Burrell's DesLauriers named Valley News Dispatch wrestler of the year
Burrell senior Dakota DesLauriers' win in the PIAA Class AA individual championships' 182-pound weight class title bout added to the debate about which member of his family is the top wrestler.
DesLauriers, a Mercyhurst recruit who previously finished sixth, third and second before he beat Muncy's Troy Hembury, 3-1, in March at the Giant Center in Hershey, became the fifth Burrell wrestler to win a state title, but he was the first to do it in undefeated fashion, as he concluded his season 36-0.
Was that enough to convince his family — particularly his uncle Joel, who became Burrell's first PIAA champion in 1997 — that he deserved the DesLauriers crown? Not really, the senior said.
But his achievements, which included a career record of 152-14, did enough to earn him the Valley News Dispatch's Wrestler of the Year for 2013.
Have you ever wrestled Joel?
I've rolled around with him a little bit, but he's not much anymore. He still has (the skills), but he doesn't do the wind sprints that he used to. He does about two minutes of wrestling time, and that's about it.
So who's the better wrestler, you or Joel?
We were arguing about this the other day. He texted me and said, ‘Congratulations, but I still had one less loss than you.' He pulled out the win percentage, and I think I beat him by .2. I think mine was like a 93.5, and his was a 93.3. It's an ongoing battle. Obviously, I'm going to say I'm a better wrestler. … If I ever win a national title (at Mercyhurst), that might decide it.
What was the meal you ate to celebrate your season and title?
I wanted Mountain Dew; it's my favorite. So a two liter of Mountain Dew and fast food — a Baconater (from Wendy's).
What's your opinion on the possible elimination of wrestling from the Olympics?
It's definitely disappointing. I hope it comes back. I don't think it can stay that way. It was one of the original sports. It's like taking track away from the Olympics — you just can't do that. It's taking away a tradition, and I'm very big on maintaining tradition. Also, there's a big wrestling community, and you're taking a lot away from those people. It's not like basketball. Basketball is in the Olympics, but after college, you can also go to the NBA. It's not like there's a wrestling NBA. You can go WWE, but that's not the same thing.
Do you have any Olympic aspirations?
It's never out of the question, but right now, that's not my main focus.
What's a unique skill you have that's unrelated to wrestling?
I'd say slacklining. It's another Mercyhurst thing. It's kind of like tightrope walking. … I got pretty good at it over the summer.
Where do you even practice that?
My dad owns a landscaping company, so he has a bunch of ratchet straps. You just hook them to two trees. … We just put it off the ground about 3 or 4 feet.
Can you bounce on it?
I'm not that good at it yet. But I can walk on it. I can walk backwards on it. I learned to jump onto it.
Is there a story behind your first name?
Our family is partially Native American. (His parents) looked up the Dakota tribe, I guess. And it was just an uncommon name.
Did coach Bud Sines, being that he's a retired dentist, ever talk to you guys about dental health?
Yes. When we got our candy bags for making it to states, I don't think he was very happy with that.
Do you think you'll ever coach?
Yeah, I'd like to do that. … I actually do a little bit of coaching now. After states, I helped coach some youth guys at Areas. I'm still learning a little bit: When I'm coaching the youth guys, I'll yell moves that I know — more advanced moves. But I'm not sure some of them know the moves. I scream them anyhow. You have to really break things down, tell them, ‘Take this kid's arm and throw it that way.' ”
2012-13 record: 36-10
Transfer from The Kiski School secured Section 3-AA, WPIAL and Southwest Region titles in debut season at Burrell. Pinned 24 opponents.
2012-13 record: 30-14
Stocky but shifty senior reached PIAA Class AA semifinals before loss to eventual champion and finished sixth in state. Won Section 3 gold and took third in WPIAL.
2012-13 record: 36-12
PIAA Class AA tournament qualifier placed third in Southwest Region after one-point loss to eventual champion in semifinals. Also claimed Section 3 title.
2012-13 Record: 43-10
Consolation bracket beast overcame early losses in WPIAL, Southwest Region and PIAA Class AA tournaments to place third, third and sixth.
2012-13 record: 38-13
Valley's highest state placewinner since 2005, he took sixth in PIAA Class AA. Also placed third in the Southwest Region, and lost to state champ Dakota DesLauriers of Burrell in WPIAL finals.
Kiski Area, Jr.
2012-13 record: 42-1
Unbeaten until the PIAA Class AAA semifinals, he placed third after a loss to the eventual champion, one of the country's top heavyweights. Won WPIAL and Section 1 titles.
Kiski Area, Sr.
2012-13 record: 34-5
Standout made Westmoreland County and Section 1-AAA finals — PIAAthird-place finisher Josh Shields of Franklin Regional stood in his way both times. Took fourth inWPIAL.
Fox Chapel, Sr.
2012-13 record: 30-7
Heavyweight made Allegheny County and Section 3-AAA finals and advanced to WPIAL semifinals. Pinned 20 opponents.
2012-13 record: 32-10
First-time WPIAL champion fought back from opening-round PIAA Class AA tournament loss to place fourth in state. Also claimed Section 3 championship.
Kiski Area, Sr.
2012-13 record: 37-2
Penn State recruit was ranked No. 1 in the country by Intermat during season. Placed second in WPIAL, PIAA Class AAA.
2012-13 record: 45-0
PIAA Class AA champion for a second time, he improved to 132-1 in his career and became Kittanning's first multi-time state title winner. Pinned 31 opponents.
Kiski Area, Fr.
2012-13 record: 31-11
Youngster won by pinfall in 17 matches, claimed the Section 1-AAA title and reached the WPIAL semifinals.
Burrell, Jr., 132, 31-11
Plum, Sr., 220, 28-11
Burrell, Jr., 152, 22-5
Burrell, Fr., 126, 27-15
Kiski Area, Jr., 120, 26-7
Valley, Sr., 120, 33-13
Kittanning, Sr., 152, 34-11
Valley, Jr., 160, 27-12
Valley, Fr., 106, 29-11
Kiski Area, Sr., 152, 26-8
Highlands, Jr., 138, 18-11
Plum, Fr., 120, 27-14