Wrestlers make history in section win over Canon-Mac

The wrestling team celebrates after securing a historical win over perennial powerhouse Canon-McMillan.
The wrestling team celebrates after securing a historical win over perennial powerhouse Canon-McMillan.
Ally Wolling

In a thrilling showdown on Wednesday night, the Hawks successfully defended their home turf against last year’s WPIAL champions, Canon-Mac, securing a hard-fought victory with a final score of 33-28.

The match began at 172 pounds where Hunter Goelz set the tone for the Hawks with a spectacular pin. Goelz’s early success ignited momentum in favor of the Hawks.

Following this, at the 189-pound weight class, the Hawks strategically deployed baseball star Ryan Walsh, showcasing his athletic prowess and securing an impressive 7-0 decision win.

However, the Hawks faced a momentary setback when team captain Landon Hartman lost in a hard-fought bout, resulting in a fall.

The heavyweight class witnessed a nimble display from Hawks’ Michael Gibson, who secured a controlling win by decision.

Jaden Palombine, competing at 107 pounds, efficiently fulfilled his responsibilities with a quick fall within the opening minute of the bout.

Unfortunately, at 114 lbs, Pierce Reinhart fought valiantly but, due to a head injury, was forced to forfeit in the middle of the match.

Despite some challenges, the Hawks showcased tremendous fight and determination. In the 121-pound weight class, Colton Fisher displayed resilience, even though he ended up losing by a major decision. The momentum shifted back to Canon-Mac with a fall at 127 pounds.

Senior Aiden Bench, competing at 133 pounds, fought fiercely but was unable to regain the momentum, losing by decision.

Fortunately, the Hawks found a turning point with their West Virginia commit in Mason Kernan, securing a quick first-period fall in the 139-pound class.

Ethan Higgins, engaging in a hard-fought battle at 145 pounds, reclaimed the lead for the Hawks with a determined decision.

However, at 152 pounds, the Big Macs retaliated, securing a victory over Hawks’ Ian Bucheli.

Heading into the last bout with the Hawks trailing by one, senior Cordan McDonnel took the spotlight. After a scoreless first period, McDonnel strategically chose the bottom position in the second, executing a quick escape. His relentless hand-fighting paid off as he seized an opportune moment, putting his opponent on his back and securing the fall.

Cordan McDonnell pins his opponent to secure the victory for the Hawks.

“Before the match, I experienced a heightened sense of nervousness as I was well aware of my match’s implications for the team. However, I knew I had to step onto the mat with composure and deliver not solely for myself but also to contribute to the collective success of the team,” McDonnell said.

In a nail-biting conclusion, McDonnel’s triumph not only secured his individual victory but also clinched the dual for the Hawks, marking a historical victory over the defending champions.

This was the first time Bethel Park had ever beaten Canon-McMillan in wrestling.

The Hawks sit in first place in their section and will face Baldwin next Wednesday for a chance to solidify themselves as section champions. They are currently ranked third in the WPIAL and look to capitalize on this talented group of young men and make a deep run in the playoffs.

When asked about the team’s success, Coach Nauman said: “Time, commitment, and work have led to improvement in the team’s skills, mental states, and will to win. That itself has shown in multiple matches and tournaments this year. Along with that, having depth on our team has allowed the team to push one another. Not having multiple injuries allows us to continue to put our best team out each dual.”

In the meantime, they will travel to Fox Chapel High School where they will compete in the Allegheny County Tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

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