Wiercioch calmly claims state crown.Published Mar 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm (Updated Mar 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm)
Canon McMillan's Cody Wiercioch, right, grapples with Dubois Area's Tom Sleigh in a 170-pound match at the PIAA Class AAA high school wrestling championships on Friday, March 8, 2013, in Hershey, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Nerves of steel. Cody Wiercioch has them.
For when the Canon-McMillan senior takes to the wrestling mats, nothing bothers him. In his career, he has racked up 167 victories in 172 bouts. This past weekend, Wiercioch calmly secured his third PIAA state championship when he decisioned Penncrest’s Joe Gartland, 7-2, in the 170-pound finals at the Giant Center in Hershey.
“No,” he said. “I never get nervous. There’s no reason to get nervous. I’ve been there before.”
Indeed, when it comes to state finals, Wiercioch has been there before. He won his first title as a freshman at 152 pounds while wrestling for Charleroi. After a runner-up showing his sophomore season, Wiercioch won back-to-back titles as a Big Mac. He won his first Class AAA title by beating Shane Springer of Norristown, 7-4, last year and his second championship this season against Gartland.
“It feels awesome,” he said of this third title. “I like this one best though because two of my other teammates both won. That makes it more special.”
Special is Wiercioch as he breezed through the competition. He pinned Cody Seibert from Big Spring at 4:28 in his opening bout, then defeated Tom Sleigh from Dubois, 11-3. In the semifinals, he beat Central Dauphin’s Colton Pepelmon, 16-6.
“I just tried to push the pace and stay on it,” he said of his matches.
Since he stopped playing football in elementary school, Wiercioch has stayed with wrestling and has become one of the best in the sport, certainly at Canon-McMillan says his head coach Chris Mary.
“Cody will go down as one of the school’s, if not the state’s, best competitors,” Mary said. “He will be remembered as one of the best. What a career. Absolutely amazing.”
A four-time state finalist, Wiercioch won back-to-back WPIAL and Southwestern Regional titles for the Big Macs. He also helped CM capture championships as the district and state levels during both the team and individual tournaments. The Big Macs rolled up 99 points during last weekend’s PIAA tournament to take home the team trophy. Central Dauphin finished second with a 75 score.
Skill and assuredness make the University of Pittsburgh recruit a champion Mary said. Wiercioch possesses sound technique and confidence on the mat.
“Cody has great mat awareness. There is no one better. I’ve not seen anybody in my 23 years of wrestling,” Mary said. “His technique is so sound.
“He’s so confident, too, in his abilities. Not a lot of people have that, particularly at his age. In two full seasons in a Canon-Mac singlet, he has not given up a single takedown.”
Another rare feat Wiercioch has achieved as a Big Mac. Along with his teammate, Connor Schram, Wiercioch has been selected to the U.S. Dream Team in Chicago. Plus, he will wrestle this Sunday, March 17 in the 39th annual Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic at Pitt’s Fitzgerald Field House. Wiercioch was selected to the Pennsylvania squad long ahead of winning his state title.
“I’m real excited about the Dapper Dan. I was psyched up about the early selection,” he added. “This is a great opportunity for me. Now I just have to go in and wrestle the way I always do.”