on our conditioning. I tried my hardest.”

Knoch had one wrestler, Aaron Butler, advance. He placed eighth at 152.

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


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