South Xtra: For Upper St. Clair's McGuire, three's company at PIAA meet
Upper St. Clair's Mackenzie McGuire, top, was a 2-1 winner against Greensburg Salem's Tyler Reinhart in the semifinals of the WPIAL/Southwest Region Class AAA tournament Saturday at Norwin High School. McGuire won the 132-pound title later that day, defeating Franklin Regional's Josh Shields in the final.
Share with others:
Mackenzie McGuire was pleased to win his second WPIAL/Southwest Region Class AAA title, but this Upper St. Clair senior was even happier to see that two Panthers teammates will be joining him at the PIAA tournament, which begins today at the Giant Center in Hershey.
"It's great this year because I have two of my teammates coming to Hershey with me," McGuire said. "I think this is the first time in school history that we've brought more than one person to states."
It's actually the second time. Upper St. Clair had three wrestlers qualify for the PIAA Class AAA tournament in 1994 and two went on to earn place-winner status.
McGuire will make his third trip to Hershey with hopes of improving on last year's silver-medal performance. He will be joined at Hershey by Panthers teammates John Kyriacopoulos and Austin Wilding.
"John lost his first match and came back to place third," McGuire said. "He even suffered a cut above his eye during that bout and had to get stitches. It's amazing what he did, especially after getting stitches in his head.
"I didn't think he was coming back, but he proved me wrong. I'm very proud of him."
Wilding placed third at 160 pounds after suffering a narrow 4-2 loss to Greater Latrobe's Zack Zavatsky, the eventual champion, in the semifinals. He posted two wins in the consolation bracket, including a 6-2 win against Mt. Lebanon freshman Kellan Stout in the consolation final.
"I'm real proud of those kids," McGuire said. "They've been with me since I was 8 or 9. It's an unbelievable feeling to have all of us qualify at the same time."
McGuire remembers his first trip to Hershey like it happened yesterday.
"I was super nervous, and it showed in the way I wrestled," McGuire said. "Just walking across the bridge to the arena, my coach told me I looked so nervous."
McGuire made a quick exit from his first PIAA appearance after losing two matches in a row. He did much better last year, placing second in the 119-pound weight class. McGuire earned his third berth and claimed a second WPIAL/Southwest Region title with his 3-1 win against Franklin Regional's Josh Shields in the 132-pound final.
"It will be just as hard as it was last season," McGuire said. "But I don't feel a lot of pressure. I actually don't feel any pressure at all."
Derrick Evanovich became the fourth wrestler in Peters Township history to win a WPIAL title, and the first since Bob Kail captured the heavyweight title in 2002.
"I'm really excited," said Evanovich, who found it a bit tough to find the words to describe his feelings. "It's an incredible experience to win a WPIAL title."
Evanovich won the 126-pound WPIAL/Southwest Region title with a 2-0 win against Canon-McMillan's Colton Shorts. It earns him his second trip to Hershey to compete in the PIAA tournament.
"I'm sure I will be more comfortable going to Hershey this year," Evanovich said. "Last year, I wasn't expecting to do much. I was just glad to be there. This year I really want to place."
Canon-McMillan would like to improve on last year's impressive finish in the PIAA Tournament.
"We took six kids last year and all six were place-winners," Canon-McMillan coach Chris Mary said. "This year we have eight and our goal is for all eight to place."
The Big Macs had eight wrestlers advance to the WPIAL/Southwest Region finals, and four claimed gold medals, falling just short of last year's total of five champions. They set a Southwest Region record with 216.6 points to easily claim the team title, as Central Catholic finished a distant second with 112 points.
Connor Schram, Solomon Chishko, Cody Wiercioch and Cody Klempay won titles for Canon-McMillan, while Dalton Macri, Colton Shorts, Dario Dobbin and Alex Campbell were silver medalists.
Schram advanced to the finals for the third year in a row and claimed his second title with a convincing 11-2 victory against Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith in the 120-pound title. Chishko, a sophomore, won his second consecutive title with a 3-0 shutout of Connellsville's Tanner Wiltrout at 138 pounds.
"It's kind of tough when you're on the top, because everybody is trying to beat you," Chishko said. "It's great to win a second title. Now I can set my sites on a PIAA title."
Wiercioch won his second WPIAL title and first in Class AAA with a 13-4 win against Belle Vernon Area's Adam Nickelson at 170 pounds. Wiercioch, who won the Outstanding Wrestler Award, was a two-time WPIAL and PIAA finalist in Class AA for Charleroi, but transferred to Canon-McMillan last summer. Klempay captured his second consecutive heavyweight title with a narrow 1-0 decision of Kiski Area's Shane Kuhn.
"We're pretty dominating in the WPIAL right now and hope to do the same at the PIAA tournament," said Schram, when asked about the Big Macs having eight in the finals.
First Published 2012-03-07 23:42:30