Burrell's DesLauriers claims wrestling gold
HERSHEY — With a smile so wide it began to hurt a bit, Burrell senior Dakota DesLauriers stood on top of the medal stand in the Giant Center on Saturday afternoon, the latest addition to the Alle-Kiski Valley's collection of state high school wrestling champions.
DesLauriers and Kittanning junior Jason Nolf both won individual state titles during the final day of the PIAA Class AA Championships.
Nolf beat Keystone Oaks' Nick Zanetta, 4-2, in the 132-pound weight class finals to earn his second championship and Kittanning's third.
DesLauriers defeated Muncy senior Troy Hembury, 3-1, in the 182-pound weight class finals at the PIAA Class AA Individual Championships.
He claimed his first state title and delivered Burrell its sixth gold medal in program history.
“This is the only way I could've imagined it ending,” DesLauriers said of his career. “It's a personal goal I've always had even since I was real little. I said I was going to do this. Senior year, last chance. It's really sweet, really nice.”
DesLauriers' uncle, Joel, became the Bucs' first state champion in 1997. Joe Makara added titles in 2002 and 2003. Jordan Shields won it all in 2007. And Travis McKillop was a champion in 2011.
Burrell's cheering section, which included Joel DesLauriers, roared as loud as any fan base after the title match's conclusion.
“We're all family in the wrestling community,” Dakota DesLauriers said.
In addition to Saturday's winners, the collection of state champions from the Alle-Kiski Valley includes Kiski Area's Matt McCutcheon, who won a Class AAA championship in 2012 as a junior; Fox Chapel's Leo Wisniewski (1978); Highlands' Bill Spencer (2003); Kittanning's Chamie Hooks (1995); Plum's Steve Cassidy (1990), Brian Cipollone (1991), Bill Closson (1993) and Matt Cassidy (2002); and Valley's Dave Brown (1985).