Burrell rebounds to finish 3rd in PIAA Class AA wrestling
HERSHEY — When Burrell lost to Hamburg in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA wrestling team championships Thursday, Bucs coach Josh Shields told his team their goal was still achievable.
That's because when Shields was a junior at Burrell, the team he wrestled for was in the same position and came back to finish third.
Well, the 2014 Burrell wrestling team matched what Shields and his teammates did in 2005 by finishing third in the state.
Burrell won five consecutive matches, including three Saturday at Giant Center to earn the third-place trophy.
The Bucs (17-4) defeated District 6 champion Huntingdon (31-27), District 3 runner-up Hamburg (42-22) and District 3 champion Boiling Springs (45-20) to complete their run through the consolation bracket.
Franklin Regional defeated Latrobe, 37-23, to capture the Class AAA title and give Westmoreland County wrestling something to brag about. Bethlehem Catholic won its fourth consecutive Class AA title, defeating Reynolds, 41-15.
Burrell, the eight-time defending WPIAL team champion, had lost to Hamburg, 35-33, on Thursday.
“It was my job as a coach to light a fire under the guys,” Shields said. “I told them we were better than these teams. We can do this. It was a wake-up call for them.
“I told them to try to use each match as their last and they did. I told them it was do or die.”
Huntingdon turned out to be the toughest match of the day.
Burrell raced out to a 21-0 lead on a 1-0 win by Robert Scherer (195) in overtime, pins by Corey Arabia (220) and Dean Edwards (106) and a forfeit to Allan Beattie (285).
Clinging to a 24-18 lead, Burrell clinched the win with a major decision by Steven Edwards (152) and a win by Derrick Beattie (160).
“I told them these state medals are not for me or the coaches,” Shields said. “It's memories for them that will last a lifetime. I asked them what memories do you want to last from this team.
“I could see it in their eyes that they came together. Not as a team, but as a family. They wanted third place more than anything.”
Against Hamburg, Burrell won 10 of 14 matches, including the first four to build a 15-0 lead. Dillan Jeffery (113) had a pin during the run.
After Hamburg closed to within 18-10, the Bucs strung together consecutive wins by Damon Greenwald (138), Falleroni, Edwards, Derrick Beattie and Nick Pattock (170) to clinch the win.
In the Boiling Springs, match pins by Allan Beattie (285) and Jeffery put the Bucs up 12-3.
Boiling Springs rallied to grab a 17-15 lead, but consecutive wins by Falleroni, Edwards, Derrick Beattie, Nick Pattock and Alex Moses (182) quieted the pro Boiling Springs crowd.
“I told them to give us another chance,” Shields said. “That's what they did. I couldn't name a list of heroes; they were all heroes from 106 to heavyweight. They all had huge wins for us.”