ShareThis Page

BVA wrestler Bell earns All-American title

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 12:56 a.m.
Belle Vernon Area's Austin Bell placed sixth in his division to be honored with the title of All-American at a national wrestling tournament on July 22, 2013.
Submitted photo
Belle Vernon Area's Austin Bell placed sixth in his division to be honored with the title of All-American at a national wrestling tournament on July 22, 2013.

The wrestling lineage at Belle Vernon Area dates back to the Johnson brothers in the 1970s, and along the way there have been several stand out grapplers like John Jolley, the Weslager brothers, and the Tasser brothers.

And while several wrestlers have placed in action over the years at both the WPIAL and PIAA tournaments, no BVA wrestler has ever garnered the honor of being named an All-American in Freestyle wrestling.

That was, until last week.

Rising BVA sophomore Austin Bell took sixth place at 160 pounds in the USA Wrestling Cadet Freestyle Championships in Fargo, N.D.

The championships featured wrestlers from all 50 states, and the top eight in each weight class garnered the honor of All-American.

What does the accolade mean to Bell?

“It means that my hard work has paid off and it means a lot because there have been several great wrestlers from Belle Vernon.

“This tournament was a step up in competition and there were some really great (wrestlers).”

To qualify, Bell placed third at the Pennsylvania Wrestling Federation State Freestyle Championships at the beginning of June.

Last week in Fargo, Bell started out on fire.

After pinning Missouri's Dalton Lewis in 3:30 in the first round, Bell scored three straight technical falls in rounds two through four by a combined score of 44-11.

After losing in the fifth round to the eventual winner of the bracket, Mark Hall of Colorado, Bell scored another technical fall win in the sixth round over Dalton Hahn of Wisconsin, 11-1.

A technical fall is when a wrestler scores a victory by ten or more points.

After falling to eventual third place winner Josh Ugalde of New Jersey in the seventh round, Bell dropped his round eight bout to Brandon Dallavia also of New Jersey in the fifth/sixth place consolation bout.

Bell has been training during the offseason at the Odyssey Wrestling Academy in Charleroi with Jason Weslager and Mel Gray, and Weslager did not hesitate in showing his pride in Bell's accomplishment.

“This is the toughest tournament in the United States and this is a huge deal for Austin to place,” Weslager said. “A handful of other BVA wrestlers have competed over the years, but none have placed ... “He is the first and I am so proud of him. All of the hard work this summer has paid off and it should give him some momentum leading into the high school season.”

For now, Bell will take a break from the mat.

He is gearing up for football camp with the Leopards, where he started at inside linebacker a year ago as a freshman and also saw time at running back.

Then Bell will return home to the mat, where a year ago he went 35-9, placed third in the section, made it to the WPIALs and looks to improve upon that performance in the coming season.

“This year the goal is to make it to Hershey (for the PIAA tournament),” he said. “I am definitely looking forward to the season.”

Bill Hughes is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.