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High School Wrestling

Burrell and Waynesburg Win WPIAL Team Titles in Dominant Fashion



Saturday, the top two teams in both Class-2A and Class-3A met at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania to determine the top team in the WPIAL in each classification. Burrell (Class-2A) and Waynesburg (Class-3A) both cruised to respective WPIAL crowns in matches that weren’t particularly close: No. 1 Burrell (12-1) bested No. 2 Burgettstown (13-1), 38-18, while No. 1 Waynesburg (13-0), throttled No. 2 Seneca Valley (20-2), 67-3.

With the win, the Burrell Buccaneers earned their 15th consecutive WPIAL Class-2A wrestling title on Saturday afternoon, extending their unparalleled reign of dominance in Class-2A. The Bucs’ streak is the longest title reign of any WPIAL wrestling program and second-longest in all sports, now only five years shy of Bethel Park’s boys swimming team, which won 20 consecutive WPIAL titles from 1981-2000.  Burrell has now won 45 straight matches in the WPIAL playoffs.

Arguably the two most impressive performances of the dual came at 189 pounds and 215 pounds, but not for the reasons you may think. In both instances, the winner of each bout not only bumped up two weight classes, but also, they won their respective matches in the most dominant way – by fall.

First, AJ Corrado, the top-ranked wrestler at 160 pounds in Class-2A and a three-time PIAA placewinner, bumped up two weight classes. Still, he managed to score a first-period pin against Blue Devils senior Turner Lehman at 189 pounds.

Then, in an equally impressive way, Burgettstown senior Shane Kemper, ranked No. 2 at 172 pounds, also bumped up two weight classes and scored a first-period pin against Burrell junior Cole Clark at 215 pounds to get the Blue Devils on the board.

Burgettstown freshman Jojo Baronick then made it two in a row with a 5-0 win against Burrell junior Philip Walsh at 285 pounds.

But by that point in the match, the damage was already done. Before the two straight Burgettstown wins, the Burrell Bucs had won the previous six: 138; 145; 152; 160; 172; and 189. Thus, now eight matches in, Burgettstown was trailing 31-9.

From there, top-ranked Bucs freshman Cooper Hornack answered with a 6-0 decision at 106 pounds against Blue Devils freshman Patrick Sentipal, setting the stage for the most exciting match of the dual at 120 pounds, thanks to a Burrell forfeit at 113,  making the score 31-15 with just two bouts remaining.

Burrell sophomore Niko Ferra pulled off a exhilarating 4-3 win against Blue Devils freshman Gaven Suica in the ultimate tiebreaker period. Unfortunately though, the match was decided via penalty point: Suica was called for a third caution penalty when attempting to get off the bottom to start the final overtime period, awarding Ferra the victory and clinching the Bucs’ 17th team title.

The Bucs were victorious nine of the 13 bouts.

In Class-3A, nobody was probably surprised to see Waynesburg take home the title, but few may have expected such a lopsided result, 67-3, in favor of the Raiders of Waynesburg, who won 12 of a possible 13 contests, including six by way of a pin. Waynesburg also had some notable names missing from the mat, including Luca Augustine at 172 pounds.

In rather anticlimactic fashion, Seneca Valley withheld several of its top wrestlers from the dual, including top-ranked 152-pound senior Alejandro Herrera-Rondon and top-ranked 132-pound senior Dylan Chappell, and others.

Herrera-Rondon and Rocco Welsh are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the WPIAL at 152 pounds and have already faced each other twice this year. Herrera-Rondon won both matchups, most recently claiming a 9-4 decision in the finals of the Powerade tournament on Jan. 30.

Waynesburg jumped out to a roaring start at 145, where the match began, and simply never looked back.

Top-ranked senior and Iowa Hawkeye commit,  Wyatt Henson, kicked things off in style for Waynesburg, recording a first-period pin in only 51 seconds against Seneca Valley sophomore Teagan Lighty.  At 152, Welsh then followed with another pin in less than a minute against Seneca Valley senior Andrew Maser, this one coming in just 57 seconds.

Those fast falls proved to be foreshadowing. Waynesburg won the first eight matches of the dual, including four of the first five by way of a fall. Waynesburg racked up six pins overall on the day, with Henson and Welsh being joined by Darnell Johnson, Eli Makel, Ryan Howard and Zander Phaturos.

Sophomore Tyler Chappell, the No. 1 ranked 106-pounder in Class 3A, scored the only victory of the day for Seneca Valley. Chappell put an exclamation point on his win by bumping up to 113 pounds and taking out No. 3-ranked Joe Simon by way of an 8-3 decision. The victory included multiple nearfalls in favor of the Seneca Valley prep.

Waynesburg’s win is the second of the 2021 season over foe Seneca Valley.  Waynesburg also defeated Seneca Valley, 42-12,  at Caviler Duals, hosted by Kiski, Jan 23rd.

Now with back-to-back WPIAL team titles, Waynesburg must press the pause button on the the PIAA team tournament, as the individual postseason tournament comes first. Last year, Waynesburg finished as the PIAA Class-3A runner-up, but the Raiders are among the favorites to emerge from the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with a PIAA team title March 2021.


Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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