Burrell, Shady Side Academy open PIAAs in impressive fashion
HERSHEY - Burrell and Shady Side Academy moved their season-long team wrestling duel to its final venue - the PIAA Class AA individual championships.
Both schools advanced six wrestlers into today's quarterfinals, as they climbed quickly and efficiently to the top of the team standings Thursday at Giant Center.
Shady Side holds a 16-14 edge in team points.
"We've got six guys alive until tomorrow, and everybody is one match closer to being a medalist," Burrell coach Chris Como said. "The main focus is to get as many guys on the (medal) podium as we can.
"This team thing will sort itself out," he said.
Burrell, the WPIAL team champ, displayed its depth again by sweeping its first five matches.
Freshman heavyweight Brian Beattie (34-14) suffered Burrell's only loss in the preliminaries, but he came back in the first round of consolations and defeated Bedford's Josh Krupa, 11-3.
"We're off to a good start," Como said. "We knew coming in we had some good draws and some good opportunities to advance guys. This tournament is all about maintaining your focus, having confidence going into each match and going out and wrestling a complete six minutes. And that's kind of where we're at."
Shady Side also advanced six, but 145-pound wrestler Dave Brown was eliminated after suffering an 11-3 loss to Harbor Creek's Sam Kuhn in the preliminaries and a 12-3 defeat to Claysburg-Kimmel's Matt Aungst in the consolations.
"I feel pretty good about where we're at," Shady Side coach Tim Giel said. "Getting six out of seven through was a pretty good accomplishment for us."
Shady Side sophomore Frank Martellotti, who won the 103-pound state title a year ago, suffered a 4-3 loss in his 112-pound preliminary bout to Boiling Springs' Joe Spisak.
Martellotti needed an injury timeout due to breathing problems but held on for a 4-2 victory in his consolation bout with Reynolds' Adam Matthews.
"It was hard to breathe, but I'm not out of shape," Martellotti said. "Maybe I caught something. Lots of kids on my team have been sick lately."
Martellotti (46-11) returned to states with the added burden of protecting his title.
"I tried not to let if affect me, but the pressure is there," he said. "Everybody is aiming for you. Everybody wants to beat you."
Also at 112 pounds, Burrell's Jeremy Sandowski (36-12) upset Northwest Region champ Derek Brothers (31-4) of Curwensville.
Como said he wasn't surprised when his once-beaten 140-pounder, Jordan Shields (44-1), pinned Tri Valley's Dan Koppenhaver in 1:17 of their preliminary matchup.
"Jordan was just a complete buzzsaw," Como said. "He was non-stop. He transitioned from one scoring move to the next until it resulted in a pretty fast pin.
"I thought, overall, our whole team was ready to go," he said. "If we stay focused, we're going to have an interesting weekend."
Como called Shady Side the favorite for the team title based on their seven qualifiers.
Said Martellotti, "I definitely think we have a shot at the team title. We just have to keep winning matches, and that means I have to do my part and keep wrestling back. I can still finish third, and I want to finish as high as possible."
In AAA matches:
• WPIAL champ and former state placewinner Zack Zummo (38-2) of Plum advanced to today's quarterfinals with a 3-2 decision over Oxford's Jesse Combs at 130 pounds. Zummo will face Central Mountain's Jonathan Quiggle (38-9) next.
• Kiski Area senior Zach Cecchetti (31-7) came back for a 9-7 victory over Plymouth-Whitemarsh's Gavin Reilly in the 112-pound first round consolations. Bellefonte's Mitchell Port pinned Cecchetti in 5:27 of their preliminary bout.
"I had to revamp my goals after losing my first match, but I can still finish third for my best finish at states," Cecchetti said. Cecchetti finished fifth in the state last year.
• Plum junior Cory Bonura (36-8) was eliminated in an 8-6 loss to Nazareth's Ryan Krecker in the first round of consolations. Red Lion's Chris Albright edged Bonura, 4-2, in overtime of their preliminary bout.
At a glanceWhat: PIAA Wrestling Championships
Where: Giant Center, Hershey
AA quarterfinals - 8 a.m.
AA second-round consolations - 9:45 a.m.
AAA quarterfinals - 1 p.m.
AAA second-round consolations - 2:45 p.m.
AA semifinals - 6:30 p.m.
AA third-round consolations - 6:30 p.m.
AA fourth-round consolations - 9 p.m.