Valley News Dispatch wrestling all-stars: Burrell’s Cooper Hornack gets top honor

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Saturday, March 25, 2023 | 7:43 PM


Wrestler of the year

Cooper Hornack

Burrell, jr., 127 pounds

2022-23 record: 43-6

Career record: 116-19

Two weeks after winning his first PIAA Class 2A wrestling title, Burrell junior Cooper Hornack said his achievement still hasn’t registered.

Hornack rallied to defeat WPIAL rival Chris Vargo of Bentworth, 2-1, in the finals.

Hornack (43-6 record this season, 116-19 career) used a takedown with a minute left.

He became Burrell’s 10th wrestler to win a state title. A victory next season would tie him with Joe Makara as a two-time champion.

“Honestly, it’s surreal to think about it,” Hornack said. “It was always a dream of mine to be a state champion.

“It’s an honor to be on the wall in the wrestling room as a WPIAL champion. It’s something special to be on the wall as a PIAA champion. I’m really proud of that.”

For his achievement, Hornack was named Valley News Dispatch Wrestler of the Year.

Hornack also defeated Vargo in the WPIAL finals, 5-1, for his second WPIAL title. (The first came as a freshman).

“We go back and forth,” Hornack said of wrestling Vargo, who defeated Hornack at the Southwest Regional. “We know each other well. It’s always a competitive match.”

The state championship was the fifth time overall and third consecutive weekend the two squared off. Vargo won the PIAA Southwest Regional, 1-0, and Hornack won the WPIAL title, 5-1.

Hornack said his season didn’t start as he hoped as he rounded into wrestling form after football season.

But he figured things out in January and came on strong.

“I was able to get focused and put things together,” Hornack said.

All-stars

Nico Zanella

Burrell, jr., 160 pounds

2022-23 record: 31-21 Overall record: 56-35

Helped the Bucs reached the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs and a second-place finish. The Bucs qualified for the state tournament. He competed at 160 pounds and finished third in the section, fifth at WPIALs and eighth in the Southwest Regional.

Owen Campbell

Plum, fr., 107 pounds

2022-23 record: 33-8

Career record: 33-8

Campbell had an outstanding freshman season. He placed third in the section and sixth in the WPIAL championships. He played a key role in helping the Mustangs win the section title and Allegheny County championship. He was an Allegheny County champion.

Niko Ferra

Burrell, sr., 139 pounds

2022-23 record: 42-12

Career record: 130-63

Ferra had a huge senior season. He was a section champion, placed second in the WPIAL and fourth in the Southwest Regional. He did not place at PIAAs. He finished with 25 pins his senior season and 63 in his career.

Jack Crider

Kiski Area, sr., 285 pounds

2022-23 record: 32-13

Career record: 43-26

Crider was unsure if he wanted to compete in the individual tournaments this season. Coach Chris Heater said he’s glad Crider did. Crider finished fourth in the WPIAL Class 3A tournament and qualified for the PIAA championship, where he went 1-2.

Cam Baker

Burrell, fr., 107 pounds

2022-23 record: 41-11

Career record: 41-11

This sensational freshman was a section champion. He placed second at WPIALs and the Southwest Regional. He placed fourth in the PIAA. He had 22 pins. He also wrestled at 114 pounds during the season.

Aiden Burford

Highlands, sr., 139 pounds

2022-23 record: 35-9

Career record: 69-19

Burford had a strong sophomore season. He finished second in the section and fifth in the WPIAL Class 2A tournament and qualified for his second Southwest Regional tournament. He had 22 pins this season, 39 in his career.

Ryan Klingensmith

Kiski Area, sr., 121 pounds

2022-23 record: 39-6

Career record: 110-34

Klingensmith reached the WPIAL championships four times but never placed until his senior season when he won the 121-pound title. He qualified for his first PIAA tournament and battled back from a first-round loss to finish seventh in the state.

Charles Perkins

Valley, jr., 160 pounds

2022-23 record: 30-12

Career record: 60-26

Perkins had a good season that saw him finish second in the section and fourth at the WPIAL Class 2A tournament. He qualified for the PIAA Southwest Regional for the second consecutive season. He finished seventh at the regional, one win away from qualifying for the state tournament

Isaac Lacinski

Burrell, so., 172 pounds

2022-23 record: 41-14

Career record: 71-29

The sophomore was a section champion and a WPIAL Class 2A runner-up. He placed fifth in the PIAA Southwest Regional and qualified for the PIAA tournament. He helped Burrell reach the team finals and win a match in the state tournament.

Mark Gray

Kiski Area, so., 172 pounds

2022-23 record: 32-7

Career record: 60-17

The sophomore qualified for his first PIAA tournament after placing third in the WPIAL tournament. He went on to battle hard and place seventh in the state. He had three pins in the PIAA tournament and 23 pins for the season.

Cooper Roscosky

Kiski Area, fr., 189 pounds

2022-23 record: 32-10

Career record: 32-10

Roscosky had a solid freshman season and qualified for his first WPIAL tournament. He reached the blood round but lost a close decision to Franklin Regional’s Juliano Marion and finished sixth. He finished with 18 pins.

Antonino Walker

Plum, jr., 172 pounds

2022-23 record: 22-3

Career record: 70-15

Walker missed the first part of the season will recovering from an injury. He reached the WPIAL semifinals but lost to eventual state champion Rocco Welsh of Waynesburg. He then lost a blood-round match and finished fifth overall. He qualified for the PIAA championships as a freshman.

Rylen Campbell

Plum, jr., 114 pounds

2022-23 record: 29-9

Career record: 59-17

Campbell played a key role in helping the Mustangs win a section title. He finished second in the section and eighth in the WPIAL. He has 29 career pins, including 12 this season. He was an Allegheny County champion.

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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