Canon-McMillan trio all win 3rd WPIAL Class AAA championships
Canon-McMillan became the first school to have three, three-time champions at the WPIAL/PIAA Class AAA Southwest Regional during the same season Saturday night, but two of the wins had coach Chris Mary on edge.
Connor Schram (126 pounds) and Solomon Chishko (145) held on for 3-2 victories against Franklin Regional wrestlers to claim their third titles. Cody Wiercioch (170) had an easier time, defeating Chartiers Valley junior Noah Wilps, 9-1, for the trifecta.
“It definitely wasn't an easy tournament,” Mary said. “We wrestled tough competition. It's difficult to win three, and we're very proud of the boys. Now we're going to get ready for next week.”
Schram won his third consecutive title, but the ending was a little scary and controversial. He defeated Michael Kemerer of Franklin Regional, the returning 106-pound champion, 3-2. Kemerer almost came up with a takedown in the final 10 seconds
“You're going to get controversial calls in all big matches,” Schram said. “I just continued to wrestle after it happened. It was close. I thought I dominated the match until the final 10 seconds.”
Schram got an early first-period takedown, but Kemerer stayed close.
“It was an awesome accomplishment. Three-time WPIAL champion is a big deal,” Schram said. “My main goal is winning states. So I'll enjoy tonight.”
Chishko captured his title by defeating Josh Shields, and did a split during the final 30 seconds to avoid a takedown.
Wiercioch's win was less dramatic. He dominated Wilps.
“I'm looking for three PIAA titles,” Wiercioch said. “We didn't talk much about winning three WPIAL titles. We concentrated on wrestling.”
There were four upsets during the finals. Waynesburg sophomore A.C. Headlee pulled off the first at 113 when he defeated North Allegheny junior Dom Forys, 7-5. Headlee used a reversal and takedown in the second period to grab a 4-1 lead and held on.
Connellsville's Ethan Kenney outscored Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith, 14-12, at 132 for his second title.
Central Catholic's Zach DeLuca won the 220-pound title with a 10-5 win against Canon-McMillan's Alex Campbell, who was seeded No. 1.
But the shocker came at 195 when Hampton senior Jacob Hart knocked off returning WPIAL and PIAA champion Matt McCutcheon of Kiski Area, 3-1, in overtime.
“This was a huge confidence builder,” said Hart, who was named outstanding wrestler. “Taking the No. 1 kid off his throne is a pretty big confidence builder and means a lot.”
Others winning their second WPIAL titles included Hempfield's Sam Krivus (120), Norwin's Heath Coles (152) and Latrobe's Zack Zavatsky (160). Franklin Regional sophomore Josh Maruca (138), North Allegheny's Alex DeCiantis (182) and Kiski Area's Shane Kuhn (285) also finished first.
The top three wrestlers in each weight class advanced to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at Giant Center in Hershey.
Canon-McMillan won the team title with 185 points. Franklin Regional was second with 126.
Two wrestlers picked up their 100th career victories — Cole Macek of Montour earned his in the consolation semifinals, and Norwin senior Joel Pezze got his in the consolation quarterfinals.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.