Canon-McMillan advances to PIAA finals
HERSHEY — Canon-McMillan gets a chance to defend its PIAA Class AAA team wrestling title, but it won't be easy.
The Big Macs (18-0) will be the underdogs against Central Dauphin (24-0) in the finals at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Giant Center.
And being the underdog is just what Canon-McMillan senior Cody Wiercioch wants.
“Technically, we're not supposed to win,” Wiercioch said. “We just have to wrestle like we're taught and get it done.”
Canon-McMillan moved into the finals by defeating Erie McDowell, 35-27, in the quarterfinals and then perennial District 11 and state power Easton, 37-35, in the semifinals Friday night.
Central Dauphin advanced by defeating Parkland, 32-27, in the quarterfinals and Franklin Regional, 41-25, in the semifinals.
Franklin Regional, making its first trip to the state tournament, reached the semifinals by defeating Owen J. Roberts, 29-28, in the quarterfinals.
Easton started quickly against Canon-McMillan, getting two 31-second pins at 152 and 160 pounds. But Sammy Minor stopped Easton's quick start with a win at 170, and Wiercioch followed with a pin to trim the deficit to 12-9.
“We have Central Dauphin, we beat them once (last year's semifinals) and I think we can do it again if we wrestle to our abilities,” Wiercioch said. “I got a big pin and everyone stepped up in close matches. We're on our game right now.”
Canon-McMillan scored bonus points in six of its seven wins. Alex Campbell (220), Adam Broglia (285) and Brendon Price (106) collected pins, and Dalton Marci (120) and Connor Schram (126) had technical falls.
Canon-McMillan erased an 18-9 deficit with three consecutive pins to grab a 27-18 lead.
“This was a total team effort,” Canon-McMillan coach Chris Mary said. “They stepped up. They wanted to get back into the finals, and I'm proud of all the kids' efforts. I'm proud of the coaches who helped prepare in the finals.”
Franklin Regional (21-4) started its semifinal in the heart of Central Dauphin's lineup. The four-time PIAA champion raced to a 15-0 lead and was up, 38-8, before Franklin Regional got to its top wrestlers.
“They have a meat-grinder in the middle, and they got that snowball effect,” Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser said. “They've been here before, and they got their bonus points. We came back in the later rounds, it was a good match. I learned we're in great shape and what we have to work on. I'm eager to see how we bounce back.”
Jake Pickup (182), Luke Fleck (285), Mike Kemerer (126), Tyler Smith (132) and Josh Shields (145) picked up wins for Franklin Regional. Fleck and Smith recorded pins.
Also in Class AAA, North Allegheny won a first-round consolation match over Mifflin County, 46-12, but had its PIAA run come to an end with a 31-24 loss to Erie McDowell in the second round of consolations.
In Class AA, South Fayette fell to Saucon Valley, 41-16, in the first consolation round, while Burrell started the day with a 39-16 win over Western Wayne but then fell to Chestnut Ridge, 34-24, in round two of the consolations.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.