(Photo: Burrell senior Dakota DesLauriers, top, defeating Valley's Colton Buzerd in a regular-season match, will represent the WPIAL at 182 pounds in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic preliminary match. Bill Wade/Post-Gazette.)
The preliminary match of the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic between the WPIAL all-stars and the Virginia all-stars will be a family affair.
Four members of the WPIAL all-stars have family ties to the Classic. All four have a relative who wrestled in previous events.
"It's been a father-son trip every year since I was a little boy," said Dakota DesLauriers, a senior at Burrell. "Wrestling in the Classic has always been a goal."
DesLauriers, who has a 152-14 career record, made his second appearance in the PIAA Class AA final last week and claimed his first gold medal with a 3-1 win against Muncy's Troy Hembury in the 182-pound final. His opponent in the 182-pound bout is Ryan O'Brien (150-12), a Virginia state champion from First Colonial High School.
"My cousin, Joel [DesLauriers], wrestled in the Classic [in 1997 for the WPIAL team]," said DesLauriers, who is a three-time WPIAL champion. "It's an honor to be chosen. I'm really looking forward to it."
Chartiers-Houston's Garrett Vulcano (154-38) is the fourth member of his family to wrestle in the Classic. His father, Frank Vulcano Jr., and two uncles, Jim and Patsy, also wrestled in the Classic. Frank and Jim wrestled for the WPIAL all-stars in 1981 and 1982, respectively. Patsy wrestled for the Pennsylvania all-stars in 1984. All three posted victories.
"It's really special to have Garrett wrestling in the Classic," said Frank Vulcano Jr., who serves as co-director of the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic selection committee. "He's been coming to the Classic with me since he was a little kid."
Garrett Vulcano advanced to the PIAA Class AA title match at 195 before losing to Milton's Ryan Solomon, who was chosen to wrestle for the Pennsylvania team. Vulcano will move up one weight class to 220 and face Zach Roseberry (183-30), a Virginia champ from Brentsville High School.
"I've been around the Classic for so long. It's a great way to end my high school career," Garrett Vulcano said. "I hope I'm not the last Vulcano to wrestle in the Classic. Maybe one of my kids will be picked. You never know."
Keystone Oaks' Nick Zanetta (129-42) is the third member of his family to be chosen. His brother and coach, J.J. Zanetta, wrestled on the WPIAL team in 2003, and another brother, Anthony, was on the Pennsylvania team in 2009. Nick Zanetta, a two-time PIAA runner-up, will face Dennis Gustafson (194-17), a two-time Virginia champ from Forest Park High School, in the 132-pound bout.
"It's an honor to be chosen for the Classic, especially since J.J. and Anthony were picked," Nick Zanetta said. "I remember watching them and thinking about how great it would be to be picked in my senior year. Now I get a chance."
South Fayette's Seth Carr (126-40) follows in the footsteps of his brother, Nick, who was a member of the WPIAL squad in 2011. Seth Carr, a PIAA Class AA runner-up at 113 pounds, will face Sean Badua (190-17), a Virginia champ from Osbourn Park High School.
The WPIAL all-stars also feature four two-time WPIAL champs in Nathan Reckner of South Side Beaver, Connellsville's Ethan Kenney, Norwin's Heath Coles and Jefferson-Morgan's Dustin Conti.
Reckner (147-26) will face J.R. Wert (135-11), a three-time Virginia champ from Christiansburg High School, in the 120-pound bout.
Kenney, a three-time PIAA place-winner, is matched up with Andrew Atkinson (239-14), a National Prep School champion from Liberty Christian Academy.
Coles (126-30), a two-time PIAA place-winner, will face Sean Murphy (158-51), a four-time Virginia place-winner from Colonial Forge High School, in the 152-pound bout.
Conti (142-33), a two-time PIAA place-winner, is matched up with Zach Epperly (145-13), a four-time Virginia champ from Christiansburg, at 170.
Epperly and Wert are two of three wrestlers from Christiansburg on the Virginia team. The other is Gabe Lumpp (101-54), a three-time Virginia place-winner. Lumpp will face North Hills' Tyler Walker (136-31), a PIAA Class AAA bronze medalist, at 126.
The other four members of the WPIAL team are Burrell's Phil Marra, Greensburg Salem's Zach Voytek, Kiski Area's Matt McCutcheon and Canon-McMillan's Angelo Broglia.
Marra (96-52), a WPIAL champ at 145 pounds, will face Beau Donahue (204-25), a three-time Virginia champ from Westfield High School.
Voytek (163-27), a two-time PIAA place-winner, is matched up with Rory Renzi (161-18), a Virginia champ from Lake Colonial High School, in the 160-pound bout.
McCutcheon (158-14), a two-time PIAA finalist and one-time champ, will face Corbin Ramos (160-38), a Virginia champ from Matoaca High School, at 195 pounds.
Broglia (38-10), a WPIAL runner-up at 285 pounds, is matched up with Justin Williams (132-56), a Virginia champ from Skyline High School.