Bedford provides preview of team tourney

January 23, 2014

Normally, the Bedford Wrestling Tournament is a good opportunity for some WPIAL Class AA wrestlers to size up the competition for the upcoming Southwest Region Tournament in Johnstown Feb. 28.

Many of the 28 teams in the Bedford Tournament compete in the region.

Who knew it might also serve as a preview for the WPIAL Team Tournament?

Three of the top four teams – No. 1 Burrell, No. 2 South Fayette and No. 3 Jefferson-Morgan – will compete in the Bedford event, which begins this morning.

And you can be sure a lot of notes will be taken, along with some video, over the two-day tournament.

It will come in handy for these three teams, which could run into each other in the WPIAL Team Tournament, which begins Monday with Class AAA pigtail matches.

“We’ll get a good look at Burrell and Jefferson-Morgan,” said South Fayette head coach Rick Chaussard. “We’ll get a chance to see a lot of their wrestlers.”

Burrell has won a WPIAL-record seven consecutive Class AA team titles, and will receive a bye in the first round of the team tournament. South Fayette and Jefferson-Morgan are in the bottom half of the bracket and can meet no earlier than the semifinals.

“I didn’t like it,” Jefferson-Morgan head coach Mike Lesko said of the pairings. “They separated the first- and second-place teams from the section tournaments, and that made a tough bottom bracket.”

The Rockets, coming off their fourth consecutive team section championship, will host one of the pods and drew Valley in the tournament’s first round. Yough takes on Kittanning in the other dual meet.

All Class AA action begins Wednesday.

Another host, South Fayette, will battle Southmoreland, and Avella meets Bentworth in the other match in the pod. For the Lions, the Section 1 champion, it’s been a busy month.

“From Jan. 2 to Jan. 11, we wrestled 13 dual meets,” said Chaussard.

The 17-0 Lions got a late start because of football and rescheduled some events. That left back-to-back weekends of dual competitions at Valley and South Side Beaver that produced 10 dual meets.

In Class AAA, Franklin Regional, the No. 1 team in the O-R’s Wrestling Rankings, got the top seed and Latrobe was No. 2. Canon-McMillan, which has won a record four straight Class AAA team tournament titles, drew the No. 3 seed. North Allegheny was fourth.

The top four seeds host their pods with first-round and quarterfinal action starting Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The Big Macs, who won their 14th straight section title and 35th in school history, take a 14-0 record into their first-round match against the winner of Monday night’s pigtail round between Ringgold and Plum.

The semifinals will be at Norwin High School Friday with 6 and 7:30 p.m. dual meets in both classifications.

The finals will be held at Chartiers Valley High School with Class AA at 4 p.m. and Class AAA at 6:30 p.m.

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling. He has worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jeannette News-Dispatch and North Hills Record. He graduated from Duquesne University in 1980.

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