Waynesburg, Burrell get top seeds in WPIAL wrestling team tournaments

Thursday, January 23, 2020 | 4:13 PM

The WPIAL wrestling committee rewarded excellence and history when deciding the pairings for the team tournament.

Undefeated and top-ranked Waynesburg, which won a thriller over No. 3 Canon-McMillan in the Section 4 championship Wednesday, received the top seed in Class AAA. Burrell, which has won 13 straight WPIAL titles, was seeded first in Class AA.

Waynesburg (9-0) has not won a team title since 1989. They have won four overall, including three in Class AA. The first was won at the individual tournament because the WPIAL didn’t start the team tournament until 1979.

The Raiders were semifinalists the past two seasons and lost in the third-place match both times.

Seneca Valley (12-1) is seeded No. 2. Canon-McMillan (12-2) is No. 3, Hempfield (17-2) is No. 4 and Kiski Area (12-3), which lost to Hempfield in the Section 1 final, is No. 5. Kiski Area has won the past three Class AAA titles.

“Seeding the teams were not hard at all,” WPIAL wrestling committee chairman Frank Vulcano said. “We seeded the teams we felt were the best. We didn’t look at any rankings. Burrell is going to be No. 1 in Class AA until someone beats team. They go out a wrestle some of the best teams in the state.”

Canon-McMillan was seeded higher than Hempfield and Kiski Area because it defeated both teams in December. The committee also didn’t award a home match to Thomas Jefferson, the Section 2 champion.

Connellsville remains the only team to qualify for the tournament each season since 1979.

The tournament begins with four Class AAA preliminary-round matches Monday at Canon-McMillan.

The 6 p.m. matches are Peters Township against Pine-Richland and Norwin against West Mifflin followed by Chartiers Valley versus Hampton and Trinity against Franklin Regional.

The first round in both classes will be Wednesday.

Waynesburg will face the Peters Township/Pine-Richland winner at 6 p.m., and Connellsville and Latrobe compete.

Hempfield will face the Chartiers Valley/Hampton winner, and Kiski Area faces South Fayette, which means Hempfield and Kiski Area could have a rematch in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

“I’m not surprised at all with the seedings and having Kiski again,” Hempfield coach Tommy Dolde said. “We figured that’s what it would be, and, in fact, the Kiski coaches joked and said, ‘We’ll see you Wednesday.’

“I’ve never complained on how the WPIAL seeds the tournament. They do a good job. We just have to be ready.”

Kiski Area coach Chris Heater was subdued Wednesday after his team lost to Hempfield, 34-31, in the Section 1-AAA title match.

“In the Hempfield match, we did some good things that prevented extra points,” Heater said. “But it was good for some of our younger guys to experience this type of atmosphere.”

Canon-McMillan will meet the Norwin/West Mifflin winner, while Mt. Lebanon battles North Allegheny.

Seneca Valley will get the Franklin Regional/Trinity winner, while Thomas Jefferson and Butler meet.

In Class AA, Burrell has reached the WPIAL final 16 consecutive seasons.

Is this the year a team can dethrone the Bucs (8-5)? Mt. Pleasant (2003, ’05, ’06) is the only team to defeat Burrell in the past 16 seasons at the WPIAL tournament.

Burgettstown (8-0) is seeded No. 2. McGuffey (10-1) is No. 3, and Quaker Valley (13-4) is No. 4.

Burrell received a first-round bye and will face the Southmoreland/Beth-Center winner Wednesday.

Quaker Valley, which defeated Laurel (6-2) for the Section 2 title, will have to defeat the Spartans a second time to reach the semifinals. Quaker Valley will face Fort Cherry, with the winner going against the Laurel-Highlands winner.

McGuffey earned a No. 3 seed. The Highlanders will face Ellwood City, and Keystone Oaks and Elizabeth Forward square off.

Burgettstown will face Mt. Pleasant at 6 p.m., and Freedom and South Park compete.

The Class AAA finals will be Feb. 1 at Norwin. The semifinals are at 4 p.m. followed by the finals at 6.

The Class AA finals are Feb. 1 at Chartiers-Houston. The semifinals are at noon. The finals are at 2 p.m.

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

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