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Guido: Burrell wrestling joins elite group

| Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Burrell's Damon Greenwald (top) scores back points on South Fayette's Michael Carr in their 126-pound match during the finals of the WPIAL Class AA Team Wrestling Championships at Chartiers Valley High School on February 02, 2013. Greenwald earned a 16-15 decision over Carr. Burrell earned its seventh straight WPIAL Team Championship with a 35-30 victory over South Fayette. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

The phenomenal WPIAL wrestling championship run for Burrell continued Saturday when the Bucs came from behind to defeat South Fayette, 34-28.

The victory marked the eighth straight WPIAL team title for Burrell and the 10th overall.

The 10 WPIAL titles also gives the program the all-time lead for one sport among Alle-Kiski Valley schools, breaking the mark of nine WPIAL championships by the Springdale boys soccer program.

It's getting to the point where one can run out of superlatives when describing the Burrell wrestling program.

The Bucs got a first-round bye in the PIAA tournament and will take on Hamburg at 2 p.m. on Thursday at Hershey's Giant Center.

But getting back to the WPIAL stage, the eight in a row is by far the longest wrestling championship streak.

It's also the 12th straight season that Burrell has made it to the Class AA championship.

The last time the Bucs failed to reach the finals was 2002, when they lost to Fort Cherry.

Franklin Regional won the Class AAA team title with a 42-19 victory over Latrobe. Coupled with Burrell's win, it marked the first time two schools from geographically contiguous school districts won WPIAL wrestling titles since 2005 when Connellsville and Mt. Pleasant brought home WPIAL gold.

How does Burrell's eight in a row rank compared to other WPIAL sports?

The all-time mark is held by the Norwin girls volleyball program, winning 13 consecutive WPIAL tiles from 1974-86.

Next is the Upper St. Clair boys golf program, collecting 12 straight titles from 1994-2005.

The Munhall rifle team brought home 11 consecutive crowns from 1959-69.

Burrell's streak of eight titles ties the North Allegheny boys cross country program, which also won eight straight WPIAL titles from 1990-97.

Bucs go for clean slate

More history could be in store for Burrell on Saturday.

That's when the girls basketball team will try to finish the regular season with a 22-0 mark when the Bucs battle Mt. Pleasant at 2 p.m. at Greensburg Salem.

The matchup will be part of a four-game Hoopsfest sponsored by the Westmoreland County Coaches Association.

Mount Pleasant is a team Burrell can't take for granted. The Vikings have won 12 games so far this season and are in the Class AAA playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.

The Bucs are in the WPIAL playoffs for the third straight year, the longest streak since qualifying for five straight playoff trips from 1993-97.

Burrell is ranked No. 2 in this week's Trib Total Media Class AA poll.

Statewide, the Bucs are third behind Seton-La Salle and Philadelphia's Neumann-Goretti.

Playoff pairings will be issued Tuesday night.

Kittanning is in

With Highlands' loss to Mars, it means Kittanning, for the first time, is in the boys basketball playoffs for three consecutive seasons.

Even if Kittanning ties Highlands for fourth place in Section 1-AAA, the Wildcats swept the season series against Highlands, earning a tiebreaker.

Junior swingman Noah Kunst, one of the area's leading scorers at nearly 16 points per game, is happy for the entire student body, particularly the game-night rooting section known as Jubilation Nation.

β€œI really appreciate being part of the three years,” Kunst said. β€œIt's the best thing in the world to have the fans going crazy and all the noise, it's amazing.”

To acknowledge the below zero temperatures last week, Jubilation Nation dressed up in tropical apparel for Friday night's 72-61 victory over Freeport at Lt. Charles Hutchinson Gym.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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