Thursday, November 6, 2008
Town of Champions, Part VIII
Due to the hectic fall sports season, the Varsity Letters temporarily shelved the Town of Champions series. During the months of August and September, we occasionally examined the rich athletic histories of our many communities.
To date, we've looked at the people, teams and communities involving Wash High, Monessen, Peters Township, Chartiers-Houston, Waynesburg, Ringgold and Fort Cherry.
The current lull in activity offers the perfect time to renew the series and hopefully remind readers part of what makes this area great.
Today, in our eighth installment, we look at the communities involving Canon-McMillan High School.
When it comes to Canonsburg, people think former New York Giants great Doug Kotar (pictured), Perry Como, Bobby Vinton and Sarris Candy.
When it comes to Canon-McMillan or old Canonsburg High School, the first sport which comes to mind is wrestling.
The tradition is mind-boggling.
With 922 victories, Canon-McMillan has the most wins of any high school wrestling team in the PIAA. Waynesburg ranks second on the list and Trinity is fifth. Since the WPIAL started holding team championship competitions, the Big Macs won team titles in 1983, 1985, 1991, 1993 and 1995. The 1992 team won the PIAA team title and won the mythical national championship.
Individually, Canon-McMillan has produced 35 PIAA wrestling champions. None sport more impressive scholastic careers than Manuel Pihakis, who went 91-1-1 with three state titles from 1950-52 and George Custer. He finished with a 76-0 record and three state titles from 1938-40.
Canonsburg High School was also an early boys cross country power, winning the first five WPIAL championships (1935-39). Matt Gregory added to the tradition this fall when he won the WPIAL individual championship.
Back in 1935 and 1936, Canonsburg won WPIAL baseball championships. In 2008, the Big Macs became the second Washington County team to win a state championship when it cruised to the Class AAAA titles.
The boys track team won the WPIAL Class AAA title in 2008.
Cecil Township won the 1935 WPIAL boys basketball title.
And, in 1950, Canonsburg High split the WPIAL Class AA football title with New Brighton.