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Burrell dominates at WCCA tourney

Paul Schofield
| Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008

GREENSBURG - Burrell claimed its first Westmoreland County Coaches' Association wrestling title Saturday night, and Jordan Shields joined an elite group by becoming a three-time champion.

The Bucs had two champions and nine other placewinners in rolling to an easy win at the 55th annual tournament held at Greensburg Salem High School.

Hempfield's Nico Cortese (119) also won his third county title. Cortese and Shields become the 28th and 29th wrestlers to be three-time winners. Shields is the school's first three-time winner.

"The wrestlers in Westmoreland are some of the best in the state," Shields said. "I know every time I step on the mat I'm going to be challenged. I'm pretty happy becoming a three-time champion."

Shields won his third crown with a 5-1 victory over Devan Jones of Penn-Trafford.

"I love it when wrestlers try different things against me," Shields said. "I have to be prepared for anything."

Shields helped Burrell win its first team title with 230 points. The Bucs' other champion was Shane Welsh, who won his second title. The Bucs had six wrestlers in the finals. Last year's winner, Hempfield, finished second with 179 1/2 points and Kiski Area finished third with 159.

The other wrestlers to defend titles were Penn-Trafford junior Shane Young (112), Kiski School senior Brock Livorio (130), Belle Vernon senior Donnie Tasser (152), Norwin senior Mike Salopek (189), Hempfield senior T.J. Valore (215) and Mt. Pleasant's Paul Snyder (285).

Welsh earned his second title by pinning Hempfield's Jack Bachman. Tasser rolled to an 8-2 win over Burrell's Bob Speer, Salopek downed Burrell's Derek Edwards, Valore eased by Burrell's Lou Gardone, 11-5, and Snyder toppled Norwin's Brad Rodgers, 5-1.

Welsh recorded four pins in winning his second title.

"Winning a second title is nice, but helping the team win its first title is more important," Welsh said. "We've been close before, but it's nice to finally win it. It was a great team effort."

Burrell coach Chris Como said he was proud of the team's effort.

"Personally, I like individuals stuff," Como said. "But if the individuals do well, the team stuff takes care of itself. Every wrestler who participated in the tournament let their opponent know they were in a battle. We were prepared."

Kiski Area had nine placewinners, but no champions. Zach Cecchetti (112) and Tony Clark (140) lost in the finals.

Young (17-0) claimed his second county title when he defeated Cecchetti, 5-2, in the 112-pound final. Clark was pinned by John Regan of Kiski School. Regan is from Plum.

Livorio edged Joey Walters of Latrobe, 3-1, in the only rematch in the finals. Walters took a 1-0 lead on an escape, but Livorio got a second-period escape and then got an escape to secure the victory. Livorio won, 1-0, last year.

Two freshmen - Nico Megaludis of Franklin Regional and Travis Shaffer of Derry - turned in impressive performances at their first county tournament.

Megaludis (19-0) earned his first county title with a solid 6-1 victory against Burrell freshman Dave Makara. Megaludis took control of a close match in the third period when he secured a takedown and then scored a three-point nearfall with a cradle.

Shaffer (24-3) used his quickness in a dominating 12-5 win against Kiski School senior Ian McLaughlin (Butler).

Other first time winners were Hempfield's Jake Kemerer (160) and Belle Vernon's P.J. Tasser (171).

Valley finished in 13th place with 53 1/2 points. Kyle Dudley placed third at 189 pounds and Mike Kuhns finished fourth at 160.

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