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.


Anonymous said...

seems like all the canon mac success lies within the male programs

coach99 said...

Any thing about old Cecil high school? Isn't that part of this district, or am I confused?

CecilSharks said...

A neighbor of mine is always saying how Cecil gets the short end of the stick in everything in the CM school district. His main beef is with baseball where he says the coaches do not play kids that are from Cecil because they have a personal vendetta against those kids. The funny thing is that my neighbor only moved to Cecil from Shaler 2 or 3 years ago, so how would he really know? I think it is the "new" cecilites that are the complainers and not the established residents.

J.D. Billy said...

Nice article Mike, except one thing.. It is Sarris not Serris but that is totally fine haha.

Anonymous said...

I think that last year's team had several Cecil kids playing major roles on the way to the state championship. So as you seem to already have figured out, your neighbor is a clown. The more pressing issue for the baseball team is what are they going to do now that their coaching staff will not return intact?

mike_kovak said...


mike_kovak said...

BTW, the history of C-M girls athletics may not be strong but it is improving.

I remember, about 7-8 years ago, when C-M's Tiffany Wasniewski became the first female athlete in school history to sign with a DI school when she joined the Indiana State softball team.

Since, a couple others have gone DI including Natasha Williams (Akron, basketball) and current C-M student Taylor Schram (Penn State, soccer).

Anonymous said...

anonymous...who were these several cecil players on the baseball team this year that made significant contributions? Not trying to flame, just curious?

I can only think of Matty P and Phil Staab. Andre Hayden never attended a Cecil school, since he moved here when he was in 8th grade I believe.

And i think that is pure BS about coaches basing playing time on where kids are from. I can almost guarantee Bucci and Henson had no clue where kids were from.

Terry T said...

Please tell me this Cecil/Canonsburg playing time thing is a joke. Heck, there no longer is a Cecil Middle School.

Anonymous said...

I don’t think Bucci even cares whether a kid is from
Cecil, CM or from 84 for that matter.
Why does this argument only come up in baseball? I’ve
never heard this argument in any other sports at CM.

ditty4life said...

The argument comes up because there are people in the community like Lonero that think they are God's gift to baseball and refuse to give the coaching staff any credit for their efforts. Bucci is only concerned with putting his best 9 guys out on the field. The guy has a state championship and is going to get his second one this season.

Ghetto Gospel said...

I doubt Lonero actually comes on here and says any of this stuff. I don't think he is that retarded.

Bu Sea said...

ghetto gospel you obviously have never met or talked to captain loud mouth (lonero). He has been called on this blog before and it is very well known that he frequents it

Mill Her said...

ohhh gotcha.

What's sad tho, is that ignorant folks from CM will actually believe that Lonero, Bucci, and others are the ones posting here... Shame.

CanonCrazy said...

Since this is a CM thread I figured I'd ask a CM question. I thought Charles Murphy who graduated from Canon-Mac last year was attending Clarion University and playing basketball there. However, I recently checked their roster and his name was nowhere to be found? Is Charles playing basketball there? Did he get injured?

Anonymous said...

SOME of you people are unbelievable. Must you people find controversy and problems with everything? CM just won a state title in baseball didnt they? Geez, you people finally have a successful program in a sport and you still must stir up controversy. Be happy for once...

Mcclure's Maniacs said...

Will Steve Bucci have any magic up his sleeve in 2009? As a Peters fan, I'm going to say "no". Not only does he lose 2 solid pitchers, but he loses his catcher, most of his infield, and most of his OF. I'm sure the Macs have some good players ready to take over, but now that the target is on their backs it is likely that the team will come back to earth this season. One player to keep an eye on is Sam Lombardo. He should be all-section and one of his coaches told me that he may ultimately be mentioned in the same breath as Janikowski, Scruggs, and Neil Walker as far as catchers in this region go. I'm going to make an early prediction for that section:

First: Peters Twp!!!!

Anonymous said...

yes charles murphy still goes to clarion but he decieded to red-shirt this year

Anonymous said...

It should be an interesting section this spring. Each team has lost some quality players and I think Peters exodus of seniors equals that of CM.

Predicted order of finish:

Anonymous said...

I think CM is going to struggle to make the playoffs this year. The section is always difficult and this year figures to be no different. Plus, the Big Macs will have a major target on their backs. Unless they can whip up 4 or 5 elite pitchers overnight, then I just don't see how Bucci and Company will be able to get enough section wins to make the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

I think pitching will be an opportunity area
for all teams in the section. I believe that every team
lost there #1 & #2 pitchers from last year with
the exception of USC. Each team should
struggle when it comes to consistency on the

Anonymous said...

Because the section is reducing the number of times they play each other from 3 times to twice a year. I believe this will increase there number of teams who make the play-offs from 3 teams to 4.

Anonymous said...

Mt. Lebanon has their #1 pitcher (Slavonic) back. So does Baldwin (Basic). And in reality, Canon-Mac had 1A, 1B, and 1C last year, so Pierpont being back is a #1. I agree with the post on Sam Lombardo. He should be a stud and put up JJ-like numbers. I think he can hit 8-10 homeruns and drive in at least 30 runs this year.

Anonymous said...

Baldwin came in last in the section last year with zero wins but I predict a very good year for them. Lebo came in 4th place but relied more on hitting than pitching. Neither one of the pitchers you mentioned I would refer to as a shut down guy. I just don’t see a guy with in the section a team can roll out there
and feel confident they will walk away with a “W”.

Leapin' Lenny said...

Who is your definition of a shut down guy? A lot of people would never call Chris Dittmar a shut down guy, but then he shut out Peters in the State Quarterfinals. What about Chris Douglas- all he did was put up zeros. Matt Pierpont? Shut out in the state semifinals.

Fraudin from USC is legit. 88-90mph with a hammer curve. He might be the best pitcher in AAAA, so yeah I think USC is going to feel like they are getting a W every time he takes the mound. Slavonic is 85-87mph for MTL and he also is a shut-down, ace. Do some research before pontificating like someone that knows something.

Anonymous said...

My definition of a shut down guy would be JJ from Peters. Without him our starting rotation we weren’t going to make the play offs. Once he returned, we started our play-off run. I haven’t seen kid other than, JJ approach the velocity numbers you mentioned.. I would think you have to get your radar gun recalibrated. As far as Dittmar,
Douglas, and Pierpont. They were very effective pitchers but they were also a staff by committee. As evident during there play off run, if one got in trouble the other two were there to pick up the pieces.

Sibby said...

JJ was never a shut down pitcher.
CM wrecked him.
Get a clue.

JJ was a thrower, not a pitcher. He had no composure out there and pointed fingers too much. Dittmar and Douglas were twice the pitcher JJ was.

Anonymous said...

I believe JJ was 1-1 against CM. And even though he got rocked in the Semi’s, the coaches should have pulled him earlier in the game. And that was JJ only lose of the year. In your mind, a HS shut down pitcher doesn’t have an off day? Even the pros
Aren’t always 100% and CM played one hellva game that day.

Anonymous said...

JJ still isnt much of a shut down pitcher in the eyes of many. i agree that dittmar and douglas were better pitchers than JJ. if you want to be considered a shut down pitcher, you have to convert in clutch situations. for example dittmar against pt in states and douglas coming in against shaler in WPIALs. also such as matty p against central mountain. any other examples of such situations would be appreciated

Anonymous said...

Well dont forget jj shut down seneca valley.Seneca valley was the favorite to win the whole thing with most of their starters coming back from their state championship run the year before