CANONSBURG – The true measure of a champion is performance amid potential trouble and adversity. The latter can weigh heavily on a team.
But champions must overcome all obstacles and every circumstance.
While many might consider the Canon-McMillan wrestling team’s performance here typical of a three-time WPIAL championship team, there was much more at work as the Big Macs (13-0) built leads of 32 and 33 points to defeat Hampton 46-28, in the WPIAL Class AAA Team Tournament quarterfinals.
Canon-McMillan Coach Chris Mary forfeited the final three bouts of the match (195, 220 and 285).
“We couldn’t have started at a better place (103) or started off better,” Mary said. “We had a game plan to score big points early.
“They had two solid wrestlers at the end and those would have been two dog fights we don’t need right now.”
Canon-McMillan, which captured a 56-9 win over Ringgold in the first-round of the tournament earlier in the evening, reached down deep against the Talbots – in the face of injuries to three starters and numerous other bumps and bruises – to put forth a command performance early on.
“We talked about how important it was for us to get falls or extra points early,” Mary said.
“It is good that we have kids who know they have to step in and represent our team and what we stand for. My hats our off to our kids. We’ve had a lot of contributors.”
The Big Macs advance to the WPIAL semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Kiski, a 46-21 winner over Connellsville last night, at Chartiers Valley High School.
Canon-McMillan is bidding to become the first Class AAA to win the WPIAL Team Tournament championship four consecutive seasons.
The Big Macs opened a 32-0 lead over Hampton with four consecutive falls, which took a grand total of 6:57. The pins were recorded by Brendon Price (106), Josh Minor (113), Dalton Macri (120) and Conner Schram (126). Nick Oberhaus (132) followed with a 16-1 technical fall and Alec Hutchin earned an 8-4 decision at 138.
Hampton notched a pair of wins at 145 and 152, as Kevin Synan won by forfeit and Zach Kocak won a major decision, 12-3.
That only slowed the Big Macs as Sammy Minor got them moving again with a fall in 59 seconds at 160. Cody Wiercioch (170) earned a 15-0 technical fall to give Canon-McMillan a 36-point lead.
Mary then forfeited the final three bouts to the Talbots.
“We’re banged up” Mary said. “We had an opportunity to give some of these kids a break. When some of your big guns are out, it can be tough. You try to keep the spirits up.
“There have been many positive factors that have contributed to our season.”
Indians fall short
Peters Township built a 27-12 lead in its first-round match with Hampton but watched the Talbots win the final seven bouts to gain a 44-27 victory.
After falling behind 12-6, the Indians recorded three straight falls by Phillip Mary (120), Tyler Buckiso (126) and Italo Merante (132). Peters Township then received a 2-0 decision by Devan Evanovich at 138 to build its 15-point lead. The Indians other winner was A.J. Buckiso (106), who won by forfeit.
Hampton got a huge victory at 152 when Zach Kocak held off Jake Caputo, 7-5.
Ringgold’s lone two individual bout wins in the first-round belonged to junior Brandon Heinzelman by forfeit at 145 and junior Devin Fallenstien, who captured a 3-2 decision over Canon-McMillan freshman Nick Konyk. ... Canon-McMillan is making its 30th appearance in the WPIAL Team Tournament.