Burrell (11-5) survived a nail-biter in the semifinals, but then rolled to a 48-17 victory in the championship match over Freedom to win the 2016 WPIAL Class AA team wrestling championship on Saturday afternoon at Chartiers-Houston High School. The Buccaneers have now won ten straight District 7 team championships and it was the twelfth title for the program overall.
Burrell won the first six bouts against the Bulldogs to build an insurmountable 30-0 lead. The Bucs recorded five falls by Dylan Jeffrey (138 pounds), Corey Christie (145), Shaun Gates (160), Robert Scherer (220) and Dan McCarthy (113). Freedom’s only pin was turned in by Bryson Miller (182). Also recording bonus points for Burrell were Ethan Awes (technical fall at 132) and Anthony Marra (major decision at 170). Senior Damon Greenwald won a key decision at 152 pounds, 13-7, over Freedom’s Kody Komara in a battle of highly ranked grapplers.
Burrell advanced to the finals because of the heroics of Trent Bechtold. Leading only 29-27 entering the final bout at 120 pounds, the Bucs’ sophomore earned two third period takedowns to defeat South Fayette’s Jasper Wolfe, 5-2, to give Burrell a 32-27 semifinal win. Freedom’s semifinal match also came down to the final bout. With Derry in the lead 34-32, a battle of freshman at 120 pounds decided the outcome. The Bulldog’s Jacob Pail made a second period takedown stand up for a narrow 3-1 win over the Trojans’ Onreey Stewart to give Freedom (15-2) a 35-34 triumph.
Burrell advances to the PIAA Class AA team championships at the GIANT Center in Hershey beginning Thursday. The Bucs’ first round opponent will be Lake-Lehman, the District 2 champion. South Fayette (16-7) beat Derry (16-4), 39-26, in the third place match to also advance to the state playoffs. Freedom and South Fayette both qualify for preliminary round state playoff matches on Monday night. Freedom will host the District 10 third-place team, Greenville, while South Fayette will travel to face the District 10 runner-up, Fort LeBeouf. The winner of the preliminary matches will also move on to Hershey next weekend.
2016 WPIAL Class AA Championship Match:
Burrell Buccaneers 48 – Freedom Bulldogs 17
132 – Ethan Awes, B technical fall Brett Johnston, 15-0 at 4:35
138 – Dylan Jeffrey, B fall Mike Muron, 1:21
145 – Corey Christie, B fall Ian Moran, 0:23
152 – Damon Greenwald, B decision Kody Komara, 13-7
160 – Shaun Gates, B fall Levi Bonzo, 2:32
170 – Anthony Marra, B major decision Dean Ward, 9-1
182 – Bryson Miller, F fall Nico Barone, 1:02
195 – Alex Bellinotti, B decision Randy Simmons, 3-0
220 – Robert Scherer, B fall Nick Wolf, 0:49
285 – Alex Moses, B decision Evan Sweesey, 3-1 *
106 – Zach Ward, F decision Bryan Gaul, 9-6
113 – Dan McCarthy, B fall Gordon Kalamasz, 2:52
120 – Jacob Pail, F decision Trent Bechtold, 4-3
126 – Chase Komara, F forfeit
* – 1 team point deducted for Freedom, unsportsmanlike conduct