Valley wrestlers take unprecedented step at PIAA tournament
HERSHEY — Though none of the three stood as high as they'd hoped on the PIAA Class AA medal stand, Valley seniors Marcus Davenport, Patrick Dewitt and Terrell Fields collectively pushed the Vikings wrestling program to an unprecedented height at the individual championships Saturday at Giant Center.
For the first time in team history, Valley had multiple placewinners at the state tournament. Ten Vikings, including Fields, earned PIAA medals before this season, but never in the same season.
Davenport, a first-time PIAA qualifier, finished fourth in the 195-pound weight class to lead Valley's trio. Fields, Davenport's adopted brother, took fifth at 182, improving his spot on the medal stand by one step from a season ago. And Dewitt, who lost his first-round bout Thursday, battled back to place seventh at 126.
Davenport, a middleweight the previous three seasons, bulked up and began to believe in himself with considerable encouragement from his teammates and coaches this winter.
“They're like 90 percent of the reason I'm here,” he said.
While Valley enjoyed an unprecedented number of placewinners, Burrell savored another strong team performance in a season loaded with them. The Bucs, led by senior 152-pound champion Steve Edwards, junior heavyweight third-place finisher Al Beattie and senior 145-pound fifth-place finisher Corey Falleroni, placed fifth in the team standings, the highest of any WPIAL program.
Kittanning added two placewinners — senior 145-pound champ Jason Nolf and sophomore 220-pound fifth-place finisher Jacob Robb — to the Alle-Kiski Valley total in Class AA.
Kiski Area senior heavyweight Shane Kuhn brought home the area's only PIAA medal, as he placed third for a second straight season.