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High School Wrestling

Five WPIAL Wrestlers Earn Gold at PIAA Wrestling AA Individual Championships

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Hershey, Pa. — Five wrestlers from the WPIAL reigned PIAA supreme, taking home gold at the Giant Center at the PIAA Wrestling AA Individual Championships on Friday, March 12, 2021. Burrell took home third place as a team with a state champion and pair of silver finishers.

The first WPIAL student-athlete crowned state champion at was South Park senior Joey Fischer who won a 3-2 decision over Muncy’s Scott Johnson in the 126 pound weight class. After a runner-up finish last year, Fischer goes out on top with gold.

Fischer, who will wrestle collegiately at Clarion, trusted his coaches philosophy to take him from runner-up in 2020 to champion in 2021, saying that taking his focus off of winning and putting it into being the best he can be on and off the mat, every day.

At 152, Laurel sophomore Grant Mackay was determined to make more than a PIAA appearance as he did in his freshman season. Mackay earned his 40th win of the season (40-3) and came away with his school’s first ever individual state wrestling gold, earning a 1-0 decision with a second period escape over Hamburg’s Dalton Gimbor.

After getting the gold around his neck, Mackay said that weight was exactly what he wanted to bring back to Laurel as the first champion and said the Spartans are building a wrestling culture not just to be great, but to win.

Frazier freshman Rune Lawrence ended a phenomenal first varsity season with PIAA gold, the third ever state champion and fifth medal in school history for Frazier, with the previous all won by Rune’s older brother Thayne.

This was a close bout at 172, as Lawrence took the early lead 3-2 in the first period. Lawrence picked up an escape and a takedown in the second before Penns Valley’s Malachi DuVall battled back to score five points and take the 7-6 lead. Lawrence picked up a point late in the second to tie things up. With overtime looking, Lawrence wrapped up DuVall and earned two points with a nearfall with just 5 seconds left, to snatch the gold. He celebrated by throwing his head coach Buck Watkins to the mat. Lawrence caps his first campaign with a state title and 30-1 overall record.

Burrell senior A.J. Corrado went to overtime with Midd-West’s Avery Bassett at 160, and quickly pancaked Bassett to pin and win, erupting in a huge celebration with his coaches, as the team secured a top 3 finish with his golden performance.

In addition to Corrado’s gold, Burrell was well represented, in the finals and placed third overall as a team. The Bucs earned pair of silver finishes from freshman Cooper Hornack (106) and senior Ian Oswalt (138). Hornack squared off with fellow freshman Louie Gill of Hickory in the final and lost a 6-2 decision.

Burrell senior Ian Oswalt met a familiar nemesis, District 6 champion, Glendale senior Brock McMillen in the finals. Oswalt was runner-up to McMillen in the 2020 Championship bout and history repeated itself for Oswalt who lost a 1-0 decision after McMillen earned a single escape point. Oswalt finished in the top 5 all four years at Burrell.

Finally, after missing last year’s tournament, 2019 state champion Mount Pleasant’s Dayton Pitzer won gold once again with two takedowns in a 6-1 decision over Montoursville’s Dylan Bennett.

PIAA Individual Tournament Championships conclude with AAA action and a host of WPIAL athletes competing on Saturday.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
 
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