Kiski Area wrestlers put up valiant effort in loss to Canon-Mac
As they huddled in an exit-only alcove in Chartiers Valley High School's gymnasium after their semifinal match against top-seeded Canon-McMillan on Friday night, members of Kiski Area's wrestling team found neither the time nor a reason to hang their heads.
Able to win as many bouts at the three-time defending WPIAL Class AAA champion Big Macs, the Cavaliers put forth an admirable effort during their 36-24 loss. They'll try to rebound in the third-place match at 4:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 3 seed North Allegheny, which lost, 28-27, to No. 2 Franklin Regional in the other semifinal — the winner advances to the PIAA tournament.
“We knew it was going to be a barn-burner,” Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky said. “We knew it'd be close. They're No. 1 in the state for a reason. They have some outstanding guys. But so do we.”
Bonus points favored Canon-McMillan (14-0), which had three pins and one technical fall. Kiski Area (16-2), also a victor in seven bouts, had three bonus points, each from a major decision.
The second bout of the match showcased two studs. Kiski Area senior Matt McCutcheon, normally a 195-pounder, moved up to wrestle senior Alex Campbell, a defending WPIAL runner-up at 220 pounds. McCutcheon prevailed, 9-5, to remain unbeaten. But he left the mat wanting more.
“I was thinking I needed to get bonus points for the team,” McCutcheon said. “Unfortunately, I didn't. But I tried to keep my pace up. … I had to get on top, but I couldn't break him down. They're pretty good at fending things off and hand-fighting — not stalling but not giving up pins and bonus points.”
Tursky, who willingly sent McCutcheon out to meet Campbell, had no qualms with the Penn State recruit's effort.
“Matt has gone above and beyond the call of duty all season,” Tursky said. “I sent him out against the No. 1 guy in the WPIAL.”
Another Cavalier with a perfect mark for the season, Shane Kuhn, added another win to his record by edging Angelo Broglia, 2-1, in the heavyweight bout. Like McCutcheon, he dictated the tempo of the bout but struggled to find scoring opportunities.
Victories by McCutcheon, Kuhn and 195-pounder Tyler Worthing — who won, 12-3 — put Kiski Area ahead, 10-0 after three bouts. But Canon-Mac flexed its muscle in the light weights, where the Big Macs had two pins and the 18-3 technical fall.
Between the two pins, Kiski Area forfeited to 120-pound standout Dalton Macri. The move set up a matchup between the Cavaliers' go-to 120-pounder, Ryan Hardaway, and defending state finalist Connor Schram, a Stanford recruit.
Tursky said that he wanted to deny Canon-Mac the opportunity to shift Schram and Macri up weight classes and potentially attain more bonus points. But the Big Macs still came away with 12 points after Schram pinned Hardaway.