West Xtra: Burgettstown junior repeats as WPIAL champ

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Early in his high school career, Burgettstown's Austin McDermitt couldn't seem to get over the hump against Southmoreland's Austin Griffiths.

But now, it's McDermitt who has the upper hand in the rivalry.

The Blue Devils junior defeated Griffiths, 6-0, to win the WPIAL Class AA final at Chartiers Valley Saturday.

It was the second consecutive district title for McDermitt (36-2), who defeated Griffiths, 9-1, in last season's 106-pound championship match. Prior to the 2013 WPIAL title match, Griffiths (30-3) had won all six meetings between the two wrestlers.

But that first victory has given McDermitt confidence.

"I think it has, definitely," McDermitt said. "I mean after WPIALs, he beat me at regionals, but I just try to put that behind me. I worked out all summer, just putting in a lot of hours."

McDermitt has had to work hard during the season to get down to 113 pounds. He had to drop 10 pounds just to make weight at 120 pounds at the start of the season, then dropped to 113 around midseason when wrestlers started to get an extra 2 pounds at weigh-ins.

"Coming in I didn't want to kill myself and go 113 right way because I was weighing about 130 to 132," McDermitt said. "So I just got down to weight and practiced at 120 for a while to see how I felt there, then once I got the 2 pounds, try [113 pounds] and see what it was like. It worked out to be what I wanted. I feel real good and strong."

He felt strongest on his feet. He notched a takedown in each of the first two periods against Griffiths to take a 4-0 lead into the third period, where he added a reversal for the final score.

"I love going on my feet," McDermitt said. "That's where I train 95 percent of the time."

McDermitt now will move on to the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament in Johnstown. He placed fourth at the event last season.

Temple wins second WPIAL title

Last season, Avella's Jake Temple lacked confidence on his feet to the point where he wouldn't shoot against tough opponents.

A season of fine-tuning his neutral-position skills has changed that.

Temple put on a clinic at the WPIAL Class AA championships last weekend, notching two technical falls and a major decision in winning the 220-pound title, his second consecutive WPIAL crown.

"Last year I was afraid to shoot a lot on better kids," Temple said. "I would only shoot once or twice a match.

"Now, I have more confidence on my shot from working on it all spring and summer. I feel like that's the area I've improved the most."

With the three victories, Temple will enter this weekend's PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament, where he is the defending champion, with a 36-0 record.

But he said he isn't concerned about finishing the season undefeated, as long as the loss happens this week and not at Hershey.

"I don't really worry about the unbeaten part," Temple said. "I want that state championship. That's what I'm going for.

"So I could get beat [at regionals] and it wouldn't bother me. As long as I come out on top of the podium at states, I'm more than happy."

South Fayette's Walker inspired

All season long, South Fayette 160-pounder J.J. Walker has come on the mat after 152-pounder Grant Fetchet.

Saturday night was no different, as the two Lions were both in the WPIAL Class AA championship matches in their respective weight classes.

And although Fetchet (36-2) lost, 5-4, in overtime to Burrell's Steve Edwards (39-4), Fetchet's effort inspired Walker as he stepped on to the mat next for his championship bout against Jefferson-Morgan's Ryan Zalar.

"Seeing Grant right before me really got me going," Walker said. "I thought he wrestled great. Watching how hard he went out there and how motivated he was really got me going."

Walker (37-1), a junior, pinned Zalar (30-6) in 3:33 to win his third WPIAL title. He'll have a chance to become the 24th or 25th wrestler in the WPIAL to win four titles next season.

Carr carries on family tradition

Mike Carr (37-0), a sophomore at South Fayette, became the third from his family to reach a WPIAL Class AA final and second to win the title in the last four years Saturday with a 9-2 victory against Southmoreland's Evan Myers at 132 pounds.

He joined his brother, Nick, who won district titles in his junior and senior seasons of 2010 and '11, adding a PIAA title in 2010.

"That's when I made my goal to be a PIAA Class AA state champion -- when I was in sixth grade and Nick won it," Carr said.

Seth Carr, a 2013 graduate, placed second in the WPIAL and PIAA tournaments last season.

Mike Carr said the brothers honed their wrestling skills by using their dining room as a practice area, which sometimes led to destruction of the house, including Mike once putting his foot through a wall.

"My dad didn't care too much, but my mom was always freaking out," Mike Carr said.

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