Valley News Dispatch wrestlers of the year: Burrell’s Ian Oswalt and AJ Corrado

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020 | 10:34 PM


Ian Oswalt

Burrell, jr., 132-pounds

2019-20 record: 45-7

Through the first three years of his high school career, Burrell’s Ian Oswalt has set the bar high.

Each year, he seems to clear that bar.

For the third straight season, Oswalt cleaned house at the sectional and WPIAL tournaments, becoming a three-time champion at both. Then, the 132-pounder went on to earn second place at the regional and PIAA tournaments to cap a successful junior season.

Throughout the year, Oswalt had his mind set on one thing: a state championship. He felt as though sectional and WPIAL titles were just stepping stones toward that endeavor but great accomplishments nonetheless.

Oswalt capped both of those titles with wins over Highlands’ Jrake Burford and then moved on to the regional and PIAA tournaments. In both tournaments, Oswalt felt like he had a chance to win, but execution was the primary goal.

He reached the championship match in both tournaments but wound up losing to Glendale’s Brock McMillen on both occasions. Despite coming up just short of his ultimate goal, Oswalt turned in his best state tournament finish after placing fourth as a freshman and fifth last season.

Oswalt knows he has one season left to set the bar even higher.

“I’ve just always known that I haven’t reached that ultimate goal, and I know there’s more to be done to reach that goal,” he said.

You had high expectations for yourself this season. How do you feel like it went?

I felt like overall, this season was a big learning curve. I felt like I’ve built off my wrestling a lot, and I became a better overall wrestler. Even though I didn’t win the state title, I was pretty happy with how I’ve gained progress.

You came so close to a state championship is an accomplishment, but does that give you extra motivation for next year?

It definitely does. Now that I’ve been there, and I’ve made the state finals, I have that experience. So I know that I can get there and know that I can accomplish what I want.

Glendale’s Brock McMillen is just a junior, so if you get another crack at him, what do you think you could do differently?

When I wrestled him, neither of us really opened up. So I feel like if I open up and just go at him, I could probably win that match.

You surpassed the 100-win mark this season, how did that feel?

That was one of my goals on the road to possibly getting the most wins in Burrell history. So that’s my main goal. I want to get the most at the high school.

Who was the toughest wrestler you faced this season?

Probably Wyatt Henson from Waynesburg.

Now that the season is over, what’s your plan for the offseason?

I’m just trying to get bigger. Go to the gym, lift more, work on my footwork. Practice-wise, I just want to continue to get better on my feet and get more confident on my feet.

How much does your diet change from in season to out of season?

My dad creates meal plans for me during the season and stuff like that, so it makes it really easy for me to make weight. Then in the offseason, I just kinda eat whatever I want.

Favorite meal to eat during the season?

Probably pizza, honestly. I just love it.

What about in the offseason?

Definitely still pizza. It’s one thing that I think you can eat during wrestling season, and it’s still good fuel. I wrestle good off pizza fuel.

If someone on the Burrell wrestling team became a pro wrestler, who would it be?

There are so many that I think could be. I don’t know why, but I’d probably have to say Cole Clark.

Who would win a Burrell wrestling Royal Rumble?

Mikey Scherer.

What are you doing to pass the time during the school postponement?

I’ve just been hanging out with friends, playing video games and going outside hiking and stuff.

Do you have a favorite hobby?

I’d probably have to say tennis.

AJ Corrado

Burrell, jr., 152-pounds

2019-20 record: 45-8

On Jan. 9, Corrado dropped a 1-0 decision to Kiski Area’s Sammy Star in a nonsection tune-up match as both teams got set to defend their WPIAL titles.

Corrado didn’t take it as just a tune-up match, though. He took a lot away from that match and went on a 26-match win streak that carried him into the regional tournament.

“We’ve always had close matches, and I knew everyone around me was working hard, so I realized that I needed to step up my game and work a little harder,” Corrado said. “I guess those two matches against Sammy really motivated me to push myself towards the end of the season, especially going into the postseason.”

During the streak, Corrado won his third sectional title and his first WPIAL title. He also was on the brink of capturing his first regional tournament title, but St Joseph’s Academy’s Caleb Dowling stopped his run with a 2-1 decision in the regional final.

Dowling also prevented Corrado from capturing a state title with a one-point decision in the championship match.

After reaching the state finals alongside Oswalt, both were named this year’s Valley News Dispatch wrestlers of the year.

How do you feel your junior season went for you?

At first, it was a little disappointing, not completing my ultimate goal. But looking back on it, state runner-up is really good. So I’m pretty proud of myself. All the hard work from this season paid off.

The fact that you came so close to a state championship is an accomplishment, but does that give you extra motivation for next year?

This will be my last chance, so I gotta put everything out there on the table next year and work as hard as I can to achieve my ultimate goal.

If you had another shot at Caleb Dowling, is there anything you would do differently?

Even after the regional match, I knew I needed to get in on my offense more, and I didn’t get into my attacks and I didn’t really execute in the state finals, either. I think I was a little … I just didn’t get into my attacks as much as I thought I would. It just didn’t go as planned.

You surpassed the 100-win mark this season. How did that feel?

That was great. It was awesome to achieve that. Even after sophomore year, I knew that it could happen this season. So it was pretty exciting.

Is there one match from this season that sticks out to you the most?

In the team WPIAL finals, my match against Conner Redinger (Quaker Valley), that was pretty exciting. It was back and forth. It was a pretty intense match. I had lost to him at Powerade, so I got to avenge that loss.

Now that the season is over, what’s your plan for the offseason?

This whole coronavirus thing has kind of thrown everything for a loop. So I was planning on wrestling freestyle, but the practices ended up getting postponed. So I’m just doing my best to get a workout in everyday and get prepared for next season.

How much does your diet change from in season to out of season?

I try to eat a healthier diet during the season, and I stopped drinking pop in high school, so that’s one of the bigger things. But I didn’t have to cut too much weight this season. It’s just a matter of watching how much I eat.

Favorite meal to eat during the season?

Spaghetti and meatballs.

What about in the offseason?

Probably spaghetti and meatballs or pizza. I like a lot of Italian food.

If someone on the Burrell wrestling team became a pro wrestler, who would it be?

Ricky Feroce.

Who would win a Burrell wrestling Royal Rumble?

Probably me.

What are you doing to pass the time during the school postponement?

I play a lot of video games.

What’s your favorite game?

I play a lot of NBA 2K.

Do you have a favorite hobby?

Well, I like to play video games, but I like to watch a lot of movies and TV shows on Netflix.

What’s the show you’re watching during the break?

“All-American.” It’s pretty good.

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