Canon-McMillan standout selected for all-star squad
(Photo: Canon-McMillan's Cody Wiercioch, left, battling Bald Eagle's Jacob Taylor in last year's PIAA tournament, is considered by many as the top wrestler in the WPIAL. Alex Brandon/Associated Press.)
The Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic selection committee invited Canon-McMillan senior Cody Wiercioch to wrestle for the Pennsylvania all-star team at the 39th annual event March 17 at Pitt's Fitzgerald Field House.
Wiercioch (34-1), a 170-pound senior, is a three-time PIAA finalist who has won a title in each class. He captured a Class AA 152-pound state title as a freshman and placed second at 160 as a sophomore while attending Charleroi. Wiercioch transferred to Canon-McMillan last season and claimed a PIAA Class AAA title at 170.
Wiercioch, a Pitt recruit who boasts a 157-5 career record, is ranked No. 2 in the country by several national publications. His only loss this season was to Kennard-Dale junior Chance Marsteller, who is ranked No. 1 in every poll. The two met in the finals of the Powerade Christmas tournament and Marsteller escaped in the ultimate tiebreaker period for a 3-2 victory. Marsteller recently dropped to 160, so the two will not meet in the postseason.
"The invitation is well deserved," Canon-McMillan coach Chris Mary said. "Cody is one of the best wrestlers to come through the state of Pennsylvania. It will be a great way to end his scholastic career."
The United States all-star team for the Classic was released two weeks ago. Wiercioch will face Zachary Beard, a three-time Oklahoma state champion from Tuttle High School. Beard, a University of Wyoming recruit, had a 122-9 record coming into the season.
The other 12 members of the Pennsylvania team will be chosen after the PIAA tournament. The United States team will face Pennsylvania's team in the feature match at 6 p.m. A team of WPIAL all-stars will face the Virginia all-stars in the preliminary match at 4 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at Wright Automotive Group on Route 19, Monroeville Chrysler Jeep, Canon-McMillan High School or by calling Dapper Dan Charities at 412-263-3850. For more information about the Wrestling Classic or to order tickets, visit www.wrestlingclassic.com. The reserved seat ticket price is $15 and general admission is $10.
Class AA unbeatens
Kittanning's Jason Nolf, Charleroi's Nick Gavazzi, Jefferson-Morgan's Dustin Conti and Burrell's Dakota DesLauriers have two things in common as they enter the WPIAL Class AA tournament, which begins Friday at Chartiers Valley.
All four are returning WPIAL champions and boast an unblemished record. They are the only remaining unbeaten wrestlers in Class AA.
Nolf (35-0), a 132-pound junior, is a two-time WPIAL and one-time PIAA champion. Gavazzi (29-0), a junior, is the defending champion at 138. Conti (31-0), a senior, is the defending champ at 170. DesLauriers (26-0), a senior, is a two-time WPIAL champ who returns to defend his title at 182.
The unbeaten foursome is among eight returning WPIAL champions. The other four are Valley's Pat Dewitt (29-7), South Side Beaver's Nathan Reckner (26-2), Chartiers-Houston's Tanner Sutton (36-5) and South Fayette's J.J. Walker (24-6).
Dewitt, a junior, has moved to 126 after claiming a WPIAL title at 106 last year. Reckner, a senior, is a two-time WPIAL finalist and defending champ at 120. Sutton, a senior, is a two-time WPIAL finalist and defending champ at 145. Walker has moved to 160 after winning a WPIAL crown last year as a 152-pound freshman.
The top seven finishers in each weight class advance to the Class AA Southwest Region tournament, which returns March 1-2 to Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
Class AAA sectionals
The Class AAA section tournaments Saturday feature 36 wrestlers who have won a section title, including a trio of three-time champions: Canon-McMillan's Connor Schram (34-3) and Wiercioch, and Connellsville's Ethan Kenney (23-6).
Schram has won Section 4 titles at 103, 112 and 120, and is now competing at 126. Wiercioch won two Class AA section crowns at Charleroi, then won a Class AAA Section 4 title at 170 last season. Kenney won Section 2 titles at 103, 119 and 132, and is now competing at 138.
The sites for Saturday's Class AAA sectionals are Gateway (Section 1), Baldwin (Section 2), Fox Chapel (Section 3) and Moon (Section 4). The top five finishers in each weight class from each section advance to the WPIAL championships.
Kiski Area's dynamic duo of Matt McCutcheon (29-0 at 195) and Shane Kuhn (31-0 at 285) are the headliners in Section 1. The two are the only remaining unbeaten wrestlers in Class AAA in the WPIAL. McCutcheon, a Penn State recruit, is a two-time section champ, and a one-time WPIAL and PIAA champ. Kuhn returns at heavyweight after placing second in the WPIAL and fourth in the state. McCutcheon and Kuhn are among 13 returning champs in Section 1.
Kenney is one of eight returning champs in Section 2. Eight champs return in Section 3, including six two-timers. Wiercioch and Schram are among seven returning champs in Section 4.
Burrell reigns supreme
Burrell was the most impressive of any team in Saturday's Class AA section tournaments. The Buccaneers had 13 wrestlers qualify for this weekend's WPIAL Class AA tournament by placing among the top five in their weight class at the Section 3 tournament at Avonworth. Burrell had six entries advance to the finals and five won titles, including DesLauriers, a three-time champ. Burrell also had five third-place finishers and two fourth-place finishers.
Kittanning was a close second to Burrell in Section 3. The Wildcats had 11 qualifiers, including six finalists and four champions. Nolf won his third section title for Kittanning with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Keystone Oaks' Nick Zanetta.
• South Fayette and Chartiers-Houston were the top finishers in Section 1. South Fayette had 10 wrestlers advance to the WPIAL tournament, including seven finalists and two champions. Seth Carr (29-3 at 113) and Michael Fetchet (33-1 at 170) were repeat winners for the Lions.
Chartiers-Houston had 10 wrestlers qualify, including two champions. Sutton (145) won a fourth consecutive title for the Buccaneers and teammate Garrett Vulcano (37-2 at 195) claimed a third.
• Bentworth had the most qualifiers in Section 2, which was held at Charleroi. The Bearcats had nine qualify, but all four finalists were defeated. Jefferson-Morgan, Mount Pleasant and Yough each had eight qualifiers. Jefferson-Morgan had four champs, including three-time winner John Demaske (19-2 at 126).