South Xtra: Big Macs favored in Tri-County wrestling meet

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The Canon-McMillan wrestling team spent the weekend in Florida and came home with a team title.

Teams from Peters Township and Chartiers-Houston are hoping for similar results this weekend as they prepare for a trip to Virginia.

Canon-McMillan was one of 27 teams entered in the Buzz Hill Invitational, which took place over the weekend at Gulf Coast High School in Naples, Fla.

"It was a nice trip for the team," said Canon-McMillan coach Jason Cardillo on Sunday evening, prior to the Big Macs Monday flight back to Pittsburgh. "And we were able to bring home the championship trophy."

The Big Macs had 13 of their 14 entries place among the top six in their weight classes. That was without their top wrestler, senior Solomon Chishko, who sat out with a knee injury. Chishko, a three-time WPIAL Class AAA champ, sustained a knee injury at Walsh Jesuit's Ironman Classic in December.

"We're hoping to have Solomon back in the lineup for this weekend's Tri-County Tournament," Cardillo said. "We're just waiting to get a clearance from his doctor."

Canon-McMillan's title at the Buzz Hill Invitational comes one week after the Big Macs finished fourth at the Powerade Christmas Tournament. It also comes one week before the Tri-County Tournament, which begins Friday at Ringgold High School.

"We had four kids in the finals and four in the consolation for third place," Cardillo said.

Brendan Price (113 pounds) was Canon-McMillan's only champion. Matt Oblock (120), Dalton Macri (126) and Malachi Krenzelak (145) were silver medalists for the Big Macs.

"Matt is one of our young kids who are trying to make a name for themselves," said Cardillo. "He's one of three freshmen who placed for us."

The other two were Brendan Furman and Camden Fontenot. Furman was fourth at 285, while Fontenot was fifth at 106.

Cardillo was also impressed by the performance turned in by senior Alec Rideout, who placed third at 220.

"Alec lost in the quarterfinal round and battled back to place third," Cardillo said.

Canon-McMillan is a heavy favorite in the Tri-County Tournament, especially because Peters Township and Chartiers-Houston have pulled out of the tournament. Both teams are entered in the Virginia Duals, which will take place this weekend at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va.

"We've been on the waiting list for the Virginia Duals for three or four years," Peters Township coach Jason Carpetta said. "They had two openings this year because a couple teams decided not to come back, so we jumped on the opportunity to wrestle in such a prestigious event.

"The Virginia Duals is unique in the respect that both high school and college teams compete in separate tournaments. We could be wrestling on one mat and have a college match on the mat next to us."

Peters Township won the team title at last year's Tri-County Tournament and would have had two returning champions.

"We're disappointed that we can't participate in the Tri-County Tournament and defend our team title, but we couldn't pass up this opportunity, and I'm sure Chartiers-Houston feels the same way," Carpetta said.

Canon-McMillan has three wrestlers who have won previous Tri-County Tournament titles, Chishko, Price and Macri.

"The Tri-County Tournament isn't as strong as it would have been with Peters Township and Chartiers-Houston, but there are still a lot of strong individuals," Cardillo said.

Waynesburg Central's A.C. Headlee, Charleroi's Nick Gavazzi and Avella's Jake Temple are two-time county champs.

Teams entered in the tournament are Albert Gallatin, Avella, Bentworth, Beth-Center, Burgettstown, Charleroi, Fort Cherry, Jefferson-Morgan, Laurel Highlands, Mapletown, McGuffey, Trinity, Washington, Waynesburg, West Greene and Ringgold, the host team.

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