Canon-McMillan rallies for second PIAA wrestling title in a row

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Canon-McMillan junior Brendon Price was facing Zach Elvin, who beat him at the 2011 Powerade Christmas tournament and two months later in the 2012 PIAA team tournament semifinals.

This time, however, the stakes were higher. Canon-McMillan and Central Dauphin were tied, 31-31, in the Class AAA PIAA team title match at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., and the winner of their 106-pound match would decide the championship.

It was Price's day as he scored two takedowns en route to a 4-3 victory that earned Canon-McMillan a 34-31 win and a second consecutive PIAA Class AAA team title.

"This is history," Canon-McMillan coach Chris Mary said. "We're the first WPIAL team to win back-to-back PIAA titles. That's something to be proud of."

Mary ran to the mat and picked up Price after the deciding victory.

"What a turnaround," Mary said. "He's been wrestling with a lot of confidence this year. He has a huge will to win. He now believes in himself."

Price's victory capped an impressive comeback as the Big Macs rallied from 26-14 and 31-19 deficits to win four of the final five matches. Cody Wiercioch (182) began the rally with a technical fall, but Central Dauphin's Terrance Parsons (195) matched it with a tech fall.

Trailing by 12 with three bouts left, Canon-McMillan (19-0) needed bonus points. And Alex Campbell (220) and Angelo Broglia (285) delivered the goods, pinning their opponents to tie the match, 31-31.

"[Campbell and Broglia] went out there with a mission," Mary said. "They wrestled with a lot of heart and a lot of intensity."

Canon-McMillan's title is more impressive because the Big Macs had two starters out, including WPIAL champion Solomon Chishko (elbow), who has missed the entire season.

"The kids left their hearts, blood, sweat and tears on the arena floor," said Mary. "I'm so proud and blessed to lead such a fine group of kids."

Canon-McMillan was joined on the winners' platform by WPIAL runner-up Franklin Regional. The Panthers placed third in the Class AAA bracket.

"It feels great to be coming home with the third-place trophy," Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser said. "This was the school's first appearance in the state, so we're very happy to do this well."

Franklin Regional (21-4) opened the day with a 29-25 win against District 10 champion Erie McDowell in the consolation semifinals.

"McDowell beat us, 37-19, earlier in the season, but we had to forfeit two weight classes," Mausser said. "This time, we had a full lineup and were able to make a name for ourselves."

Franklin Regional capped its PIAA debut with a 29-26 win against District 11 champion Easton. The Panthers rallied from a 26-17 deficit with wins in the final three weight classes by 2Brett Zanotto (20), Luke Fleck (285) and Andrew Marshall (106). Fleck's pin tied the score, 26-26, and Marshall's 7-1 win clinched it.

In Class AA, Bethlehem Catholic claimed its third consecutive title with a 43-16 win against Reynolds.