Canon-McMillan won its fourth consecutive WPIAL Class AAA team title and ninth overall Saturday at Chartiers Valley, but the championship didn’t come easy.
For the second consecutive day, the Big Macs (15-0) had to rally for a victory.
They trailed by 12 points through six matches but defeated first-time finalist Franklin Regional, 31-26, thanks to wins in five of the final seven bouts.
A pin in a minute by junior Dalton Macri at 120 pounds ended the match.
Macri said he was confident he would pull out the win for the team.
“I know that I’m one of the best in the state, and I’m confident in my abilities,” he said. “Right before the match, I looked around and saw all the people cheering in the stands. Then I kind of shrunk it down and just imagined being in the practice room.”
After the pin, Macri flexed both arms. It was something he saw Iowa junior Tony Ramos do after a pin Friday against Penn State.
Both teams earned a trip to Hershey for the PIAA Team Tournament, which begins Thursday.
“This never gets old,” Canon-McMillan coach Chris Mary said. “I love my kids. I love the program and community. This is for them.
“We got a lot of gutsy performances from all of the wrestlers. We beat a very good and well-coached Franklin Regional team.”
Franklin Regional (17-3) built a 20-8 lead with technical falls by Michael Kemerer (126) and Tyler Smith (138), a major decision win by Josh Shields (152) and wins by Josh Maruca (145) and Nate Painter (170).
Canon-McMillan started its rally with a win by Steve LaFrance at 182 pounds.
Two-time state champion Cody Wiercioch followed with a pin at 195 pounds, and a win by Angelo Broglia at 220 tied the match at 20-20, setting up a thrilling final four bouts.
2013 WPIAL AAA Team Tournament:
- Ringgold 45, Pittsburgh Central Catholic 31
- Hempfield 46, Hopewell 28
- Mt. Lebanon 48, West Allegheny 27
- North Hills 46, Waynesburg 28
- Canon-McMillan 56, Ringgold 9
- Hampton 44, Peters Township 27
- Kiski Area 51, McGuffey 22
- Connellsville 45, Hempfield16
- North Allegheny 54, Mt. Lebanon 16
- Greesburg Salem 36, Butler 28
- Belle Vernon 34, Latrobe 30
- Franklin Regional 47, North Hills 24
- Canon-McMillan 46, Hampton 28
- Kiski Area 46, Connellsville 21
- North Allegheny 44, Greensburg Salem 17
- Franklin Regional 60, Belle Vernon 16
Third Place (PIAA Qualifier)
Complete Team Brackets of WPIAL AAA Team Championships – Brackets