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McKendree wins 4th Section 4-AAA title

| Sunday, Feb. 26, 2006

O'HARA TOWNSHIP -- Coaches often yell "two" when they want the referee to award points to their wrestler for a takedown. Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky was no different in the Section 4-AAA 145-pound championship match Saturday at Fox Chapel. However, the referee had already awarded Zach McKendree the points and Tursky laughed about it later.

"I knew it was going to be a tight match," Tursky said. "We needed every point."

The extra points weren't needed, as McKendree posted a 9-6 decision over Bill Loeffler and, in the process, became Kiski Area's first four-time section champion.

"I really wanted to be the first to get four," said McKendree, who now is focusing on wrestling well in the WPIAL and PIAA tournaments.

"Once the season's over, I'll have time to relax."

Tursky was pleased that Tony Clark (130), Tyler Oravec (135), Jon Moore (160), Scott Joseph (189), and Matt Riddle (215) won championships, but he said that McKendree's meant a lot.

"It might be a long time before we see another kid like that," Tursky said.

The Cavaliers had 13 of their wrestlers qualify for the WPIAL tournament next Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Norwin. The top three finishers in each weight class advanced to the tournament.

McKendree wasn't the only record-breaker last night. Fox Chapel 112-pounder Brett Skonieczny made the finals for the third consecutive year and won his first title with a 7-1 decision over Zach Cecchetti. The finals victory was the 121st of Skonieczny's career, who passed his brother, Brandon, for the all-time wins record at Fox Chapel earlier in the day with a win in the semifinals.

"That's a credit to him and his workout partners," Fox Chapel coach Ron Frank said. "His hard work and the hard work of all the people around him has certainly paid off."

Brian Letters (152) was the Foxes' other champion. He defeated Gateway's Ryan Sula, 3-0. Fox Chapel freshman Justin Mahon continued a bright debut season as he took second place in the 140-pound bracket, losing, 20-7, to Andy Vaughan of Central Catholic.

"He has a great feel for wrestling," Frank said. "He's one of the young kids who demonstrates leadership,"

Other local champions included Zach Zummo of Plum (103) and Josh Serene of Kittanning (171). Zummo improved to 32-1 on the season, while Serene remained undefeated (29-0). Overall, 28 wrestlers from the A-K Valley qualified for next week's tournament.

"The WPIAL is a beast. It's the hardest region to get out of," Tursky said. "But it's an honor to go to that tournament and represent your school."

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