Kittanning falls short to Burrell in section wrestling final
Kittanning made its second straight final, but Burrell once again is king of Section 3-AA.
The Bucs won 10 of 14 weight classes and possibly locked up the top seed for the WPIAL Class AA tournament with a 55-19 win over Kittanning in the final of the Section 3-AA championship at Burrell.
Kittanning reached the final by defeating South Allegheny, 55-21, in the semifinal for the second straight season, and Burrell blew past Avonworth, 66-12.
The final proved to be too much for a short-handed Wildcats team, which never led after forfeiting the first two weight classes contested, 126 and 132 pounds.
“Burrell is Burrell, and the goal is always to try and get to the final and wrestle them,” Kittanning coach Brandon Newill said. “When we get the chance, we're going to do everything we can to challenge them.”
For the Bucs, who are the seven-time defending WPIAL Class AA champ, it was their 11th consecutive section title and the first under new head coach Josh Shields.
“We have goals beyond this and beyond a WPIAL title, but it's always nice to start with a section title and do it in sequence,” Shields said.
“We know Kittanning pretty well, and a lot of the guys wrestle at the same club, and we know they're tough kids. Anytime we wrestle Kittanning, we're ready for a scrap.”
Burrell led 22-0 before Jason Nolf picked up three points with a 15-8 decision at 152 pounds over Steven Edwards.
Edwards avoided losing by major decision when he was awarded an escape at the final buzzer, and the disputed call just added to the Wildcats' frustration.
“I'm passionate about my boys, and I'm passionate about the sport. I'm going to fight for every call for my boys,” Newill said.
“That's my job as a coach, and every coach does that.”
Burrell locked up the match with a pin by Robert Scherer at 195 pounds, but Kittanning posted a strong showing in the final bouts.
Jacob Robb, a medalist at 195 pounds in the Powerade Christmas Tournament, wrestled up to 285 pounds and dominated in an 11-1 major decision over Al Beattie, the reigning WPIAL champ at 285.
Jacob Shaner (106) and Brody Trumbull (120) had wins by fall in the closing bouts for the Wildcats.
Although the night didn't end how Kittanning had hoped, the Wildcats helped their seeding for the WPIAL tournament with the win over South Allegheny.
Trumbull started the match with an 11-3 major decision at 120, but the Gladiators pulled out to a 15-4 lead with wins at the next three weights, two of which came by forfeit.
The Wildcats clinched the win by winning the next seven bouts and taking an insurmountable 43-15 lead.
Brandon Ingram (145), Elliot Zydonik (170), Cade Hepner (182), Wyatt Hill (195) and Robb (220) recorded falls, while Nate Vukovich (152) scored a 4-2 decision win and Nolf (160) received a forfeit.
“Getting those (pins) is huge for our guys,” Newill said. “For guys like Wyatt (Hill), a win like that is a big boost of confidence. I thought the boys really wrestled well that first match.”