HERSHEY – They gathered in a deserted corner of the Giant Center and listened to their head coach.
Some were crying.
Others were staring blankly while swaying from foot to foot.
For the members of the Burgettstown High School wrestling team, the just-completed 45-26 loss to Hamburg ended their participation in the double-elimination PIAA Class AA Team Tournament.
But these Blue Devils came away secure in the determination that the program will grow and their stay in future tournaments will be more extensive.
“I told them that this season they put the town of Burgettstown, a school that graduates 85 to 90 kids a year, on the wrestling map. Coaches and wrestlers in this tournament have asked, ‘Where is Burgettstown?’ So it’s good to get put on the map.”
Burgettstown fell behind early, rallied at the turn but couldn’t sustain it. As you might expect, Hamburg, ranked sixth in the state by Off The Mat, exploited the soft spots in the lineup. Burgettstown fell behind 24-4, rallied to make it 36-20 but could not sustain it.
“They gave all the effort that they could,” Vigliotti said. “But when you get to this level, some of those swing matches don’t go your way and that’s the difference. I hope this wants to make them work harder this summer, hit the weight room to become stronger.
“As I said before, this is a stepping stone. We were happy to make the WPIAL final buut now it’s time to raise those goals. Next year, it’s win a WPIAL title and be a state team medalist.”
Burgettstown has only three seniors and two of them had pins. Riley Kemper needed just 14 seconds to stick Charles Sheppard at heavyweight and Shane Ilgenfritz pinned Trent Wahl in 16 seconds.
Hunter Guiddy had a pin at 126 and Shane Kemper and promising freshman Joey Sentipal won by major decisions at 160 and 120, respectively.
“I was just getting my feet wet, big stage, and I haven’t wrestled in that many big tournaments,” said Sentipal. “I think there are big things to come. It’s a bright future.
“It can only go up from here.”