IRWIN – Perhaps it’s fitting that during a season in which Canon-McMillan won its second consecutive PIAA team wrestling title, the Big Macs found a way to top the feat.
Canon-McMillan became the first school to have three wrestlers win their third WPIAL individual title on the same night as Connor Schram, Solomon Chishko and Cody Wiercioch won their respective weight classes Saturday at Norwin High School.
“It’s very, very special,” said Canon-McMillan head coach Chris Mary, himself a three-time WPIAL champion at Chartiers-Houston in the 1980s.
“We talked to them the other day about it. It’s tough to win this tournament.”
That showed up in the results as six of 13 top seeds who made it into the finals were upset, including Canon-McMillan’s Alex Campbell at 220 pounds. Campbell was beaten, 10-5, by Central Catholic’s Zach DeLuca.
Also beaten was Central Catholic’s Matt McCutcheon, a defending WPIAL and PIAA champion. McCutcheon was defeated, 3-1, by Hampton’s Jacob Hart in the 195-pound final. Hart was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.
Schram and Chishko had their hands full, winning a pair of close, and and in the case of Schram controversial, decisions.
Schram edged Franklin Regional sophomore Michael Kemerer, 3-2, in the 126-pound final. Officials waived off a last-second takedown attempt by Kememer, who like Schram was a state runner-up a year ago.
“It was close,” said Schram. “I just kept wrestling through the whistle.”
Chishko, who hadn’t competed until the postseason tournaments after suffering a fractured elbow prior to the start of the regular season, said he was cautious in his bout against Franklin Regional’s Josh Shields.
“I was kind of just feeling him out,” Chishko said. “This was my first real good, high-level kid this season. I was a little cautious, maybe a little more than I should have been.”
Wiercioch had the easiest time of the C-M trio, topping Chartiers Valley’s Noah Wilps, 9-1, in the 170-pound final.
It was the lone bout of the tournament for Wiercioch that did not end in a pin or technical fall.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Wiercioch. “It would have been better if it had been four-time champ, but I’m OK with three. And what’s special about it is that I get to share it with Solomon and Connor. It’s pretty special.”
A.C. Headlee upset top-seeded Dom Forys, 7-5, in the 113-pound final to become Waynesburg’s first WPIAL champion since Zach McGinnis won at 125 pounds in 2010.
It was a reversal of their 2012 bout here when Forys edged Headlee, 3-1, in the consolation finals, ending Headlee’s season.
“It was a little payback,” Headlee said.
But Canon-McMillan was the tournament’s biggest winner with its seven wrestlers advancing to next week’s PIAA tournament.
In addition to Campbell, heavyweight Angelo Broglia finished second, dropping a tough 3-1 decision to unbeaten Shane Kuhn of Kiski.
The Big Macs also had two third-place finishers as Brendan Price edged Kevin Miller of Norwin, 4-2, in the 106-pound consolation finals, and Dalton Macri easily handled Logan Heinl of Shaler, 7-2, in the 120-pound third-place match.
“I thought we had a really good tournament,” said Mary, who was named the WPIAL’s outstanding coach for the fifth time in his 13-year career.
The news wasn’t all good for area wrestlers as three lost in the consolation finals to finish fourth, one spot short of a trip to the PIAA championships.
Tyler Buckiso of Peters Township was edged 5-3 in overtime by Tyler Walker of North Hills in the 126-pound consolation bout, giving up a takedown off his own shot 10 seconds into the extra period.
Canon-McMillan’s Sammy Minor dropped a 4-2 decision to North Allegheny’s Ben Schweiger at 160, and Brent Blacharczyk of McGuffey was handed a 5-1 defeat by Norwin freshman Andrew Phipps at 182.