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Kiski Area's Reid named Valley News Dispatch Wrester of the Year

| Saturday, March 25, 2017, 10:42 p.m.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area's Isaac Reid reacts after beating Montour's Roman Macek in the 285-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area's Isaac Reid wrestles Montour's Roman Macek in the 285-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Burrell's Trent Bechtold wrestles Line Mountain's Cole Hauck in the 120-lb bout during the first round of PIAA Team Wrestling at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Thursday Feb. 09, 2017. Burrell lost 31-29.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area's Joey Blumer wrestles Cumberland Valley's Cal Reichart in the 145-lb bout during the first round of the PIAA Class AAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Thursday March 09, 2017.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Highlands wrestler Cameron Clark practices against Nolan Wise on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area's Cam Connor celebrates his fall at 2:49 against Central Dauphin's Cameron Sellen in the 138-lb bout during the first round of PIAA Team Wrestling at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Thursday Feb. 09, 2017. Kiski won 52-11.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Burrell's Bryan Gaul wrestles Bishop McDevitt's Jon Velez-Arce during a consolation round of PIAA Team Wrestling at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Friday Feb. 10, 2017. Burrell won 58-11. Gaul recorded a fall at 0:28.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Burrell's Dillan Jeffrey is amped up by Burrell head coach Josh Shields before his 132-lb bout against Line Mountain during the first round of PIAA Team Wrestling at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Thursday Feb. 09, 2017.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Burrell’s Trent Valovchik wrestles Valley’s Travis Lasko (top) in the 106-lb bout during the WPIAL Class AA championship at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, Pa. on Saturday Feb. 18, 2017. Valovchik won 15-0 by a fall.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Central Dauphin's Jake Cherry wrestles Kiski Area's Noah Levett in the 126-lb bout during the first round of PIAA Team Wrestling at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Thursday Feb. 09, 2017. Kiski won 52-11. Levett won 4-2 in overtime.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Burrell’s Anthony Marra hugs Beth Center’s Dominic Fundy after the 182-lb bout during the WPIAL Class AA championship at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, Pa. on Saturday Feb. 18, 2017.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Burrell's Trent Valovchik (right) wrestles Penns Valley's Baylor Shunk in their 106-pound 5th-place bout during the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament held Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at Kovalchick Center in Indiana, Pa.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area's Danny Starr, right, wrestles Connellsville's Nate Ansell in quarterfinals of the 2017 WPIAL AAA Championships on Friday at Canon-McMillan.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area's Matt Siszka lifts Central Dauphin's Chris Wright in the 120-lb bout during the first round of PIAA Team Wrestling at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Thursday Feb. 09, 2017. Wright won by decision, 7-0. Kiski won 52-11.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Valley's David Schuffert wrestles Southern Huntingdon's Nick Winfield in a 285-lb bout during the PIAA Southwest Regional Wrestling tournament at IUP's Kovalchick Center in Indiana, Pa. on Friday Feb. 24, 2017.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area's Darren Miller wrestles Cathedral Prep's Jacob Brumett in the 106-lb bout during the third place match of PIAA Team Wrestling at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday Feb. 11, 2017. Kiski beat Cathedral Prep 41-21 to win third place.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Kiski Area's brothers Tommy Starr and Danny Starr sit on the sidelines during the quarterfinals of PIAA Team Wrestling at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Friday Feb. 10, 2017. Kiski lost to Becahi 36-18.

Kiski Area junior heavyweight Isaac Reid came closer than anyone else to extending the Alle-Kiski Valley's streak of years with at least one PIAA individual wrestling champion.

Not since 2010 has the Valley News Dispatch's coverage area lacked a PIAA first-place finisher. That wealth of winners made the end-of-season area recognition a fairly straightforward exercise.

If not for one archnemesis, Reid's resume would have closely resembled that of recent champs from the area. Five of Reid's six losses, including a 5-3 setback in the PIAA Class AAA final, came against Canon-McMillan senior Brendan Furman — Reid beat Furman, 3-2, in a Dec. 22 dual meet.

Remove Furman from the equation, and Reid likely finishes his season with just one loss and potentially three more titles — PIAA, WPIAL and possibly even Powerade Christmas Tournament, where Furman won their matchup, 5-3, in the semifinals.

But even with the blemishes against Furman, Reid still pieced together a stunning season performance. He won titles at the Eastern Area Invitational and Westmoreland County Coaches Association Tournament and took third in Powerade. Each of his five losses to Furman boiled down to three points or fewer. And his only other loss this season came against Bethlehem Catholic senior Niko Camacho, who placed fifth in the PIAA.

The quality of the WPIAL's Class AAA heavyweights gave Reid's success even more significance. Each of the top four spots on the medal stand at states went to WPIAL wrestlers. Reid defeated PIAA third-place finisher Roman Macek of Montour twice this season, and he pinned PIAA fourth-place finisher Gerald Brown of West Mifflin in the Eastern Area Invitational.

For his achievements, Reid is the Valley News Dispatch's 2017 Wrestler of the Year.

What do you tell yourself when you accomplish this much but one opponent continually stands in your way?

You've got to learn from your defeats. Those are what motivate you. If I would've won states, I don't know if I'd be as motivated for next year. Now I have a lot of motivation, because I didn't completely accomplish the goal yet.

So you already see the positives in how this season ended?

I'm going to put a lot of work in. I already feel confident for next year. I'm already there at the top, and with my work ethic this offseason, I feel I'm just going to blow people out of the water. That's what I'm hoping for.

You spoke at length during the PIAA tournament about the power of positive thinking. When and why did you take that philosophy so seriously?

I actually had a football game (Kiski Area's home opener against Plum on Sept. 2), and I don't know why, but I kept thinking as a defensive tackle that I was going to get an interception. I just kept thinking it every time I went out. I ended up getting a pick-six, and I was like, ‘Wow.' That's what made me really believe in it. Your mind is so powerful. It's crazy. … If you think like a loser, sorry, you're going to be a loser. But if you just think of good things, and you put in the work, the sky is the limit.

During the Parade of Champions that came before the WPIAL Class AAA finals, you walked out with a little bit of a swagger. A few Canon-McMillan fans might've even booed when they saw you. Did you hear that, and did it affect your mind state?

If you present yourself as confident, it plays a role in the mental advantage. Before I wrestle guys, this might sound weird, but I can tell when a guy has fear. He just breathes heavy and has that straight face. I like to have that smirk and be nice and loose, just ready to go. How you feel is how you look, so I play up that, too.

Are you looking forward to a season without Furman?

It feels good getting him out of here. ... He's big. He's a full 287. Has good hips. He moves well, too.

Bill West is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at wwest@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

Wrestling all-stars

TRENT BECHTOLD

Burrell, Jr., 120

2016-17 record: 30-16

The Burrell junior took home a title at the Thomas Chevrolet Bedford tournament and also advanced to the PIAA Class AA tournament for a second straight season.

JOEY BLUMER

Kiski Area, Sr., 145

2016-17 record: 43-7

Blumer reached the WPIAL, Section 1-AAA and WCCA finals while stuck in the same weight class as nationally-ranked Hempfield senior Jarod Verkleeren. He also placed fifth at the Powerade tournament.

CAM CLARK

Highlands, Sr., 152

2016-17 record: 23-11

Clark anchored a young Golden Rams lineup during trying times as its top grappler and only WPIAL Class AAA tournament qualifier. He finished fourth in Section 3-AAA.

CAM CONNOR

Kiski Area, So., 138

2016-17 record: 38-11

Connor followed a strong freshman campaign with even greater success, including a berth in the PIAA Class AAA tournament, a WCCA finals appearance and an Eastern Area Invitational title.

BRYAN GAUL

Burrell, So., 113

2016-17 record: 33-16

Gaul punched his ticket to the PIAA Class AA tournament with a top-six finish in the Southwest Region and also placed in the WCCA and Thomas Chevrolet Bedford tournaments.

DILLAN JEFFREY

Burrell, Sr., 126

2016-17 record: 34-15

Jeffrey put together the best individual postseason of his career by placing second in the WPIAL and PIAA Southwest Class AA Region but had his PIAA tournament appearance ruined by a skin condition.

TRAVIS LASKO

Valley, Fr., 106

2016-17 record: 24-16

Lasko made exponential improvements to become a WPIAL Class AA finalist and surpass the 20-win mark one season after winning just one junior high match.

NOAH LEVETT

Kiski Area, Jr., 126

2016-17 record: 40-10

Levett refused to run away from phenom Spencer Lee and consequently accepted silver in the WCCA tournament, in Section 1-AAA and in the WPIAL before taking sixth in PIAA Class AAA.

ANTHONY MARRA

Burrell, Sr., 182

2016-17 record: 32-11

Marra overcame a shoulder injury that caused him to miss a month and placed seventh at the PIAA Class AA tournament, third in the Southwest Region and second at the WPIAL tournament.

DARREN MILLER

Kiski Area, So., 106

2016-17 record: 46-4

Miller relied on resilience to place third in the PIAA and WPIAL Class AAA. He won a WCCA title and reached the Powerade Christmas Tournament final.

DAVID SCHUFFERT

Valley, So., 285

2016-17 record: 34-6

Schuffert specialized in speedy pins during a season in which he reached the WPIAL Class AA finals and placed third at the WCCA tournament and Southmoreland Holiday Classic.

MATT SISZKA

Kiski Area, Sr., 120

2016-17 record: 32-13

Siszka needed just one more win to qualify for the PIAA Class AAA tournament. His podium performances include a third-place finish at the WCCA tournament.

TOMMY STARR

Kiski Area, Sr., 220

2016-17 record: 38-7

The elder half of an imposing brother tandem, Starr pinned his way to a Section 1-AAA title. He had six pins during Kiski Area's 12 team postseason matches. Danny Starr, a junior 195-pounder, went 35-10.

TRENT VALOVCHIK

Burrell, Fr., 106

2016-17 record: 35-13

Valovchik claimed a WPIAL Class AA championship during a strong second half of a season that also included six pins and two major decisions in Burrell's nine-match team playoffs.

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