HERSHEY – You will have to excuse Canon-McMillan junior Brendon Price for being a little jittery.
The PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championships came down to the final match Saturday afternoon at the Giant Center between the Big Macs and Central Dauphin.
Price was pacing back and forth before taking the mat for the 106-pound bout against sophomore Zach Elvin, whom he had lost to twice previously.
“My assistant coaches got Brendon in the back and talked to him and said, “Let’s go out and there battle,’” Canon-McMillan coach Chris Mary recalled. “And I said, `Go get ‘em.’ Then I sent him out.”
Those little pep talks seemed to help Price, who scored a pair of takedowns in the first two periods and then held on for a 4-3 victory against Elvin.
Price’s win also wrapped up a stirring 34-31 decision for Canon-McMillan, which improved to 19-0 and earned its second consecutive team title in Chocolatetown.
“There was a lot of pressure on me, but I was more excited than I was nervous,” Price said. “I wasn’t expected to beat him. He was ranked ahead of me. And I thought this was a good opportunity for it to be a good match.”
Price, who improved to 36-2, surrendered three escapes, with the final one coming after he was penalized for stalling late in the third period.
“I knew that (Elvin) would be hard to wrestle, but that I could beat him on my feet,” Price said. “I figured if I took him down and wrestled the way I know how, I would be OK.”
It turns out Price was right.
“He’s a gamer and showed a lot of heart,” Mary said.
Price was one of seven winners for WPIAL power Canon-McMillan, which twice trailed by 12 points in the match. Dalton Macri (120), Alex Campbell (220) and Angelo Broglia (285) recorded falls; Conner Schram (126) and defending PIAA champion Cody Wiercioch (182) won by technical fall; and Alec Hutchin (132) logged a decision.
Four-time PIAA team champion and six-time District 3 champion Central Dauphin (24-1) has won 121 of its last 123 dual meets, with both losses coming to Canon-McMillan in the PIAA team tournament.
The Rams, coached by Jeff Sweigard, suffered a three-point loss to the Big Macs in last year’s PIAA semifinals.
“Central Dauphin is well coached and coach Sweigard is an awesome guy,” Mary said. “They are a team of competitors. My hat’s off to our kids for all their blood, sweat and tears (they showed), and all the adversity we’ve overcome this year.
“(Winning again) does so much for our program, our community, our school district, for everybody.”
In the third-place match, Franklin Regional beat Easton, 29-26.
PIAA CLASS AAA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
Canon-McMillan 34, Central Dauphin 31
106: Brendon Price, CM, dec. Zach Elvin, 4-3.
113: Austin Camacci, CD, major dec. Joshua Minor, 13-0.
120: Dalton Macri, CM, pinned Nick Ward, 3:50.
126: Connor Schram, CM, tech. fall Levi William, 21-5, 5:11.
132: Alec Hutchin, CM, dec. Zach Bentz, 8-1.
138: Tyson Dippery, CD, won by forfeit.
145: Nick Varndell, CD, dec. Nicholas Oberhaus, 7-0.
152: Austin Rose, CD, major dec. William Pihiou, 14-2.
160: Garrett Peppelman, CD, pinned Nick Konyk, :12.
170: Colton Peppelman, CD, dec. Sammy Minor, 10-5.
182: Cody Wiercioch, CM, tech. fall Steven McNeal 19-4, 4:58.
195: Terrance Parsons, CD, TF Steve LaFrance 15-0, 4:29.
220: Alex Campbell, CM, pinned Deitrik Ferster 1:33.
285: Angelo Broglia, CM, pinned Mike Ferster 2:43.