HEIDELBERG – Canon-McMillan High School’s wrestling team is one step from doing something no team in Class AAA has accomplished.
Four straight WPIAL Team Tournament titles.
The Big Macs got two huge wins from the Minor brothers, Josh and Sam, and rallied to defeat Kiski, 36-24, in the semifinals Friday night at Chartiers Valley High School.
Canon-McMillan (14-0) will wrestle Franklin Regional (17-2) at 6:30 p.m. for the Class AAA team title at Chartiers Valley. Franklin Regional defeated North Allegheny, 28-27, in the other semifinal.
Only one other Class AAA team has won three consecutive team titles, North Allegheny from 1986-88. Burrell holds the current Class AA streak with six and could make it seven if it defeats South Fayette in today’s finals.
The top three teams in Class AAA qualify for the PIAA Team Tournament, which begins next week. The Big Macs have already qualified but can improve their seeding with a win over Franklin Regional.
Canon-McMillan has won the past two state team titles at the PIAA individual tournament and captured the title at the state team tournament last year, as well.
“We’ll be ready to wrestle,” said Canon-McMillan head coach Chris Mary. “We always try to worry about today and not yesterday or tomorrow.”
Kiski (16-2) won the first three bouts from the 195-pound starting point and built a 10-0 lead. C-M began its rally when Brendon Price won an 18-3 technical fall over Jake York at 106 to make it 10-5. Then Josh Minor stunned the Cavaliers when he pinned Mitch Nagy in 1:42 to give C-M an 11-10 lead. Minor came in with a 7-9 record and Nagy was 20-11.
“I thought there was a ton of pressure,” said Josh Minor, a sophomore. “I just went in with the right mindset. I have only two or three pins. This was the most fantastic feeling coming off the mat. It was the biggest win I’ve had.”
Kiski forfeited to Dalton Macri at 120 and Connor Schram followed with a pin in 2:36 of Ryan Hardaway to give the Big Macs a 23-13 lead. Alec Hutchin followed with a 4-1 decision over Garrett Fitzsimmons to make it 26-13.
Kiski began a comeback that brought it to within five at 26-21, with major decisions by Cole Landowski at 145 and Kyle Skelley at 152.
“We knew this would be a barn-burner,” said Kiski head coach Chuck Tursky. “We knew it was going to be a close match.”
Sam Minor stemmed the comeback with a 9-0 major decision over Shawn McGowan at 160.
“There was a lot of talk that Kiski had a chance to beat us,” said Sam Minor, a senior. “We knew if everyone did their job, they couldn’t stick with us. (Josh and I) have had wins together before, but this is the biggest so far.”
Canon-McMillan’s victory came not only in the way the Big Macs won matches, but also in the way they lost them. Steve LaFrance (195), Alex Campbell (220) and Angelo Broglia (Hvy) lost matches in the teeth of Kiski’s lineup to Tyler Worthing, Matt McCutcheon and Shane Kuhn, respectively. Kiski was counting on more than 10 points from those three bouts.
“We gave an imaginary game ball to Josh Minor,” said Mary. “We also gave two more, one each to Angelo and Alex. We had a game plan and the kids did a great job. We beat a very good team tonight.”