Canon-Mac, South Fayette advance to Final Four in wrestling
Alex Hutchin’s fall at 138 pounds propelled Canon-McMillan to victory versus Belle Vernon, 31-25, and into the WPIAL Class AAA wrestling semifinals set for Jan. 31 at Norwin. The No. 3-seed Big Macs, who have won four straight titles, will face Greater Latrobe (14-1) at 7:30 p.m.
The Wildcats, who beat Peters Township, 45-18, in their quarterfinal match, will be similar to the Leopards says Big Mac skipper Jason Cardillo. “It’s going to be a close match,” he predicted of the semfinal. “It’s going to come down to matchups and bonus points.”
With the match deadlocked at 19, the Big Macs got the big points when Hutchin took the mat and quickly pinned Cameron Evans.
“Alec’s pin was big,” said Cardillo. “He had that cement mixer locked in and pulled the trigger. It really fired us up.”
Indeed, for after Hutchin’s fall, Solomon Chishko and Malachi Krenzelak followed with decisions at 145 and 152 to put the bout out of reach for the Leopards, who closed with a fall at 160. Chishko beat Jarod Verkleeren, 11-6, while Krenzelak upended Derek Verkleeren, 7-5.
“Malachi earned a real hard-fought victory against a guy who was ranked No. 3 at 152,” Cardillo noted. “Those were big moments.”
Belle Vernon opened the match with four straight wins from 170 through 220 before the Big Macs began to chip away at the 13-0 disadvantage.
Brendan Furman ignited CM’s rally, registering a fall at heavyweight. A win by Camden Fontenot at 106 and a major decision by Brendan Price at 113 tied the match, 13-13.
Though the Leopards leaped ahead with a win at 120, a forfeit win by Dalton Macri moved C-M into the lead, 19-16. Mitch Hartman’s decision against Josiah Hritsko knotted the contest, setting the stage for Hutchin.
“It was a hard-fought win,” said Cardillo. “We knew Belle Vernon would push us to the limit and they did. We weathered the early storm and battled all the way through the end.”
Canon-Mac reached the quarterfinals of the Class AAA team tournament with a 53-9 triumph against Ringgold.
Fontenot, Price, Macri, Jesse Lesko (182) and Alex Rideout (220) picked up pins against the Rams while Krenzelak and Chishko recorded technical falls. Blaise Konsco and Hutchin earned wins while Matt Oblock scored a major decision at 120.
Despite the defeat, Ken Tarpley provided the highlight for the Rams. The senior scored his 100th career win with an 8-2 decision against Isaac Miles at 132.
In other Class AAA matches involving local teams, Butler edged Mt. Lebanon, 32-31.
Winning matches for Blue Devils were Brian Perri (113) by fall, Kevin Kinyua (120) by major decision, Sam White (126) and Sean Perri (132) by decisions. Kellan Stout (182) picked up a fall, Bakhtiyar Zaynullaev (195) won by decision and Zeynul Zaynullayev (285) added a fall.
“Although a tough loss we are proud of the hard work the team has put in this season and look forward to continued progress,” said Lebo head coach Bill Lewis.
Peters Township defeated North Hills, 39-23, before falling to Latrobe, 45-18, in the quarterfinals.
South Fayette (19-0) returns to the Class AA semifinals for the second year in a row. The Lions will face Jefferson-Morgan at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at Norwin. The winner advances to the WPIAL championships Feb. 1 at Chartiers Valley.
The Lions advanced to the Final Four by defeating Avella, 47-21, in the quarterfinals. They trounced Southmoreland, 60-19, in first-round action.
Against the Eagles, Grant Fetchet scored the only fall. Ben Previte and J.J. Walker managed major decisions.
Thanks to a decision from Brett Beltz, a major by Shane Ging and a technical fall from Mike Carr, the Lions opened up a 12-0 advantage against Avella.
Though the Eagles closed to 29-15, South Fayette sealed its spot in the semifinals with four straight forfeits.
In the win over Southmoreland, the Lions also jumped ahead, 12-0. Scott Rzepecki’s pin at 126 and a forfeit contributed to the advantage. Pins by Ben and Jack Previte as well as Rasaun Culberson, Jason Wolfe and Spencer Girman also contributed to the victory.
Chartiers-Houston upended Derry, 37-34, in the first-round but the Buccaneers succumbed to Burgettstown, 42-26, in the quarterfinals.
Tre Lober picked up the lone pin against the Blue Devils. The heavyweight wrestler also registered a fall against Derry. Derek Hull (182) and Garrett Grimm (195) also had pins in the opener.