Goal remains, but C-M savors title

By John Sacco

For the Observer-Reporter
Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter McGuffey's Zach Herrle tries to escape from Hopewell's Michael Tempalski in the 195-pound bout. Tempalski got the win with a 9-4 decision.

CANONSBURG – When you are the three-time defending WPIAL Class AAA champions, winning a section title might seem somewhat routine, even dull.

But championships – of any kind – are not just routine.

They, too, even when the goal is much higher, are of some significance.

The Canon-McMillan Big Macs celebrated another section title here Wednesday night, rolling to a 61-9 victory over McGuffey to win Section 4-AAA and continue their quest for a record fourth consecutive WPIAL Class AAA Team Tournament championship.

“Winning a section championship is absolutely great for our program,” Big Macs’ Coach Chris Mary said. “It continues our school’s tradition.

“I am proud of our boys’ effort. They really stepped it up here.”

Canon-McMillan advanced to the section tournament finals with a 56-18 victory over West Allegheny in the semifinals. McGuffey earned a section finals berth with a 42-27 decision over Hopewell.

The Vikings bounced back in the third-place match against West Allegheny, posting a 49-29 victory.

The section crown is the Big Macs’ 34th, dating to 1962. Canon-McMillan has won 12 straight section championships. The Big Macs also are the defending PIAA Class AAA team champions.

While Canon-McMillan was a heavy favorite to win the section crown, Mary was wary of a letdown or lethargic effort.

“In matches like this, after a brutal (regular) season schedule – you do fear some kind of a letdown,” he said. “But our kids continue to respond to the challenges put in front of them.

“They are working hard in the (practice) room. We have a good bunch of seniors who are enjoying this journey.”

Canon-McMillan built a 15-0 lead over the Highlanders on the strength of a forfeit win by Alex Campbell at 220, a fall by Angelo Broglia at 295 and a 10-3 decision by Brendon Price at 106.

After a 7-0 win by Aaron Harris of McGuffey at 113, the Big Macs reeled off four consecutive wins and captured nine of the last 10 bouts.

Nick Konyk (160), Sammy Minor (170) and two-time state champion Cody Wiercioch (170) recorded pins while Josiah Hritsko (126) and Conner Schram (132) won by technical fall. Dalton Macri (120) won by forfeit and Alec Hutchin (138) and Jacob Martin (152) won by decision.

The Highlanders’ Christian Whipkey won by forfeit at 145.

It was another command performance by Canon-McMillan, which hasn’t lost a section dual meet since 2001.

That long, rare, streak is not taken for granted by Mary.

“We’re blessed,” Mary said. “I’m blessed. We have great wrestlers and great coaches. The assistant coaches do a great job getting the kids ready. Without a doubt, we have something special here.”

The Big Macs were without three starters and they know next week’s team championships will be difficult.

Mary said the game plan remains the same.

“We will take one match at a time,” he added. “We will not overlook anyone or any team.

“There are some great teams out there. We will hold each kid accountable to do his job. We have a week to prepare and to tweak what we have to tweak.”