Burrell earns shot at seventh straight wrestling title
Burrell's wrestlers crowded around their coaches' corner — all as close as legally allowed to the mat — and barked encouragement and advice to their teammate in the middle of the circle Friday night during the WPIAL Class AA semifinal match against Chartiers-Houston.
When coach Bud Sines unleashed the mightiest of his Bucs, Burrell began its climb toward an 11th consecutive WPIAL finals appearance.
Down by 14 after five bouts, Burrell (13-5), the six-time defending WPIAL champ, stormed back to win, 37-30, over No. 4 seed Chartiers-Houston (12-7) at Chartiers Valley High School. It will return to Chartiers Valley for a 2 p.m. matchup Saturday against No. 2 South Fayette, which defeated No. 3 Jefferson-Morgan, 37-23, in the other semifinal.
“We got ourselves in a hole, and someone always digs us out,” Sines said.
Burrell won seven of the final nine bouts, with Dakota DesLauriers' pin 39 seconds into the 182-pound bout serving as the official clincher.
Freshman Damon Greenwald started the rally in the 126-pound bout. Down, 3-2, in the third period against junior Jake Jones, Greenwald twice narrowly missed takedowns at the edge of the mat. With 12 seconds remaining, his aggressiveness paid off as he earned a stall point and caught Jones' legs for a takedown. Greenwald, who allowed an escape as time expired, won, 5-4.
“He worked for the match, and he deserved it,” Sines said. “That got us going.”
J.R. Andrejcik followed with a pin 36 seconds into the 132-pound bout, and Steven Edwards' 5-0 win at 138 cut Chartiers-Houston's lead to two points.
Tanner Sutton secured a first-period pin to bump Chartiers-Houston's lead to eight, but that margin quickly disappeared after Phil Marra (152) and Corey Falleroni (160) secured pins, which gave Burrell a 28-24 lead.
With momentum and, arguably, the match hanging in the balance, Cory Klems (170) edged David Kincaid, 3-2, in an ultimate tiebreaker. Klems, on bottom, began to break free when Kincaid clasped his hands, ending the bout.
“It just makes me think, ‘There's no way I can let these guys down,' ” Klems said of Burrell's high-energy bench area. “We're brothers. ... We'll fight for each other.”
Burrell worked to pick up its star heavyweight, sophomore Al Beattie, who, in a surprising early twist, lost by fall to Chartiers-Houston standout senior Garrett Vulcano, who has wrestled most of his matches at 195 pounds.
“When I saw Beattie get stuck, I choked,” Sines said. “Then we had to change what we had at 106 and 113.”
Chartiers-Houston's Bill Sutton indicated that, while the Vulcano lineup twist paid off, his team still suffered from losing the disc flip, which allowed Burrell to choose part of its lineup somewhat reactively based on whom Chartiers-Houston sent out.
“It was one of the moves we could make,” Sutton said of Vulcano's bump up, “but we lost the flip, and when you lose the flip, it cost us.”