C-M’s Furman surprises in Section 4-AAA

February 22, 2014

CORAOPOLIS – Canon-McMillan freshman Brendan Furman got a leg up on the competition Saturday night – literally.

Furman not only beat top seed Zack Jablonski in the heavyweight final of the WPIAL Section 4-AAA wrestling championships at Moon High School, he did so in impressive fashion, pinning the Montour sophomore just 20 seconds into the second period.

The most impressive thing about Furman’s victory?

He did it despite beginning the second period on bottom.

After a scoreless first period, Jablonski, who entered with a 29-6 record, opened the second period on top. Furman, who improved his season record to 20-11 with three wins Saturday, exploded up off the whistle, catching Furman’s leg on the way up.

Jablonski remained behind Furman for several seconds as Furman continued to raise the leg higher until he finally turned into Jablonski and used his 280-pound frame to drive the pair to the mat.

Furman landed squarely on top of Jablonski, flattening him for an easy pin.

“I looked over at my coaches and they kept telling me to jack it higher, so I did,” Furman said. “I thought I was in pretty decent position. I felt (the leg) off the whistle.”

Furman’s surprise victory in the finals came after he had already dominated No. 2 seed Stephon Peake, 10-0, in the semifinals and capped off a strong tournament for the freshman.

“I had a lot of fun today,” Furman said with a laugh.

Furman was one of six Big Macs to finish first in the sectional, but perhaps the most unexpected.

He feels the grueling schedule Canon-McMillan wrestles during the regular season helped prepare the Big Macs for the individual events.

“It does,” Furman said. “We took a trip down to Florida and I wrestled a two-time state champ. I beat him 4-3 and I learned so much in that match, a different style of wrestling.”

Joining Furman at the top of the medals stand were teammates Brendan Price (113), Dalton Macri (126), Josiah Hritsko (132), Malachi Krenzelak (138) and Solomon Chishsko (145).

The news wasn’t all good for the Big Macs, however, as top-seeded Matt Oblock fell 6-3 in overtime to Waynesburg’s Shaun Wilson in the 120-pound championship. The two were tied 2-2 at the end of regulation after Oblock scored an escape with 19 seconds remaining in regulation. Oblock again scored an escape in the first overtime to take a 3-2 lead, but Wilson reversed him and picked up two near-fall points in the second overtime to earn the victory.

“I was nervous,” said Wilson of heading into overtime. “He’s tough to ride and I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it. The coaches helped talk me through it.

“I just needed an escape at first, but he broke me down and I could feel his hip. I was able to get the reversal and then some backs. I think he was ranked like fourth in the WPIAL. It really boosts my confidence since I wasn’t ranked.”

Wilson’s Waynesburg teammate Colin McCracken won the 160-pound final with a pin of Blackhawk’s Jared Ahlgren.

Other local winners included Trinity’s Tristan Buxton at 106, who defeated Gage Nicolella of McGuffey when Buxton was unable to continue following an illegal blow from Nicolella in the second period.

The top five finishers from each weight class advance to the WPIAL Class AAA championships, which begin Thursday at Canon-McMillan.

The Big Macs advanced 12 wrestlers while Trinity, McGuffey and Waynesburg each advanced eight.


The section title for Chishsko was his fourth. … Other champions were Noah Wilps (170), Jacob Paris (182) and Michael Rope (220) of Chartiers Valley, Cole Macik of Montour at 195 and Nate Hall of West Allegheny at 152. … Hopewell was second in qualifiers with nine despite not having a champion.

Dale Lolley has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1993 after previously working at WJAC-TV and the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, and The Derrick in Oil City. A native of Fryburg, Pa., he is a graduate of North Clarion High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he earned a degree in journalism. He has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers since joining the Observer-Reporter in 1993, and also serves as the outdoors editor. He also is a radio host for Pittsburgh’s ESPN 970-AM, and serves as administrative adviser for the Red & Black, Washington & Jefferson College’s student newspaper.

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