Canon-McMillan Edges Franklin Regional for Fourth Straight WPIAL AAA Wrestling Crown

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Sunday, February 3, 2013 | 7:14 AM


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With his team trailing by a single point, Canon-McMillan junior Dalton Macri pinned Franklin Regional’s Dan Turner just one minute into the final bout of the night at 120 pounds, nailing down the top-seeded Big Macs’ record fourth straight WPIAL Class AAA team wrestling title. Macri’s victory capped off a dual meet that featured the Panthers (17-3) building a 12-point lead midway through the match, only to see Canon-McMillan (15-0) battle back for a hard-fought 31-26 win in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd of WPIAL high school wrestling fans at Chartiers Valley High School on Saturday evening.

{ABOVE: Stanford recruit Conner Schram takes a peak at the clock en route to a 22-7 technical victory win over Franklin Regional’s Dom Giannangeli}

With the match beginning at the 126 pound weight class, the sweet spot of the Franklin Regional lineup, the second-seeded Panthers jumped out to a 20-8 lead on the strength of technical falls by Mike Kemerer (126 pounds) and Tyler Smith (138), a major decision by Josh Shields (152), and pair of decisions by Josh Maruca (145) and Nate Painter (170). Stanford-recruit Conner Schram’s technical fall victory at 132 pounds and a 12-5 decision by Sammy Minor (160) provided the Big Macs’ only early scoring, as Franklin Regional won five of the contest’s first seven bouts.

Canon-McMillan showed the resiliency of a champion over the next three bouts, however, by tying up the match at 20-20 after University of Pittsburgh-bound Cody Wiercioch (ranked #1 at 170 pounds) jumped up two weight classes to record a fall at 195 pounds and fellow seniors Steve LaFrance (182) and Angelo Broglia (220) recorded key decisions for the Big Macs.

The heavyweight bout was a classic battle between two senior leaders. Franklin Regional big man Luke Fleck, favoring a heavily braced right knee, outlasted Canon-McMillan standout Alex Campbell . The senior scored an escape in the ultimate tie-breaker period for a 3-2 victory to put the Panthers back on top, 23-20, with just three bouts remaining in the dual meet. Campbell, also a senior, is the top-ranked 220-pounder in the WPIAL and gave up 27 pounds to Fleck, a state place-winner for Franklin Regional last season.

The Big Macs, the defending state champions, would then grab their first lead of the evening, as junior Brendon Price’s technical fall victory in the 106-pound bout put Canon-McMillan in front at 25-23. But Franklin Regional sophomore Kyle Berk’s 10-8 win over Joshua Minor see-sawed the Panthers back into a 26-25 edge, setting the stage for Macri’s final heroics.

With the championship win, Canon-McMillan eclipses the record of three straight WPIAL Class AAA crowns previously shared with the storied 1986-88 North Allegheny teams. The Big Macs now possess a total of nine WPIAL team championship trophies. The Connellsville Falcons (7 titles) and North Allegheny (5 titles) have also fared well in the WPIAL AAA team dual meet tournament that was first contested towards the end of the 1978-79 season.

The Big Macs will begin defense of their state championship at the GIANT Center in Hershey, PA this Thursday, February 7, 2013 against the winner of a Monday night preliminary round match between Boyertown (the District 1 third place team) and a very solid Spring Grove team (the District 3 third place entrant). Franklin Regional, meanwhile, will face off against the District 4 champion in the first round.

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126 – Michael Kemerer, FR TF Josiah Hritsko, 20-5 at 5:05

132 – Connor Schram, CM TF Dom Giannangeli, 22-7 at 5:05

138 – Tyler Smith, FR TF Nick Oberhaus, 15-0 at 4:39

145 – Josh Maruca, FR d Alec Hutchin, 6-0

152 – Josh Shields, FR MD William Pihiou, 13-4

160 – Sammy Minor, CM d Brandon Yant, 12-5

170 – Nate Painter, FR d Nick Konyk, 4-3

182 – Steve LaFrance, CM d Jake Pickup, 8-1

195 – Cody Wiercioch, CM fall Justin Rose, 2:27

220 – Angelo Broglia, CM d Brett Zanotto, 6-3

285 – Luke Fleck, FR d Alex Campbell, 3-2 UTB

106 – Brendon Price, CM TF Andrew Marshall, 15-0 at 4:18

113 – Kyle Berk, FR d Josh Minor, 10-8

120 – Dalton Macri, CM fall Dan Turner, 1:00

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