Shane Kemper

Luke Campbell/Observer-Reporter

Shane Kemper has been strong at 172 pounds this year for Burgettstown.

Burgettstown gets a second chance at Burrell.

The two teams met last season in the WPIAL Class AA Team Tournament finals, and things did not go well for the Blue Devils.

Burrell came away with a 63-9 victory to capture its 14th straight WPIAL title, a record that might never be broken.

The only wins Burgettstown picked up in that match were a decision by D.J. Slovick, 2-0, over Dominic Hughes after Burrell had jumped out to a 36-0 lead, and heavyweight Riley Kemper won by forfeit.

The next meeting takes place today at noon, in Canon-McMillan’s spacious gymnasium. There will be a limit of 200 spectators and no tickets will be sold at the door.

In the Class AAA final, also held at Canon-McMillan, top-ranked Waynesburg takes on No. 2 Seneca Valley at 2:30 p.m.

Burell (11-1) has stopped Derry, 51-12, Mt. Pleasant, 49-18, and Quaker Valley, 41-27, to reach this point.

Burgettstown (14-0) has disposed of McGuffey, 65-9, Beth-Center, 46-18, and Beth-Center again, 48-11.

“We got a taste of them last year,” said Burgetttstown coach Joey Vigliotti. “Our goal last year was to get to Hershey, which we did.

“We won the section title this year and are undefeated, and we made it to the WPIAL finals, but the kids said they are not satisfied. Last year, getting to the WPIAL finals was very exciting, but this year it was just another match. Their goal is a WPIAL title. I’m happy with our team conditioning-wise and technique-wise. I think this match can go either way.”

Burrell is again strong throughout the lineup. Cooper Hornack and Robert Ferra troll the lightweights, Nicholas Salerno and Ian Oswalt patrol the middleweights and A.J. Corrado haunts the heavier weights.

“Their kids come out of the woodwork and win all these tournaments,” said Vigliotti. “It’s something we’re not afraid of. We’ve got a great group of freshmen. Six are in our starting lineup. They’ve been pretty good. This is one match when the target is on their back. If we win, we win for the first time in 48 years. Everything has to go right. One slip-up in the match can hurt you.”

Dylan Slovick and D.J. Slovick give the Blue Devils strength in the lighter and middle weights and Shane Kemper and Turner Lehman provide a strong 1-2 punch at 172 and 189. The Sentipal brothers, Parker and Joey, have been putting big numbers up at 106 and 126 pounds, respectively.

Interestingly, Burgettstown defeated three Class AAA teams in Upper St. Clair, Chartiers Valley and South Fayette to win its invitational last month.

“If anything, Burrell has a lot of nerves and we don’t,” said Vigliotti. “We have nothing to lose and they do so we’re going to go out and wrestle with nothing to lose.”

In the Class AAA matchup, the big bout might come at 152, where Alejandro Herrera-Rondon takes on Rocco Welsh. Herrera-Rondon,a two-time state champion, won a 9-6 decision over Welsh in the Powerade finals.

Waynesburg’s 126-pounder, Zander Phaturos, who has missed the three bouts leading to the finals, is expected to return from a toe injury.

Assistant Sports Editor

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling.

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