Standouts not likely to face-off in rivalry
Much to the chagrin of fans of the Kiski Area-Burrell rivalry, two of the Alle-Kiski's premier wrestlers probably won't face each other Friday night in Lower Burrell.
But imagine if they did.
The thought of Burrell's Dakota DesLauriers facing Kiski Area's Matt McCutcheon is enough to garner a parade of champions; it should come with entrance music.
But both wrestlers, fresh off Westmoreland County Coaches Association titles — McCutcheon his fourth and DesLauriers his third — doubt they'll meet Friday.
“If he bumps up, we're going, and it will be exciting,” said McCutcheon, who has been competing at 195 pounds. “We used to practice a lot together when we were younger. Dakota is solid on his feet and is great on defense. He finds ways to create angles and get shots.”
The pair has never met in competition, although they belong to the same club — Young Guns in Murrysville.
“Maybe we'll see each other, but it's not looking like it,” said DesLauriers (13-0), a 182-pounder who began his season a little late because he had mononucleosis. “I probably won't bump up, and I don't see him coming down.
“Me and Matt would love to wrestle each other. It would be a great match.”
Last year, McCutcheon wrestled much of the season at 195 but dropped to 182 for the postseason. He didn't face DesLauriers when Kiski Area (12-0) beat Burrell (7-3), 60-14.
McCutcheon (23-0) has his sights on back-to-back PIAA titles but is closing in on a school record. He needs seven wins to break 2006 graduate Tyler Oravec's mark of 149 career victories.
“Right now, my biggest goal is to help the team get back to states,” McCutcheon said. “It would be a nice bonus on the side to get the record.
“I used to watch (Oravec) wrestle. We play church-league softball together now.”
Another potential match to watch is at 285, where Burrell's Allan Beattie could get a chance to avenge a loss to Kiski Area's Shane Kuhn in the WCCA finals.
Kuhn pinned Beattie in 1:23.
Although their rivalry, which draws hundreds, has been mostly one-sided, with Kiski Area winning all but two times since 1986, recent results have been compelling.
Two years ago, the teams tied, 33-33, but Burrell won on criteria. Kiski Area took the nonsection bout, 39-21, in 2010.
Burrell won, 41-29, in 2009.
“It's two battle-tested teams in one of the biggest rivalries in Western Pennsylvania,” DesLauriers said. “You never know what might happen on any given day.”
The Plum and Knoch boys basketball teams were supposed to play Jan. 23, but the game was moved to Feb. 11 at Knoch as part of a girls-boys doubleheader that includes Ford City.
The Knoch and Ford City girls will play at 6 p.m., and the Knoch-Plum boys will follow at 7:30.
Two junior-varsity games will be at the same time in Knoch's middle school gymnasium.
Knoch boys coach Ron McNabb will coach against his former players. McNabb was an assistant at Plum the past two seasons.
Fox Chapel's Ethan Martin is busy preparing for his senior season in WPIAL track. Martin won the 3,000-meter run at the recent Tri-State Coaches Association meet at Edinboro.
Martin finished in 8:59.13 to cruise past runner-up Ryan Archer of Vincentian (9:06.95).
Kiski Area's Donivel Evans finished second in the high jump (6 feet, 5 inches).
Bill Beckner Jr. is the Local Sports Editor of the Valley News Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.