Swimming: Burrell senior punches ticket to WPIALs

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

There was already very little drama in whether or not Burrell senior Joshua Wertkin would qualify for WPIALs in his final high school season. He had already qualified for WPIALs as a junior. But whatever drama there was, ended in an early-season meet against Highlands when Wertkin swam a 2:18.34 in the 200 IM to make the cut (2:19.70) by over a second. The time was also good enough to win the event at the dual meet. He also achieved a WPIAL qualifying time in the 100 backstroke, this time just barely. The Burrell senior swam the 100 backstroke in 1:04.34, just making the WPIAL cut of 1:04.60. Once again the time was also good enough to win the event at the dual meet. Wertkin also swam legs on Burrell's 200 and 400 freestyle relay.

A year ago at WPIALs, Wertkin chose to compete in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. His strongest showing was in the 100 backstroke where he finished 12th and earned the Buccaneers five points in the team standings. He was also a part of a fifth-place 200 medley relay. Wertkin is the lone returning swimmer at Burrell from that relay.


Swimming: Distance freestyler wins two individual events for Burrell

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Burrell sophomore Natalie Opalka was the premier distance freestyler in an early-season dual meet against Highlands. Opalka won the 200 and 500 freestyle events. She swam the 200 freestyle in 2:24.47, winning by over 14 seconds. She still has some work to do to qualify for WPIALs where the cutoff time is 2:10.50. She won the 500 freestyle with a time of 6:27.40. The next-fastest swimmer in the dual meet was 21 seconds behind her. To make the WPIALs as an individual qualifier for the first time, Opalka will have to reach 5:50.00 in the 500 freestyle.

At the Highlands meet, Opalka also anchored Burrell's second-place 200 freestyle relay and swam the second leg of their third-place 400 freestyle relay. The relays had respective times of 2:04.72 and 4:43.95.



Boys Basketball: Burrell shows improvement in coach's second season

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Drew Karpen profiles the Burrell boys basketball team.

"In his first season as Burrell's boys basketball coach last year, Shawn Bennis endured the rough times, going 6-16.

Now that he has entered his second season as the Buccaneers coach, things seem to be looking up.

The Bucs began the season 4-0, including winning the Kittanning tipoff tournament title, defeating Avonworth in the championship game.

"It is more about them buying in," Bennis said. "They are trusting what we are telling them. I tell them 'We is greater than me.'"



Girls Basketball: East Feature Athlete - Burrell's Sydney Bordonaro (2014)

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Name: Sydney Bordonaro
School: Burrell
Grade: 12
Sport: Girls Basketball
Position: Guard

Background Info: Bordonaro is one of the top players in the WPIAL and has already committed to play at Pepperdine. She showcased her dominance on Friday night when she scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Lady Bucs to a win against Class AAA No. 5 Indiana.


Girls Basketball: Burrell pointing toward section rivalry

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles the Burrell girls basketball team.

"The date is already emblazoned in their memory — Dec. 22.
That will be the first meeting this season between new section rivals Burrell and Greensburg Central Catholic.

Both WPIAL Class AA contenders joined Section 2-AA this season.

They met one time last season with the Buccaneers winning, 51-47, in the WPIAL semifinals.

They will meet twice this year, at least"