Big Macs knocked out of team tournament

February 1, 2014

HEIDELBERG – The PIAA Team Tournament will begin Monday under an unusual circumstance.

Canon-McMillan High School’s wrestling team will not be a part of it.

This stunning development was made possible by North Allegheny High School Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers knocked off the Big Macs, 29-28, in the third-place match of the WPIAL Class AAA Team Tournament at Chartiers Valley High School.

Franklin Regional won the Class AAA team title by routing Latrobe, 42-19, in the fourth and final dual meet at CV last night.

The loss means the Big Macs (16-2) will not participate in the state team tournament, nor have an opportunity to win a third straight title in the event. The district only advances three teams and no special spot is reserved for a team with such a glowing past as Canon-McMillan, which has won five of the last six state team tournament titles over the past three seasons.

“The season was a roller coaster ride,” said C-M first-year head coach Jason Cardillo. “We had a lot of ups, but this was a downer. Overall, it was a successful season.”

The Big Macs, coming off their first loss in four years Friday night in the semifinals against Latrobe, saw their losing streak stretch to two dual meets in an agonizingly close match against North Allegheny.

The Tigers won three one-point bouts, including the opener at 113, where Luke Landefeld shut out Brendan Price 1-0.

“That was a hard loss for Price,” Cardillo said. “The losses at 138 and 160 were tough. And we were trying to steal a win up top.”

North Allegheny (14-1), which wrestles the City League champion Allderdice Monday night to earn a trip to the Giant Center in Hershey for Thursday’s first round, built a 23-19 lead over Canon-McMillan with those wins at 138 and 160. A.J. Boeh rode Alec Hutchin for the third period to take a 3-2 decision and Jake Woodley popped his head out of a funk move for a takedown with 12 seconds left to take a 4-3 win from Micah Kusturis at 160. Those nine team points – 113, 138 and 160 – basically assured NA the win.

“You can only go over the lineup so many times when you get the news of what team it will be,” said NA head coach Jamie Kyriazis. “There were so many toss-up matches. Winning those were crucial. I thought 113 set the tone. Those were three big matches and I would have been happy to win two of three.”

Canon-McMillan mounted an early charge, taking a 6-3 lead with decisions from Matt Oblock (120) and Dalton Macri (126). Both won one-point decisions, Oblock 3-2 over Scott Stossel and Macri 4-3 over Dom Forys.

But Jake Hinkson won by 18-2 technical fall over Isaac Miles and Boeh’s win put NA up 11-6. The Big Macs got the lead back with Solomon Chishko’s technical fall at 145 and Malachi Krenzelak’s 3-0 decision over Blynn Shideler at 152.

The Tigers grabbed their largest lead, 29-19, after a decision by Colt Byerly at 182 and pins from Clay Byerly at 195 and Zach Smith at 220.

Brendan Furman pulled C-M to within 29-25 with a pin at heavyweight, giving the Big Macs a chance to win the dual meet with a technical fall or pin at 106, the final bout. Cam Fontenot wrestled hard but managed just a 7-6 decision.

“Cam went for it,” said Cardillo. “But you know scoring a lot of points against someone just trying not to get pinned is hard.”

North Allegheny is making its third straight appearance in the state team tournament.

Canon-McMillan last losses before these two were to Central Dauphin 36-20 in the semifinals, then 33-19 to Nazareth in the consolation semifinals in the 2010-11 season. The last regular season loss was in the Virginia Duals in the 2010-11 season. The last team to defeat C-M from the WPIAL was Hempfield, 39-31, in the 2009 team tournament.

“I felt we wrestled better (against North Allegheny) than we did (against Latrobe),” Cardillo said. “We’re trying to build our young kids up. We wanted to go to Hershey but it’s not in the cards for us now.”

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling. He has worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jeannette News-Dispatch and North Hills Record. He graduated from Duquesne University in 1980.

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