Valley News Dispatch 2024 wrestling all-stars: Burrell’s Cooper Hornack fights through injury to win WPIAL gold

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Saturday, March 23, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Wrestler of the Year

Cooper Hornack

Burrell, sr., 139 pounds

2023-24 record: 40-8; Overall record: 156-27.

Cooper Hornack knows his senior season could have and should have ended better.

Hornack did reach an elite milestone by becoming the WPIAL’s 88th three-time champion, but he came up short of his goal of defending his 2023 PIAA Class 2A title.

He did become a four-time PIAA placewinner with his sixth-place finish. He took second in 2021 and fourth in 2022. He also finished second in the PIAA Southwest Regional at Altoona.

And while he competed injured — he sustained a fracture in his shoulder that affected some nerves during football season — nothing was keeping him off the mat.

And because he competed to help his teammates reclaim the WPIAL Class 2A team title, Hornack edged out sophomore teammate Cam Baker and Kiski Area sophomore Cooper Roscosky for Valley News Dispatch Wrestler of the Year.

“The injury affected me every day,” Hornack said. “But it wasn’t stopping me from competing. I talked to coach Josh (Shields) about it, and I decided to compete for the team.

“I wrestled through the injury. I was disappointed I didn’t do better.”

Hornack said he hasn’t decided if he is going to have surgery, but one thing is for sure: Hornack is looking forward to competing at Columbia.

While there, he will study financial economics.

“I have big strides to make in wrestling,” Hornack said. “There is a lot more to improve on.

“One thing I’ve learned is that people don’t realize that the sport isn’t easy. You have to stay healthy and be mentality tough and be physical.”

First team

Cam Baker

Burrell, so., 107 pounds

2023-24 record: 44-7; Career record: 85-18

The Burrell sophomore was a WPIAL Class 2A champion at 107 pounds, placed third at the PIAA Southwest Regional and sixth in the PIAA. He is a two-time PIAA placewinner. He has 42 career pins.

Julian Bertucci

Burrell, so., 127 pounds

2023-24 record: 39-18; Career record: 71-34

The Burrell sophomore placed fifth in the WPIAL and eighth at the PIAA Southwest Regional in Class 2A. He recorded 27 pins and helped the Bucs regain the WPIAL Class 2A team championship.

Luke Boylan

Burrell, jr., 215 pounds

2023-24 record: 34-15; Career record: 88-50

The Burrell junior was a section champion who placed third in the WPIAL 2A championships. He finished seventh in the PIAA Southwest Regional. He collected 21 pins and has 48 in his career.

Aiden Burford

Highlands, jr., 139 pounds

2023-24 record: 32-12; Career record: 101-12

The Highlands junior is a three-time PIAA Class 2A Southwest Regional qualifier. He collected his 100th career win this season and has 56 career pins. He placed second in the section and third in the WPIAL.

Javeon Chambers

Highlands, so., 107 pounds

2023-24 record: 39-7; Career record: 66-12

The Highlands sophomore placed second in the section and third in the WPIAL. He finished seventh in the PIAA Class 2A Southwest Regional. He had 19 pins.

Alexander Kaufmann

Fox Chapel, sr., 152 pounds

2023-24 record: 22-8; Career record: 90-32

The Fox Chapel senior finished second in the section and fifth in the WPIAL Class 3A tournament. He finished with 38 career pins, including 10 this season. He helped the Foxes to a section title.

Isaac Lacinski

Burrell, jr., 172 pounds

2023-24 record: 21-12; Career record: 92-41

The Burrell junior was a section champion in Class 2A and placed sixth in the WPIAL. He played a key role in helping the Bucs reclaim the WPIAL Class 2A Team title. He had 12 pins. He was a PIAA qualifier in 2023.

Charles Perkins

Valley, sr., 172 pounds

2023-24 record: 29-10; Career record: 89-36

The Valley senior was a PIAA Class 2A qualifier. He placed second in the section, third at the WPIAL and fourth at the PIAA Southwest Regional. He had 20 pins to finished with 59 in his career.

Cooper Roscosky

Kiski Area, so., 189 pounds

2023-24 record: 40-5; Career record: 72-15

The Kiski Area sophomore finished sixth in the PIAA Class 3A championship, reaching the semifinals. He was a section and WPIAL champion. He has 35 career pins, including 17 this season. He was a Westmoreland County champion.

Abrahm Taylor

Kiski Area, so., 215 pounds

2023-24 record: 35-6; Career record: 35-6

The undersized sophomore was a section champion who placed seventh in the WPIAL Class 3A tournament. He had 13 pins during his first high school season.

Jack Tongel

Plum, sr., 172 pounds

2023-24 record: 26-14; Career record: 87-53

The Plum senior qualified for his first trip to the PIAA Class 3A championship with a fourth-place finish in the WPIAL. He finished with 49 career pins, including 17 this season.

Kyren Veasley

Highlands, jr., 152 pounds

2023-24 record: 32-12; Career record: 58-19

The Highlands junior transferred from Valley before the season. He was a section champion and placed fourth in the WPIAL. He has 27 career pins, including 15 this season.

Antonino Walker

Plum, sr., 152 pounds

2023-24 record: 39-7; Career record: 109-22

The Plum senior was a PIAA Class 3A qualifier after he finished third in the WPIAL. He had a career-high 39 victories and finished with 69 career pins, including 25 this season.

Second team

Joshua Alexander, Fox Chapel, sr., 139 pounds, 2023-24 record: 16-10 (eighth in the WPIAL)

Parker Anderson, Knoch, sr., 285 pounds, 2023-24 record: 22-10 (second in the section)

Rylen Campbell, Plum, sr., 127 pounds, 2023-24 record: 18-6 (sixth in the WPIAL)

Ben Catullo, Burrell, fr., 152 pounds, 2023-24 record: 27-23 (fifth in the WPIAL)

John DeLuca, Kiski Area, so., 127 pounds, 2023-24 record: 21-17 (fifth in the section)

Ryder Ekas, Kiski Area, jr., 285 pounds, 2023-24 record: 21-14 (fifth in the section)

Landon Funk, Fox Chapel, jr., 114 pounds, 2023-24 record: 31-7 (second in the section)

Mark Gray, Kiski Area, jr., 172 pounds, 2023-24 record: 9-4 (fifth in the WPIAL)

Ryan Long, Valley, sr., 152 pounds, 2023-24 record: 23-15 (sixth in the WPIAL)

Luca Rosa, Burrell, so., 121 pounds, 2023-24 record: 30-19 (fourth in the WPIAL)

Travis Shearer, Kiski Area, fr., 152 pounds, 2023-24 record: 21-14 (third in the section)

Carter Thomas, Burrell, fr., 114 pounds, 2023-24 record: 32-20 (fifth in the WPIAL)

Michael Worsen, Fox Chapel, jr., 121 pounds, 2023-24 record: 27-8 (fifth in the section)

Carson Yocca, Plum, sr., 133 pounds, 2023-24 record: 36-12 (sixth in the WPIAL)

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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