Valley’s Hutcherson, Schuffert secure Section 3-AA wrestling titles

Thursday, February 14, 2019 | 1:30 AM

Noah Hutcherson has a pretty simple goal for the individual wrestling postseason.

“I just want to get off the mat as soon as I can,” the Valley senior said.

One night in, Hutcherson is accomplishing his mission. The Vikings’ 170-pounder claimed his first section title when he pinned Elizabeth Forward’s Charles Buchina in 34 seconds in the Section 3-AA tournament final Friday night at Canon-McMillan.

Hutcherson, the top seed at 170 for the section tournament, wrestled two matches on the day and finished both of them early: he beat Southmoreland’s Brendan Moore by technical fall in the semifinals.

“I’ve just been trying to get after it,” he said. “… It’s the last couple tournaments. I’m not trying to have any mistakes.”

Hutcherson and Valley classmate David Schuffert long have professed they believe they wrestle their best when they come out aggressively, and Friday’s results backed those opinions.

Schuffert, a senior heavyweight, won his third section title by pinning Elizabeth Forward’s Nate Homa in the championship bout. All three of Schuffert’s section tournament bouts ended with pins.

“I feel like I started off slow, then I think I got better and better,” Schuffert said. “I think (Hutcherson and I) both did pretty good in our finals today. Both got pins real quick.”

The section tournament represents the first step in the individual wrestling postseason, with the top four finishers in each weight class advancing to the WPIAL tournament, which began later Friday night at Canon-McMillan.

Burrell, coming off another deep run in the WPIAL and PIAA team playoffs, had a strong performance of its own Friday night. Sophomores A.J. Corrado (138 pounds) and Ian Oswalt (120) each won their second straight section titles, and 13 Bucs in total qualified for the WPIAL tournament.

“Obviously, the goal here now is to place as high as you can, but also advance,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “Getting 13 guys to the WPIALs, I thought we could have had a couple more guys win the section tournament, but (there was) tough competition. But guys battled hard, the effort was there, and it looks like we’re in good position for WPIALs.”

Oswalt, who will attempt to defend his WPIAL title Saturday, got off to a strong start Friday by pinning all three of his opponents, including Mt. Pleasant’s Noah Teeters in the finals.

Corrado pinned Highlands’ Blake Clark in the semifinals and then got a 17-1 technical fall over Southmoreland’s Nick Yeskey in the title bout.

“I’ve got to focus on getting out on bottom,” Corrado said. “The kid I wrestled in the finals rode me out with a leg. We’re going over that in practice, too, so I should be fine.”

Seven Burrell wrestlers finished as runners-up in their weight classes: Nick Salerno (113 pounds), Trent Valovchik (126), Bryan Gaul (132), Noah Linderman (152), Austin Mele (160), Ricky Feroce (182) and Zach Rupert (195). The Bucs added a quartet of third-place finishers with Shawn Szymanski (106), Dom Holmes (145), Danny McCarthy (170) and Jacob Bell (heavyweight).

Highlands 220-pounder Jeremiah Saunders finished as runner-up, falling to Derry’s Dom DeLuca in his final. The Golden Rams advanced five wrestlers to WPIALs: Saunders, Jrake Burford, who placed third at 113; Blake Clark, who finished third at 138; Brock White, who placed fourth at 160; and Jeremiah Nelson, who took fourth at heavyweight.

In addition to Hutcherson and Schuffert, Valley qualified 106-pounder Micah Hughes, 120-pounder Travis Lasko, 126-pounder Kain Stone, 132-pounder Logan Rose and 195-pounder Matthew Ashbaugh for the WPIAL tournament after all five finished in fourth place in their weight classes.

The WPIAL tournament resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday with the quarterfinals. The semifinals are at 12:20 p.m., and the consolation and championship finals will start about 5.

“One’s lifted off my chest,” Schuffert said. “Senior year, got it done. That’s in the past. Now it’s on to WPIALs.”

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, or via Twitter .

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