Burrell senior DesLauriers dominates, makes PIAA final
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HERSHEY — Another day, another Dakota DesLauriers victory — two, actually.
In fairly low-drama fashion, DesLauriers, Burrell's senior 182-pounder, advanced to the PIAA Class AA championship bout for a second straight season Friday night. He followed a 4-1 win over Lancaster Catholic junior Stephen Loiseau in the quarterfinals in the morning with a 9-1 win over Saegertown sophomore Dylan Reynolds.
DesLauriers, a three-time state medalist, will go for his first gold against Muncy senior Troy Hembury in the finals, which begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at Giant Center in Hershey.
“It's not like the kids aren't good,” said DesLauriers, who improved to 35-0 this season. “I'm just showing a dominant style, forcing my will on opponents who are top level also. I'm extremely motivated.”
DesLauriers, a PIAA runner-up last season, partially attributed the quarterfinal result to mental distraction. The scouting report on Loiseau lingered in his head.
“I was real hesitant because I heard he's a scrambler, and ‘Watch because he'll do rolls and funky stuff,' ” DesLauriers said. “I was more worried about his offense than my own. So I said (for the semifinal), ‘No more scouting reports. I'm just going to wrestle my match.' ”
While DesLauriers hopes to deliver Burrell a state title, senior Phil Marra aims to bring home a bronze. Marra, at 145 pounds, opened against Pen Argyl senior Michael Racciato, a returning state champion. He hung close with Racciato for about two periods but faded, losing 11-3 Thursday.
On Friday, Marra marched his way through the consolation bracket with three victories. The win that put him in the third-place bout required nothing more than a few steps on the mat. Marra's opponent, Williamson sophomore Billy Barnes, suffered a major injury during his semifinal-round bout and left the floor on a stretcher, so Marra won by injury default.
“I put myself in the position to get that opportunity,” said Marra, who will wrestle Tri Valley senior Blake Bowman for third. “It didn't just come to me. I had to earn it.
Burrell junior Steve Edwards (138 pounds) will wrestle the WPIAL champion, Charleroi junior Nick Gavazzi, for fifth place. Valley junior Terrell Fields (182) will try to place fifth by beating Lancaster Catholic's Loiseau.
Fields lost by pin in the quarterfinals Friday, but he bounced back with a 4-0 win over Meyersdale junior Gavin Berkley and a 3-1 win over Canton junior Garrett Wesneski. His 5-2 loss to Saegertown's Reynolds dropped him into the fifth-place match.
Kittanning junior Jason Nolf (132) will wrestle Keystone Oaks senior Nick Zanetta for a title for the fourth straight weekend. And Kittanning senior Zac Croyle (195) will go for fifth.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
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