Canon-McMillan wins 4th straight WPIAL wrestling title
Canon-McMillan won its fourth consecutive WPIAL Class AAA team title and ninth overall Saturday at Chartiers Valley, but the championship didn't come easy.
For the second consecutive day, the Big Macs (15-0) had to rally for a victory.
They trailed by 12 points through six matches but defeated first-time finalist Franklin Regional, 31-26, thanks to wins in five of the final seven bouts.
A pin in a minute by junior Dalton Macri at 120 pounds ended the match.
Macri said he was confident he would pull out the win for the team.
“I know that I'm one of the best in the state, and I'm confident in my abilities,” he said. “Right before the match, I looked around and saw all the people cheering in the stands. Then I kind of shrunk it down and just imagined being in the practice room.”
After the pin, Macri flexed both arms. It was something he saw Iowa junior Tony Ramos do after a pin Friday against Penn State.
Both teams earned a trip to Hershey for the PIAA Team Tournament, which begins Thursday.
Canon-McMillan is the defending state champion. This is Franklin Regional's first trip to the state tournament.
“This never gets old,” Canon-McMillan coach Chris Mary said. “I love my kids. I love the program and community. This is for them.
“We got a lot of gutsy performances from all of the wrestlers. We beat a very good and well-coached Franklin Regional team.”
Franklin Regional (17-3) built a 20-8 lead with technical falls by Michael Kemerer (126) and Tyler Smith (138), a major decision win by Josh Shields (152) and wins by Josh Maruca (145) and Nate Painter (170).
Canon-McMillan started its rally with a win by Steve LaFrance at 182 pounds.
Two-time state champion Cody Wiercioch followed with a pin at 195 pounds, and a win by Angelo Broglia at 220 tied the match at 20-20, setting up a thrilling final four bouts.
“One match goes the other way and we're WPIAL champions,” Kemerer said.
“We're proud, but we would have liked to win it.”
The teams split those bouts, but a technical fall win by Brendon Price (106) and Macri's pin gave the Big Macs the win.
“I told the guys I believed we could win possibly nine matches,” Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser said. “We had an opportunity in a couple matches.”
Both teams were missing starters: Connor Medlang (120) for Franklin Regional and Solomon Chishko (138) and Malachi Krenzelak (145) for Canon-McMillan.
North Allegheny (16-3) earned its second consecutive trip to the state team tournament with a surprisingly easy, 44-20 victory against Kiski Area in the third-place match.
The Tigers will face Pittsburgh City League champion Allderdice at 6 p.m. Monday in a preliminary-round match at Carrick High School.
A victory Monday would send North Allegheny to Hershey for a match Thursday.
North Allegheny won nine of 14 matches, including pins by Scott Stossel (106), Connor D'Amato (113), Clay Byerly (170) and Alex DeCiantis (182).
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.