Burrell's DesLauriers tops rival to win third WPIAL wrestling title
Among the many battles they've waged during the last two years, the 182-pound final-round bout between Burrell senior Dakota DesLauriers and Valley junior Terrell Fields at Saturday night's WPIAL Class AA individual championships ranked first in thrills.
DesLauriers broke a scoreless tie with an escape nine seconds into the third period and maintained the momentum during a 5-1 win, which delivered DesLauriers his third WPIAL title. Fields finished second in the WPIAL again — he lost by pin to DesLauriers last season.
“Every time we wrestle, it gets closer,” said DesLauriers, who pinned Fields in the finals of last week's Section 3-AA tournament and also topped him decisively at last season's section and PIAA Southwest Regional tournament. “He knows my next move, and I know his next move.”
Fields closed the gap to 3-1 with 48 seconds left in the match, but DesLauriers scored a takedown late to create a better cushion.
“I'm just building my confidence for next week, when hopefully I'll see him again,” Fields said. “I'm going to try to not let him get in good scoring position. … He's heavy on the head, he's great on top, and he just takes it to another level at this stage.”
Burrell finished with three champions; no other team had multiple winners.
Senior Phil Marra (145 pounds) upset the weight class' defending champion, Chartiers-Houston senior Tanner Sutton, 5-0, in the finals.
“I knew he's a scrambler, but I'm fine with that because I've been around scramblers all my life,” said Marra, who placed third in the WPIAL at 138 a season ago. “I was more worried about him being stronger than me, but honestly, I out-strengthed him.”
And sophomore heavyweight Al Beattie, who wrestled at the independent Kiski School a season ago, concluded his WPIAL tournament debut by pinning Southmoreland freshman Jacob Beistel in the third period of their championship bout.
“The first period, I started picking up on a couple little things with his footwork,” said Beattie, who trailed, 1-0, after two periods. “I was definitely surprised (by the pin). I knew it was going to be a battle. I thought it'd end up going to overtime.”
In addition to Fields, senior Josiah Hughes (120) represented Valley in a championship match. But Hughes ran into a defending champion — South Side Beaver senior Nathan Reckner — who won, 7-0.
Kittanning junior Jason Nolf joined DesLauriers as the tournament's other third-time title winner. In a rematch of the Section 3-AA final, Nolf edged Keystone Oaks' Nick Zanetta, 3-0.
Zanetta lost, 1-0, a week ago. The rematch resembled the first encounter, as Nolf and Zanetta remained scoreless through two periods. But Nolf escaped 19 seconds into the third period and then scored a late takedown.
“I had to keep my pace up and hand-fight more, create more opportunities for myself,” Nolf said. “He had more offense, too. He shot a lot more and hand-fought more.”
The top seven finishers in each weight class advance to the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament, which begins Friday at the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown.
Aside from the finalists, others regional qualifiers included Burrell's Damon Greenwald (fifth at 126), J.R. Andrejcik (third at 132) and Steve Edwards (third at 138); Highlands' Nolan Wise (fifth at 138); Kittanning's Zac Croyle (third at 195); and Valley's Jihad Ratliff (third at 106), Pat Dewitt (fourth at 126) and Marcus Davenport (sixth at 160).