Burrell wrestlers take down Derry to claim 16th straight section title
The Derry wrestling team attempted what several others over the past decade and a half had failed to do … unseat Burrell from its section championship throne.
But the Bucs didn’t let their record-setting section streak fall as they topped the Trojans, 46-14, Wednesday evening to capture the Section 3-AA title and their 16th consecutive section crown.
”I think we finished a lot better than we started,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said.
“We were pretty rusty in our first match. We couldn’t really get things going. But the kids really responded in the second match. The score was 46-14, but there were some close matches. If (Derry) wins those close matches, it’s a much tighter match.”
Burrell and Derry, No. 1 and No. 3 in the latest Trib HSSN Class AA rankings, punched their tickets to the finals with victories over Elizabeth Forward (45-24) and Valley (60-19), respectively, in the semifinals.
All four teams already knew they would be in the WPIAL tournament next week. The top five teams from each Class AA section qualify.
Elizabeth Forward secure third with a 60-24 win over Valley in the consolation final.
The Bucs are gunning for their 13th consecutive WPIAL team title. The semifinals and finals are slated for Feb. 2 at Chartiers-Houston High School.
Derry, which went 5-0 in its subsection this year, now is 10-4 overall.
“I think we could’ve wrestled better,” Derry coach Mike Weinell said. “We gave up some matches we shouldn’t have. We turned our backs too easy a couple of times. But it is what it is, and we learn from it. Hopefully, this gives these guys something to refocus on. I know I have a lot of things I’m going to change in the practice room, as we get ready for next week. We might get a shot at these guys again.”
Ricky Feroce clinched the victory for the Bucs as he scored a decision over Brayden Mickinac at 182. The match began at 120, and Burrell won nine of the first 10 bouts overall through a Mason Slahtovsky pin at 195.
The Bucs scored bonus points in five of those 10 bouts, including pins from Austin Mele (160), A.J. Corrado (138) and Daniel McCarthy (170) and a major decision from Nicholas Salerno (120).
“I knew through the middle we could score some bonus points,” Shields said. “Bonus points are never guaranteed. Derry is a well-coached team with tough kids. Their kids fight, as you saw by their efforts.”
In a matchup of No. 1 wrestlers in the Trib HSSN rankings — Burrell’s Ian Oswalt at 120 and Derry’s Ty Cymmerman at 126 — Oswalt used a late reversal and back points to score a 5-2 victory at 126.
Oswalt wrestled at 120 against Elizabeth Forward but bumped up to 126 to meet Cymmerman. The win gave the Bucs an early 7-0 lead.
Jason Baker got Derry on the board at 132 as he scored a 2-0 decision over Trent Valovchik.
Noah Linderman (145) and Dominic Holmes (152) each picked up key decision wins for Burrell.
“We’ve been challenging these kids for the past couple of weeks,” Shields said. “Someone has to step up and do the extra and beat somebody they’re not supposed to beat.”
Dom Deluca scored a pin at 220, Colton McCallam won a decision at 106 and Kace Sabedra won a decision at 113 to pick up points for Derry in three of the final four bouts.
Derry was deducted a team point after 152 pounds. Coach Weinell said he disagreed with a couple of the referee’s decisions relating to awarding points or not awarding points and was vocal in his displeasure.
“I’ll take the team point away,” Weinell said. “I’m going to argue it every time. I’m fine with it. It’s part of my job. It’s on me to take it, and I did.”
Burrell’s Bryan Gaul, ranked No. 2 in Class AA at 132, was not able to compete Wednesday because of illness. Shields said he should be recovered and ready to go for the WPIAL tournament.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mike at [email protected] or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.