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High School Sports

Burrell avenges loss

| Thursday, Jan. 8, 2004

In a rematch of last season's WPIAL Class AA team championship match, Burrell's Jon Keller nailed a first-period pin and propelled the Bucs to a 42-30 win over defending champion Mt. Pleasant in Section 1-AA action at Burrell High School on Wednesday night.

In last year's AA championship, Keller got pinned in the third period of the final bout as Mt. Pleasant edged Burrell, 32-31.

"I remembered that match last year," said Keller, who pinned Ryan Bann in the 215-pound bout last night.

"That kept me motivated. I was confident. I know I worked hard all summer. I knew I had improved enough."

Keller's victory was an emotional boost for Burrell, which rolled to an 18-0 lead and then held off Mt. Pleasant in front of a large home crowd.

Burrell, ranked No. 1 in WPIAL Class AA by the Tribune-Review, improved to 6-0 in section competition and 6-1 overall.

The Bucs are the only undefeated team in Section 1-AA. They have three section contests left and can recapture the 1-AA title by winning out.

Last year, Burrell finished second to Mt. Pleasant in the section standings. Before that, the Bucs had won three consecutive section titles.

Mt. Pleasant slipped to 4-2 in the section.

Burrell coach Chris Como said the win over Mt. Pleasant was a morale booster as the Bucs continue to pursue their first WPIAL title since 1997.

"They are they returning WPIAL champs," Como said of Mt. Pleasant. "Regardless if they are down a little or they have guys out with injuries, you have to beat the champion to become the champ. That's how important this match was to us.

"We owed this team. They beat us by a combined score of five points in two matches last season."

Mt. Pleasant wrestled without one starter who is injured.

"They're very balanced," Mears said of Burrell. "They don't have two state qualifiers like they did last year, but they have a good kid at every weight. That makes them a good dual meet team."

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