Wiercioch leads O-R All-District Wrestling Team
C-M senior a ‘Superman’ on stellar district team
Wrestler Cody Wiercioch shows off some of the medals and trophies he had a part in winning while at Canon-McMillan High School. A three-time state champion, Wiercioch is the Outstanding Wrestler on this year’s All-District team.
Eleanor Bailey / The Almanac
If you are keeping a list of accomplishments Cody Wiercioch achieved this season, make sure you have a pen with a lot of ink and plenty of paper.
The senior from Canon-McMillan has had a memorable season.
• Wiercioch won his third PIAA wrestling championship with a 7-2 victory over Joey Gartland of Penncrest at 170 pounds. He was a four-time state finalist.
• The victory capped a season in which Wiercioch won 44 of 45 decisions and finished with a career record of 167-5. Of those five losses, four came against Travis McKillop of Burrell. The two met seven times over Wiercioch’s first two seasons.
• Wiercioch never lost a bout in the PIAA Team Tournament, helping the Big Macs to consecutive championships and two of the three team titles they won in the individual tournament.
• Wiercioch became Canon-McMillan’s 18th state champion and finished the season as the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 170 pounds in the country by Intermat.
• Over the past two seasons, Wiercioch did not give up a takedown in a varsity match.
• In December, Wiercioch won a 3-2 decision over Zach Epperly, a four-time state champion from Christiansburg High School in Virginia, to win his weight at the Ironman; and a 3-1 overtime decision over Steve Cervantes of Poway, Calif., to win his weight at the Reno Tournament of Champions.
• Before the season began, Wiercioch became one of the marquee names in Pitt’s strong recruiting class.
There is more, but this did move Wiercioch’s coach, Chris Mary, to say at the PIAA Championships that Wiercioch, “was our Superman.”
One more honor for this talented wrestler comes with his selection as the Outstanding Wrestler on this year’s Observer-Reporter All-District Wrestling Team.
Wiercioch joins 27 other wrestlers who earned a spot on one of the two teams.
Along with Wiercioch on the first team are Seth Carr (113), Jared Walker (160) and Mike Fetchet (170) of South Fayette; Dalton Macri (120), Connor Schram (126), Solomon Chishko (145) and Alex Campbell (220) of Canon-McMillan; A.C. Headlee (113) of Waynesburg; John Demaske (126) and Dustin Conti (170) of Jefferson-Morgan; Nick Gavazzi (138) of Charleroi; Garrett Vulcano (195) of Chartiers-Houston and Jake Temple (220) of Avella.
The Second team includes Brendan Price (106), Sammy Minor (160) and Angelo Broglia (Hvy) of Canon-McMillan; Brendan Howard (106) of Jefferson-Morgan; Austin McDermitt (106) of Burgettstown; Jake Rothka (113) of Bentworth; Mike Carr (120) and Grant Fetchet (152) of South Fayette; Tyler Buckiso (126) of Peters Township; Tanner Sutton (145) of Chartiers-Houston; Matt Johnston (145) and Cody Jacobs (220) of West Greene; Anthony Welsh (152) of Beth-Center; and Brent Blacharczyk (182) of McGuffey.
As usual, the selections for the All-District teams were based on the accomplishments of a wrestler within his weight class.
The Class AAA Coach of the Year is Chris Mary of Canon-McMillan and the Class AA honor goes to Rick Chaussard of South Fayette.
If Connor Schram was the heartbeat this Big Macs team, then Wiercioch was its soul. His easy going manner and aggressiveness on the mat made him one of the more respected leaders on the team.
“I think I matured, become a well-rounded wrestler,” said Wiercioch after winning his latest gold medal. “Conditioning played a big part in it.”
Wiercioch relished the target on his back that comes with such high ranking, such high expectations, and such a high skill level.
“I just ignored it,” he said. “Every match, I was loose and I just let it go.”
His march through the 170-pound weight class was impressive. He began with a pin in 4:28 of Cody Seibert of Big Spring, and he followed it with an 11-3 major decision over Tom Sleigh of Dubois in the quarterfinals. Colton Peppelman of Central Dauphin was next, and he went quietly, 16-6. That left Gartland, and he was dispatched with a 7-2 decision.
“I just go out and wrestle and have fun,” said Wiercioch. I feel like if you think too much, it can hurt you.”
Among the many high points in his career, two things will probably stand out for a generation. He won two victories against Central Dauphin over the past two years. The first came in the semifinals of the PIAA Team Tournament last year and the second came in the finals this year. Those two dual meets will be remembered in this area as two of the most thrilling in the history of Canon-McMillan wrestling.
The other was his final in this year’s Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament against undefeated and two-time state champion Chance Marsteller of Kennard Dale. Wiercioch lost a 2-1 decision in ultimate tiebreaker, but the standing-room-only crowd saw not only a matchup of the top two wrestlers in the country at that weight but also one of, if not the best, skilled bout of the year.
“He’s so gifted,” Mary said. “Now, he’s going to a quality program at Pitt. It will be great following him as a Pitt Panther.”