Burrell's Beattie joins program's vast family tree of success
Burrell's wrestling program has its own, unique family tree. WPIAL and PIAA gold medals dangle from its branches, but it's the last names that serve as its deep roots.
And the multitude of names is phone-book thick. Speer, Maloney, Greenwald, DesLauriers, Makara, Shields — it goes on.
This season, the Buccaneers added another Beattie to the list. And he has the potential to add to the legacy.
Sophomore heavyweight Allan Beattie is set to enter his first individual postseason with seven-time defending WPIAL champion Burrell after spending last season at The Kiski School.
A team manager when this year's seniors were freshmen, Beattie is well aware of the mat greats who have come before him. The No. 2-ranked 285-pounder in Class AA most of the season by Trib Total Media, Beattie takes a 22-8 record into Saturday's Section 3-AA Tournament at Avonworth.
“I think that's the big reason I came back,” Beattie said. “I felt more comfortable. My cousin is here and my old friends are here. I saw them at Ironman and counties (last year). I missed my friends.”
His cousin, Derrick, is a junior who has missed this season with a shoulder injury. Derrick's brother, Brian, is a former standout 215-pounder at Burrell.
“Derrick comes to practice and runs with us; You can see in his eyes he wants to be out there in the worst way,” Allan said. “It'll be great to wrestle with him next year.”
Allan said he talks with Brian, a redshirt freshman at Mercyhurst, at least once a week to discuss each other's progress.
Burrell was glad to see Beattie return to the program.
“Allan grew up with this group of coaches we have,” Burrell coach Bud Sines said. “He had an opportunity to get a really good education at Kiski Prep. I think he saw us make that run against Jefferson-Morgan and Chartiers-Houston (in last season's playoffs). He was in the stands. He missed being here with us.”
Beattie said there was more one-on-one attention in the classroom at Kiski School, a non-WPIAL school in Saltsburg. He's had trouble equaling that concept in wrestling, at least in terms of finding steady and competitive sparring partners.
To fix that, he's worked out against some talented heavyweight wrestlers at The Mat Factory and Bones Wrestling Club, both Alle-Kiski clubs.
Beattie often spars with Franklin Regional's Luke Fleck, Forrest Christman of Slippery Rock and Zach Deluca of Pittsburgh Central Catholic. If that group doesn't get him ready for states, none will.
“He's a big kid in a man's body,” Sines said. “Finding him a really good workout partner has been tough. When you have him going against 195-pounders, practice isn't the same.”
Beattie is glad to be wearing a Burrell uniform. He wasn't exactly relaxed in the one he wore at Kiski — on the mat or in the classroom.
“Hey, if you get a job in business, you have to wear a coat and tie anyways,” Beattie said. “You have to dress the part.”
And speaking of dressing the part, Beattie is back to his comfort clothes. He's traded a blazer and dress slacks for blue jeans and sneakers.
He isn't scared to get his hands dirty when he goes hunting or fishing, or when he works out in the wrestling room in his garage.
“He wears a Carharrt and cowboy boots; we're from Upper Burrell,” his father, Al, said with a laugh. “He is glad to be back with his friends.”
Said Allan: “I have a cowboy hat, too, but don't wear it.”
Not that a year away was a bad thing.
Allan wrestled and played football at Kiski School. He was ranked No. 4 in the country in his weight class and finished eighth at the prep tournament.
“It was a great experience; I learned a lot there,” Beattie said. “The reason I went there was for grades more than anything. If you don't have the grades to get into college, you don't go to college. And you need the grades to pursue a sport.”
Derrick Beattie also is an avid rugby player at Burrell, and apparently has convinced his cousin to try that sport next.
“I already signed up for it,” Allan said. “I have seen my cousin play. It's definitely different. Someone could get seriously hurt, but it looks fun.”
Beattie played offensive tackle and nose guard for the Kiski School and also saw varsity time with the Burrell football team this past season.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the Local Sports Editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.