CANONSBURG – It was closer but Burgettstown got the same result it did wrestling Burrell last year.
The Bucs won their 15th straight WPIAL Team Tournament with a 38-18 decision at Canon-McMillan High School Saturday evening. They punched their tickets to Hershey for the PIAA Class AA Team Tournament, which Burrell has won twice.
It was the first loss for Burgettstown (13-1)
And it came at the most damaging time. Only district winners advance to Hershey for the state team title this year.
Burrell is second to Bethel Park (1981-2000) in winning WPIAL team tournament titles. The BP boys have 20 team titles in swimming. Norwin has won 13 straight volleyball titles.
Burrell simply extended a really impressive streak.
“I saw some kid put this on twitter that there are kids in this team that ever since they were born, Burrell has been winning WPIAL championships,” said Burrell head coach Josh Shields. “Every one is special. Every one is unique. I’m just the lucky guy who gets to be the head coach of this team.”
Because of the pandemic that led to changes in the format, Burgettstown fell short of its goal.
“Getting to Hershey was the goal,” said Burgettstown coach Joey Vigliotti. “This year, it’s good to see the disappointing look on these kids faces, getting second place.”
“It’s good for a coach to see they were unhappy with their performance. They understand how match management goes, where you do your job. I thought we did OK in the middle where we didn’t give up many bonus points. To beat Burrell, everything has to go right. We had a couple matches not go our way and that was the difference.”
Burrell got two big pins,one at 152 pounds, where Damien Barr stuck D.J. Slovick in 3:07 and at 172, where Colby Christie pinned Nate Neal in 2:51. Turn one of thos pins around and the score is 32-24.
“We got the momentum on our side with those pins and didn’t look back from that time on,” said Shields. “We made some moves. The 152 match was a huge match. That was a swing match for us. Colby Christie was one that could have gone either way and we got the fall. So it really was a team effort top to bottom.”
Burgettstown (13-1) got off to what seemed like a strong start but Aaron Edwards wiped away a 3-0 deficit by scoring 11 of the next 13 points for an 11-5 win over Eric Kovach at 138 pounds
Ian Oswalt followed with a 12-1 major decision over Burgettstown’s Anthony Lancos at 145. Barr followed with his pin to make it 13-0. Christie’s pin followed a 10-5 decision by Simon Slahtovsky over the Blue Devils’ Ryan Green at 160 to make it 22-0.
The two teams traded pins – A.J. Corrado for Burrell at 189 and Shane Kemper at 215 – in the same time of 1:29. Joey Baronick’s 5-0 win over Philip Walsh at heavyweight brought Burgettstown to within 28-9.
When Burrell forfeited at 113, the Blue Devils were down 31-15 with three bouts remaining. Burrell won two of them to put the match away.
“This time our goal was a WPIAL title,” said Kemper, who will play football at Clarion next fall. “We prepared all year for it. We gave it our best. I can’t ask for any more out of these guys.”