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1st-year coaches hope to carry on winning ways for Canon-Mac, Burrell

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Mike Carr

South Fayette, Soph.

Claim to fame: Carr (23-0) captured the 132-pound title on Saturday at Bedford's Thomas Subaru tournament after a 6-2 decision over Bedford's Ryan Easter. Carr won the 132-pound title at the Allegheny County tournament earlier this season. Carr, who finished 29-13 last season, helped SF capture the Section 2-AA crown.

What are the highlights so far for this season?

It would have to be the semis at Allegheny County and the finals in the Bedford tournament. Those were against top contenders and higher-level wrestlers than others. Ryan Easter is a tough kid to face.

What has been the main reason for your success?

I think back to the summer when I would wrestle my brother, Nick, and I would have some bad days. Before I go out there, I just tell myself to give it my best and wrestle my hardest.

What do you think you need to do to win a state title?

Wrestle hard. I hope I peak at the right time and possibly lose a match beforehand. I just want to go in there rolling hard. I want to wrestle hard and take one match at a time.

Who has been influential in your wrestling career?

There are three equal people. Mark McKnight, who was a 2003 state champ. Also, my brothers, Nick and Seth, have helped me out. They are the key to my success so far.

— Andrew John

Wrestling rankings

Class AAA

Rec. Pvs.

1. Franklin Regional 15-1 1

2. Latrobe 9-1 2

3. North Allegheny 10-0 3

4. Canon-McMillan 14-0 4

5. Kiski Area 14-2 5

6. Belle Vernon 15-2 7

7. Peters Township 11-2 6

8. Hempfield 8-4 8

9. Greensburg Salem 9-2 9

10. Mt. Lebanon 10-5 NR

Class AA

1. South Fayette 17-0 1

2. Burrell 9-3 2

3. Jefferson-Morgan 12-2 3

4. Burgettstown 12-1 5

5. Derry 11-2 NR

Class AAA individuals

106: 1. Devin Brown, Franklin Regional (16-0); 2. Gage Curry, North Hills (26-0); 3. Kris Distefanis, Hempfield, (15-6).

113: 1. Spencer Lee, Franklin Regional (28-0); 2. Chris Eddins, Greensburg Salem (23-6); 3. Ethan McCoy, Latrobe (19-6).

120: 1. Luke Pletcher, Latrobe (24-0); 2. Brendan Hasson, Belle Vernon (27-6); 3. Ricky Cavallo, Hempfield (8-3).

126: 1. Dalton Macri, Canon-McMillan (26-2); 2. A.C. Headlee, Waynesburg (29-3); 3. Dom Forys, North Allegheny (21-2).

132: 1. Tyler Smith, Franklin Regional (18-0); 2. Sam Krivus, Hempfield (18-2); 3. Cameron Coy, Penn-Trafford (22-4).

138: 1. Michael Kemerer, Franklin Regional (24-1); 2. Vincenzo Joseph, Central Catholic (28-3); 3. Joey Alessandro, Hempfield (18-4).

145: 1. Solomon Chishko, Canon-McMillan (12-3); 2. Josh Maruca, Franklin Regional (21-3); 3. Jarod Verkleeren, Belle Vernon (12-2).

152: 1. Josh Shields, Franklin Regional (21-4); 2. Jake Shaffer, Latrobe (21-6); 3. Derek Verkleeren, Belle Vernon (25-5).

160: 1. Dom Scalise, Latrobe (20-4); 2. Austin Bell, Belle Vernon (30-5); 3. Devin Austin, Penn-Trafford (20-6).

170: 1. Noah Wilps, Chartiers Valley (18-1); 2. Devin Fallenstein, Ringgold (20-1); 3. Kyle Coniker, Central Catholic (19-3).

182: 1. Zack Zavatsky, Latrobe (22-0); 2. Kellan Stout, Mt. Lebanon (23-2); 3. Tommy Provance, Connellsville, (14-4).

195: 1. Ty Worthing, Kiski (23-1); 2. Drew Phipps, Norwin (6-0); 3. Cole Macek, Montour (20-0).

220: 1. Fred Mantsch, Hempfield (19-5); 2. Lynn Skundrich, North Allegheny (11-2); 3. Chad Kuhn, Kiski Area (25-4).

285: 1. Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area (26-1); 2. Zaynel Zaynullayev, Mt. Lebanon (24-3); 3. Benji Kane, Shaler (10-0).

Class AA individuals

106: 1. Dallas Bulsak, South Park (15-4); 2. Hunter Neely, Bentworth (22-3); 3. Cole Lambie, Southmoreland (19-6).

113: 1. Brendon Howard, Jefferson-Morgan (24-4); 2. Austin Griffiths, Southmoreland (19-2); 3. Austin McDermitt, Burgettstown (28-2).

120: 1. George Phillippi, Derry (22-4); 2. Kody Komara, Freedom (21-5); 3. Josh Kuslock, Chartiers-Houston (22-5).

126: 1. Patrick DeWitt, Valley (27-0); 2. Stone Kepple, Derry (21-5); 3. Mike Novak, Mt. Pleasant (10-5).

132: 1. John Demaske. Jefferson-Morgan (26-0); 2. Mike Carr, South Fayette (25-0); 3. Shane Gentry, South Side Beaver (9-1).

138: 1. Jake Wentzel, South Park (22-1); 2. Jason Miller, Jefferson-Morgan (17-1); 3. Shane Ging, South Fayette (23-9).

145: 1. Jason Nolf, Kittanning (28-0); 2. Nick Gavazzi, Charleroi (7-0); 3. Corey Falleroni, Burrell (15-4).

152: 1. Steven Edwards, Burrell (15-3); 2. Grant Fetchet, South Fayette (25-2); 3. Greg Bulsak, South Park (22-1).

160: 1. Jared Walker, South Fayette (26-1); 2. Ryan Zalar, Jefferson-Morgan (21-4); 3. Pete Provenzano, Chartiers-Houston (19-8).

170: 1. Bill Bowlen, Jefferson-Morgan (27-3); 2. Nick Pattock, Burrell (12-7); 3. Nico Brown, Beth-Center (17-8).

182: 1. Terrell Fields, Valley (22-1); 2. Dalton Wildman, West Greene (15-3); 3. Rausaun Culberson, South Fayette (16-9).

195: 1. Marcus Davenport, Valley (22-3); 2. Zach Walker, South Fayette (12-1); 3. Jacob Robb, Kittanning (28-5).

220: 1. Jake Temple, Avella (18-0); 2. Josh Lind, Mt. Pleasant (22-9); 3. Tom Sever, Yough (17-4).

285: 1. Allan Beattie, Burrell (14-4); 2. Jake Beistel, Southmoreland (19-2); 3. Ian Wolfe, Jefferson-Morgan (21-6).

Pin Leaders

21: Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area.

20: Gage Curry, North Hills.

19: Robert West, Trinity.

18: Mike Sinclair, Ellwood City; Terrell Fields, Valley.

17: Jason Nolf, Kittanning; Shane Ging, South Fayette; Colin McCracken, Waynesburg.

— Paul Schofield

Top high school sports
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, 10:09 p.m.

It didn't take long for Canon-McMillan wrestling coach Jason Cardillo to learn about the rich tradition at the Washington County school.

Even though he graduated from South Fayette and wrestled at Chartiers Valley as part of a co-op, Cardillo was well aware of why Canon-McMillan was such a powerhouse.

Cardillo, in his first year as Canon-McMillan's head coach, spent the past four years learning from Chris Mary, who resigned last spring after leading the Big Macs to four consecutive WPIAL Class AAA team titles and two PIAA titles.

He said the support of the community and school is unbelievable. And Cardillo is looking forward to continuing that tradition.

Canon-McMillan and Burrell in Class AA have dominated the WPIAL team tournaments. Burrell has won seven consecutive titles. Tradition, dedication and hard work is why these teams have continued to be strong, the coaches said.

As the WPIAL team tournament continues Wednesday, both Cardillo and Burrell coach Josh Shields are eager to see their teams defend their titles. Shields, a 2006 Burrell graduate, also is in his first season.

Canon-McMillan, seeded third behind Franklin Regional and Latrobe, will host Ringgold in a first-round match at 6 p.m. The winner will face the winner of the Hempfield and Belle Vernon match at 7:30.

“The past four years have been a great run,” Cardillo said. “It's a little different for me now that I'm the head coach. But we've been running things the same way that Chris did.”

Canon-McMillan (10-0) returns six starters from the 2012-13 squad — Brenden Price (113 pounds), Dalton Macri (126), Alec Hutchins (132), Josiah Hritsko (138), Solomon Chishko (145) and Malachi Krenzelak (152).

Before Canon-McMillan can look ahead to Friday's semifinals or Saturday's finals, Cardillo said his team must get through their first tests.

“We're not overlooking anyone,” Cardillo said. “We looked at the possible matchups against Belle Vernon and it could be a close match. If we get to Friday, we probably meet Latrobe, another tough team.”

While some teams try to build tradition, Cardillo said kids grow up in the Canon-McMillan School District wanting to be champions.

“We're fortunate to have good leaders,” Cardillo said. “We also have a good feeder program. The kids are usually ready when we get them.”

Burrell's tradition was started by former coach Chris Como, who was Burrell's coach from 1998 to 2009.

It's been a decade of dominance for Burrell, which won the WPIAL Class AA team tournament each of the past seven seasons and eight of the past 10. Coaching staffs changed and wrestlers graduated, but the winning continued.

“Now, wrestling at Burrell, it's like a cool thing to do,” Como said.

Those who helped turn Burrell into a powerhouse now lead the Bucs from the coaches' chairs.

“My freshman and sophomore year, we were the underdogs, and we weren't expected to win much,” Shields said. “We barely had enough kids to fill a whole team. And now, at every weight, we have kids that we're sending to JV tournaments.”

Teams such as Mt. Pleasant — which beat Burrell in the finals in 2003, ‘05 and ‘06 — and Shady Side Academy — which lost to the Bucs in the finals in 2008, ‘09 and ‘10 — no longer carry much clout in the WPIAL postseason.

Burrell, meanwhile, has thrived even during seasons when it relied heavily on underclassmen, as it did in 2012, when a lineup of four seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen defeated Jefferson-Morgan, 34-31, for the title.

“It's really a community effort,” Shields said. “It starts at the youth level, where we have 100-plus kids every year. It's kind of like a machine, and it's our job to keep it going.”

William West contributed to this story. Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.




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