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Burrell, Kiski Area wrestlers dominate WPIAL

| Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, 11:30 p.m.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area's Nick Delp reacts after beating Canon-McMillan's Stefen Richer during the WPIAL Class AAA team wrestling championship at Penn Hills High School in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Saturday Feb. 04, 2017. Nick Delp pinned Stefen Richer at 3:26.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Burrell's Zach Rupert works against Derry's Hunter Hebenthal during their 170-pound match in the WPIAL Class AA team wrestling semifinal Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, at Chartiers-Houston High School.

Burrell and Kiski Area asserted it loud and clear Saturday: The Alle-Kiski Valley reigns supreme in WPIAL wrestling.

For the first time in two decades, the Bucs and Cavaliers each captured WPIAL wrestling championships. Burrell claimed its 11th consecutive Class AA title; Kiski Area won the Class AAA crown for the third time, its first since 2003.

“I think we've got something going on over here,” Kiski Area senior Joey Blumer said. “I like it. I wouldn't mind (them) doing this for a couple more years.”

Burrell and Kiski Area built some of the most consistently successful wrestling programs in the WPIAL over the past two decades, beginning in 1997 when both won their first-ever championships.

The Bucs won another title in 2004 and began their run of 11 consecutive championships, the longest streak in WPIAL wrestling history, in 2007. Kiski Area won Class AAA in 2003 and has made 11 WPIAL semifinal appearances since 2000.

But even with the programs' combined success, they hadn't pulled off the championship double-dip since 1997, coming closest in 2003 and 2010, when one team took the title and the other finished in second.

Until Saturday.

Burrell maintained its spot atop the Class AA mountain with a 44-27 victory over Freedom, and Kiski Area took control of Class AAA with a 41-21 win over Canon-McMillan.

“We knew we were going to come in here and try to steamroll all of these teams, like Derry and Freedom,” Burrell senior Anthony Marra said. “We just wanted to do what we do — that's push the pace and don't give up.”

Said Blumer: “I'm more than happy to get the ball rolling for Kiski. This is just a start.”

Staff writer Bill West contributed. Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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