Burrell wrestling reigns again as champion at Class AA
Burrell sophomore Jason Roberts smiled so much his face hurt. His teammates held him over their heads as fans showered the Bucs with applause and Kool and the Gang's “Celebration” poured out of the speakers at Chartiers Valley High School.
A combination of Roberts' weight and his role in Burrell's 35-30 win over South Fayette in the WPIAL Class AA team tournament finals allowed the sophomore to sit back and savor an experience he won't soon forget.
Roberts defeated Jasper Wolfe, 3-2, in the 106-pound bout to clinch the championship, Burrell's seventh in a row and ninth overall. South Fayette (10-1), in its first finals appearance, faced slim odds of a comeback at that point, as the No. 2 seed Lions trailed the top-seeded Bucs (14-5) by 14 with three bouts left, the 106-pound matchup included. Then Roberts shut the door.
“I was most grateful for the team; they set me up for that match,” said Roberts, who also started for last season's title team.
Burrell, in its 11th straight finals appearance, won eight of the 12 contested bouts — certain of victory, it forfeited the final two weight classes (113 and 120).
Poised to open the match with a statement win, South Fayette instead found momentum shifting away after the first bout.
Freshman 126-pounder Michael Carr, among the Lions with the most individual victories, led Burrell freshman Damon Greenwald, 12-4, midway through the second period but allowed a comeback and lost, 16-15.
“I knew he was going to be really tough,” Greenwald said. “I just tried to slow the tempo down a little bit. And try to get my stuff working a little bit. I've never been so nervous before. When I came off the mat, it was the best feeling ever.”
J.R. Andrejcik (132 pounds) secured a 14-6 major decision for Burrell. Steven Edwards (138) and Corey Falleroni (160) earned technical falls.
“They were really keeping good positions,” Burrell coach Bud Sines said of the South Fayette middleweights who avoided pins. “Their coach must've drilled into them that you have to know what your job is, and they just stuck to that script, and it frustrated us, so we had to look for the bonus points where we could get them.”
Grant Fetchet (145) and Mike Fetchet (160) had pins in the first period for South Fayette. Phil Marra (152) delivered a 5-3 decision to Burrell, while Brad Haney (182) earned a 3-2 ultimate tiebreaker win for South Fayette, which brought the Lions' deficit to 20-15.
“We just didn't win certain matches we needed to win, like the first one,” South Fayette coach Rick Chaussard said. “Our matchups really didn't change after that (first bout). When we needed out of them, we changed.”
South Fayette's outlook became gloomy after the heavyweight match. Al Beattie's pin with 51 seconds left in the second period put Burrell ahead, 32-18.
Both Burrell and South Fayette advanced to the PIAA Class AA team tournament. So did Chartiers-Houston, which beat Jefferson-Morgan, 42-30, in the third-place match.