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Burrell wrestling team routs Ellwood City in playoff opener

Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Burrell's Nick Pattock (top) attempts to pin Ellwood City's J.T. Badelli during the 170-pound match Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, at Burrell. Pattock won by technical fall, 23-6.

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By George Guido
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, 11:03 p.m.

The Burrell wrestling team took its first step toward an unprecedented eighth consecutive WPIAL Class AA team title with a 66-9 quarterfinal victory over Ellwood City.

Four straight first-period pins in the middle weights Wednesday night put the Bucs in the driver's seat.

John Andrejcik (132 pounds), Jason David (138), Corey Falleroni (145) and Steven Edwards (152) each recorded one of Burrell's nine pins.

Ellwood City defeated South Allegheny, 48-27, in a first-round match on the Burrell mat.

The No. 1-seeded Bucs earned a first-round bye.

Burrell (10-3) will face Burgettstown in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday at Norwin.

The Bulldogs defeated Avonworth and Chartiers-Houston in Wednesday's action.

“Every day at practice, these kids all work hard and try to get better,” Bucs first-year coach Josh Shields said.

“There were some bumps in the road — we faced some great competition in the WPIAL duals and the Powerade — but these kids are so resilient. It was a complete match effort tonight.”

“They're tough,” Wolverines coach Craig Alberts said. “We came in with high expectations, but they've proven they live up to their reputation. Our hats are off to them.”

Ellwood City actually had a lead at one point.

After Brad Grinnen won by forfeit at 195, Mike Sinclair (220) defeated Corey Arabia, 1-0, in the most competitive bout. Sinclair scored on an escape.

Sinclair, a junior, recorded his 19th pin of the season earlier in the evening against South Allegheny to improve to 23-4 this season.

“He's having a great season,” Alberts said. “He's been wrestling since elementary school, and last year, he had a decent season, but this year he's really stepped up.”

After Allan Beattie decisioned Adam Foreman, 8-2, at 285, Burrell took the lead for good when Dean Edwards pinned Tyler Alberts at 106.

For Falleroni, a fourth WPIAL title in four years as a varsity wrestler remains his focus.

“It would be awesome to be a four-time WPIAL champion,” Falleroni said.

“It's a great tradition here, and all the wrestlers here have helped me to become the wrestler that I am.”

Falleroni is rated third at 145 in this week's Trib Total Media rankings, while Edwards is No. 1 at 152.

“There's always big shoes to fill here at Burrell,” Edwards said. “Growing up here, Burrell's such a tight community, and I try to help out with the youth program.”

Other Burrell wrestlers collecting pins were sophomore Alex Moses and freshman Anthony Marra.

The WPIAL team finals are slated for 4 p.m. Saturday at Chartiers Valley.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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