Burrell wrestlers falter in PIAA opening match again
HERSHEY – Burrell coach Josh Shields was looking forward to sleeping Friday.
But those plans were changed by District 3 runner-up Hamburg, which upset Burrell, 35-33, during a second-round match at the PIAA Class AA wrestling team championships at Giant Center.
Now Burrell must wrestle at 8 a.m.
Opening-round woes continued for eight-time defending WPIAL champion Burrell, which lost its opening PIAA match for the third consecutive season.
“We tried to de-emphasis the whole WPIAL title thing this year,” Shields said. “It didn't work. We can't seem to find a way to win that first match.
“I told them my sophomore year we lost the first match and came all the way back to finish third. It is doable, but it's up to these kids. It's been their goal to finish top four in the state, we'll see Friday morning.”
Hamburg (24-5) won the first four matches and built a 17-0 lead.
“We wrestled hard and tried to create the best matchups,” Hamburg coach Derek Sola said. “The early wins were big, especially when we fell behind in two of them.
“We knew for us to have any chance we had to win those matches (132 and 138). Both (Chris Kummerer and Nick Oswald) came up big for us.”
Shields was surprised his team stumbled early.
“We needed a couple wins from 126 to 138,” Shields said. “No way did I think we'd lose all four of them.”
Burrell rallied to take a 21-17 lead on consecutive pins by Corey Falleroni (145), Steven Edwards (152) and Derrick Beattie (160), and a decision by Nick Pattock (170).
But just as quick as they took the lead, the Bucs found themselves starring at a 32-21 deficit as Hamburg won the next three matches, one by pin and one by forfeit.
Shields gambled by bumping up Robert Scherer to 220 and forfeiting the 195-pound match to Austin Bashore. But Hamburg's Logan Lackey, who weighed in at 219.7 pounds, used his size to overmatch the smaller Scherer, who weighed in 193.1. Lackey won 5-2.
“Lackey's size was the difference in the 220 match,” Sola said. “It came down to that our big guys got more bonus points than theirs.”
A pin by Burrell's Allan Beattie (285) cut the lead to 32-28, but Hamburg's Romeo Eaddy held on to defeat Dean Edwards, 13-9, at 106 pounds to clinch the victory.
For Burrell to reach its goal of finishing in the top four in the state, the Bucs have to win four consecutive matches in the consolation round, beginning 8 a.m. Friday against District 2 champion Western Wayne (14-13).
“I liked our position in the bracket; we just didn't take advantage of it,” Shields said. “We didn't wrestle 14 hard matches (today).”
In other action, South Fayette lost to Huntingdon, 43-15; Bethlehem Catholic blanked Lower Moreland, 73-0; Brookville defeated Western Wayne, 55-12; Fort LeBoeuf beat Towanda, 44-19; Chestnut Ridge downed Montoursville, 37-22; Boiling Springs ripped Redbank Valley, 53-15; and Reynolds beat Saucon Valley, 34-16.