Dunn shines as rest of WPIAL Dapper Dan team struggles against Illinois

Russell Finelsen, Staff Writer, Assistant Editor, Sports Editor

On Sunday, March 15, the WPIAL wrestling team faced off against the best wrestlers of the state of Illinois at the Dapper Dan Classic. The event took place at the Fitzgerald Field House on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. And, even though the team as a whole did poorly, one of BP’s own wrestlers did well.

Even though the WPIAL team was packed with talent, they could not tie up with the seasoned wrestlers from Illinois. The final score was 33-10. The WPIAL wrestlers only managed three wins.

The event started well for the WPIAL team. WPIAL’s Wrestler of the Year Austin McDermitt from Burgettstown got the team on the right track. The second place finisher of the WPIAL beat Illinois wrestler Antoine Bess, in a 4-0 major decision. Bess was an injury replacement and the only wrestler from Illinois with less than 100 wins.

However, Illinois won the next five matches and got 15 points to take a commanding 15-4 lead. Even through these five losses, the WPIAL team kept it close. In these five matches, there were two overtime matches, with an additional battle going into a sudden death.

However, the WPIAL team’s losing streak ended courtesy of Paul Dunn. In resounding fashion, Dunn beat Luke Fortuna, 4-0, in the 152-pound weight class. Fortuna attends Montini Catholic.

The WPIAL team’s third and final win came via Fred Mantsch from Hempfield. He won due to a 2-0 decision.

This win marked the final win of Dunn’s impressive career. He qualified for the Dapper Dan Classic after a second place finish in the WPIAL and a third place finish in the PIAA’s. Even though this win doesn’t count towards Dunn’s total career wins, he stands third on Bethel Park’s list for most career wins as a wrestler at 133. He will continue to wrestle at Lehigh University.

“It’s a nothing-to-lose mentality,” Dunn said to The Post-GazetteIt was nice to win [personally], but I’m just happy to be here.”

“It’s a huge honor just being here with all the All-Americans that have come out of here and it’s just a great stepping stone for college and showing how great the WPIAL is,” Dunn said to The Post-Gazette.

Congratulations to the WPIAL team and Dunn for a job well done. Experience proves invaluable, whether one wins or loses.